Mike doesn't know Bo, but Mike does know that Bo is one wonderful individual. In fact, the more Mike thought about Bo, the more inspired he became. Figuring that he, too, could hold down two jobs at once--sportswriter and songwriter--Mike began to hum the melody to "Mr. Bojangles" in his head, until eventually he came up with some substitute lyrics.
I met a man, Bo Jackson, and he plays for you, in worn-out shoes. Silver hat and black shirt and baggy pants, he runs right through. Mr. Bo Jackson . . . Mr. Bo Jackson . . . Play. Mike knows music. He was watching Arsenio Hall's television show one night last week, on came Bo Jackson with his adorable son, who got up and sang a song for the audience. Quite nicely, too. Kid's got talent. Runs in the family.
This Vincent Jackson, he is one authentically astonishing athlete, in case you hadn't noticed. Exactly one day after the World Series ended, not even 24 hours after the end of a baseball season in which he participated, Mr. Bo Jackson stepped onto the grass of the Coliseum and rushed for 144 yards in his first start for the Raiders, including a 73-yard blast. He even had a 45-yarder called back because of a penalty.
When the day was over, the Washington Redskins were 37-24 losers, and had to fly 3,000 miles home with Mr. Bo Jackson's shoe marks all over their faces.
The crowd chanted "Bo, Bo, Bo," which rhymes with go, go, go, and jet Jackson did the rest. He zoomed for 118 of his yards in the second half. He broke tackles. He broke spirits. He probably broke a couple of Redskin ribs. He ran so fast that the hounds couldn't catch him. Bo Jackson was some thing else.
Heck, he is something else, this person. He doesn't just play two sports professionally. He plays two professional sports spectacularly. He is a one-man "Wide World of Sports." He could do that ski jump at the beginning of the show, except he'd probably land on his feet.
Wayne Gretzky could be wrong about this hockey thing, you know. And the way the Kings have been playing lately, they might need No. 34 out there with No. 99, starting Jan. 29, which is the day after the Super Bowl.
With all this in mind, there are a couple of favors I, Mike, would like to ask.
One favor concerns Bo Jackson, and the other favor is asked of Bo Jackson.
You guys with the microphones and the ballpoint pens and the mini-cams from other cities across America, we want to ask you today to stop this business, once and for all, of asking Bo Jackson when he is going to make up his mind between football and baseball. Enough, already.
Bo is sick of it. Mike is sick of it. We all are sick of it.
He is not going to change his answer from week to week. Read last week's paper. Check out Bo's answer. He will make up his mind when he makes up his mind. End of story.
Accidentally catching Bo on the day he blurts out that he is quitting one sport or the other is not necessarily a scoop right up there with Woodward and Bernstein tracing the money all the way up to the President. When Bo decides, Bo will announce. Maybe he'll hold a news conference. Maybe he'll tell Arsenio. Maybe he'll send the Kansas City Royals his resignation in a Candygram. When it happens, it happens.
But it is not going to happen for a while, so stop bugging him about it. Let Bo go. Besides, who in his right mind wants this man to give up one of these two sports? If he doesn't want it, why should we want it?
This guy was the most valuable player of the baseball All-Star game, and maybe he will be the most valuable player of the Super Bowl. How would that be for an exacta? Bo, Bo, Bo. Go, go, go.
The Raiders are looking better and better, partly because of Art Shell, partly because of Steve Beuerlein, partly because of Howie Long and Jerry Robinson, and a great-big partly because of Mr. Bo Jackson.
So, don't bother him about quitting. Ladies and gentleman, we are watching an American phenomenon here.
Now, then: A favor to ask of Bo.
Bo--excuse me, make that Mr. Bo--your fuse gets to be pretty short sometimes when people with microphones and ballpoint pens and mini-cams ask you those dumb questions, particularly that same old one dumb question.
Give them a break.
At Philadelphia a couple of Sundays ago, some dope interrupted the questions about the Eagle game with that same old one dumb question, "When are you going to decide between the two sports?" which once again set off Bo into an understandable diatribe against "you guys" who keep asking the same question, and about how "you media people" are the only ones who keep bringing that thing up, and so forth.
Bo, it's not "you guys." It's not "you media people." It's a few hopeless, dopey individuals who never listen and never learn. Most of us do not care to be bunched with them. Most of us never ask you questions like that. Most of us admire what you do, and want you to keep doing it.
We won't say "you athletes" if you don't say "you media people," OK?
Most of us just want to watch Mr. Bo Jackson run the 90-foot bases all summer and run the 100-yard field all fall.
You want to play hockey, too? Be Mike's guest.