Controversy to the Left and Right, Into the Valley of Sports . . .

Just leave civilization for 10 days and watch what happens to the world of sports hereabouts.

What had been a placid pond has turned into a boiling caldron.

Everything had been going so smoothly. The Padres had made the transition from Camp Tranquility to an Appetizing April. The Chargers were applauding the fruits of their draft. Even the Sockers were sailing comfortably into the playoffs. Cup-of-tea time.

It's amazing how quickly things can get turned upside down by controversies and concerns.


Bobby Beathard, who directs football operations for the Washington Redskins, announces that he is resigning. He does what he does as well as anyone in the National Football League, so he is obviously an attractive face to unexpectedly hit the marketplace.

Alex Spanos, who owns the Chargers, recognizes this. He says he would like to hire Bobby Beathard.

Steve Ortmayer just happens to be employed by the Chargers, and he just happens to do what Beathard does.

I have heard that you can never have too many good wide receivers or offensive linemen or cornerbacks, but I have never heard it said that you can never have too many good directors of football operations.

Maybe one of them can play quarterback and solve . . .


One thing the Chargers do not have is a quarterback controversy. These are caused by abundance rather than absence. These are caused by having both Norm Van Brocklin and Bob Waterfield on the same roster.

The Chargers, in the midst of mini-camp, are auditioning . . .

- A veteran who was the lowest-rated NFL quarterback for the past two years.

- A youngster coming off a severe knee injury.

- A journeyman whose most endearing credential is that he happens to know the offense.

- A rookie whose last game was against Oklahoma State in Tokyo.

You all come. There's still time to get in line.


Never on Sunday. That's when Benito Santiago doesn't play catcher for the Padres. That's Parent's Day.

Not lately.

I turned on the television Tuesday night, of all times, and there was Mark Parent behind the plate. And he had been there Saturday night as well as his usual Sunday afternoon.

How badly was Santiago hurt? Not at all, except maybe for pride. Suddenly, the man who was supposedly the best at his business in the game today was unhappily camped on the bench.

It seems Jack McKeon was making a point. A catcher who can throw strikes so well ought to concentrate a little more on hitting them.

Santiago was swinging at anything airborne near the plate. That must be why the moths are gone from the stadium.


The Too-Smooth Sockers had the home-arena advantage in their Major Indoor Soccer League semifinal series with the Dallas Sidekicks, until they took care of it at the Sports Arena Saturday night.

With a one game-to-zero advantage, they cleverly turned a 4-2 fourth-period lead into a 5-4 defeat.

And so now they go to Dallas Friday with the home-arena dis advantage. Most teams would consider this to be an uncomfortable predicament, but not the Sockers.

These guys think adversity is an entree.


Forgive me if I get the impression that the Chargers are putting their offensive line together by having contestants dance around chairs and see who ends up where when the music stops.

Last year's right guard is now a backup center, when he's not working at left tackle.

The 13-year starter at center will learn to play guard.

Last year's right tackle will learn to play guard.

Neither of last year's regular left tackles seem to land anywhere but in a whirlpool.

Last year's left guard is probably being groomed to be either quarterback or director of football operations.


Having noted that Dennis Rasmussen has developed a propensity for giving away the store in the first inning or two, I have a solution.

Where is it written that Mark Davis' two innings have to be at the end of the game?

Give Davis the ball for the first two innings, and then turn it over to Rasmussen.

These might not be the most wild and crazy of controversies and concerns, but face it. They're all we have.

San Diego State tried to help. Al Luginbill, a bit of a controversy himself as football coach, tried to convince the world all along that his quarterback job was up for grabs when everyone knew all along it would be Dan McGwire.

Nice try, Al. We appreciate the effort.

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