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Climb could be more of a challenge than Goodell wants

Before embarking on his plan to climb Mt. Rainier next week, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell received advice from an unlikely source -- a sportswriter who recently scaled the 14,411-foot peak.

Associated Press writer Gregg Bell climbed Rainier last month and reported that “not even Army basic training compared.”

Bell said he recently called the 50-year-old Goodell “to compare training notes and to advise -- OK, taunt -- him a little bit about what he was in for.”

Bell wrote: “Roughly half those who start up the mountain turn back before the top. Granted, Goodell was a star high school athlete in New York State. He personifies the NFL’s ‘Play 60' program he started, advocating an hour of daily exercise to promote fitness in America’s youth. And for months, he’s been running up and down 50 flights of stairs inside a building in New York -- or running hills in his neighborhood while wearing a 30-pound sack.”

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Bell said Goodell told him he’s never done any mountaineering but loves a good challenge.

“He’s about to get one,” Bell wrote. “I’m a West Point alumnus, so I’ve been through all sorts of Army exercises, and I still run more than 30 miles a week. Plus, the head of the NFL has a dozen years on me. But I was laboring.”

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Trivia time

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Who is the future Hall of Famer drafted ahead of Luc Robitaille by the Kings in the same year?

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Strawberries and whine

Players at Wimbledon have been known to complain about everything from the grass to the line calls to the weather, but here might be a new one: Complaining about the tournament prohibiting players from bringing food into the locker room.

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On her blog, Serena Williams noted that fruit and health bars are offered to players in the locker room, but there is a ban on food brought from outside.

“Why have food in a room if we aren’t allowed to eat in the locker room. This rule is unfair,” she wrote. “I do not agree with this rule. Like, do they really expect me or any other player to actually walk outside all the way to the player’s lounge? That is time not spent well, and I value my time.”

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Going deep . . . and deeper

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Dodgers batting instructor Jeff Pentland worked with Sammy Sosa in a similar capacity from 1997 to 2002 and, in retrospect, might have detected Sosa’s Achilles’ heel.

“Sammy had a rare combination of strength and quickness, but he wanted to hit every ball 700 feet,” Pentland told the Chicago Daily Herald. “I tried to convince him a home run at 350 feet counted just as much.”

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Trivia answer

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Tom Glavine, who was drafted by the Kings and the Atlanta Braves in 1984.

(Question and answer provided by reader Mark Cortes of Northridge.)

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And finally

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From Vancouver comedian Torben Rolfsen, on the Cleveland Cavaliers acquiring Shaquille O’Neal to team with LeBron James: “Isn’t that like hitching a trailer to a Ferrari?”

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mike.penner@latimes.com


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