The Michigan Daily-Thursday, February 18, 1988- Page 11
BY PETER ZELLEN
Two important events in the
world of sports happened this week.
First, on Monday, the Sports Illus-
trated swimsuit issue hit the news-
stands. Second, and more impor-
tantly, the pitchers and catchers re-
ported to their spring training camps
Along with the players, millions
of baseball fans come out of their
winter hibernation in order to prepare
for that six-month odyssey known as
the 162-game baseball season.
As one of these die-hard fans I can
.sympathize. For the last five months
we've had to listen to statements
like "Football is a real man's sport,"
and "College basketball is the most
exciting sport." Fine, I'll stick with
baseball, thank you.
THERE'S lots to do before the
start of the season. I'll have to find a
way to keep myself baseball-alert for
the next eight weeks. First I'll go to
the video store and rent The Natural.
That should be around the 25th time
I've seen that one. You have to love
the part where Roy Hobbs strikes
out the Whammer. I also recommend
Bang the Drum Slowly and The Lou
Next, I'll go to the bookstores
and pick up my reading materials.
The Inside Sports issue on minor
league prospects is one to look at.
For those who like to bury them-
selves in statistics, Bill James'
Baseball Abstract is a must.
Get ready fans...
...spring training has arrived
If you want ratings a little sim-
pler, buy The Scouting Report. One
should at least read Murry Chass'
baseball column every week in the
Sunday New York Times.
BASEBALL fans aren't just
restricted to the major leagues. Say
your walking down the street and
you hear someone talking about
signing Andre Dawson to a three-
year contract at 40 units. Don't de-
spair, he's not a lunatic. He just
plays Rotisserie Baseball, that game
where mere mortals can be the most
brilliant of general managers.
Rotisserie players have to get
ready for their annual draft in which
each player tries to get 23 major
leaguers that will lead the team to a
championship and the traditional
shower of Yoo-hoo.
I'll have to check if any spring
training games are on television.
They're a must-watch because you'll
get to take a peek at many of the
younger players who won't make the
club but might become superstars in
a couple of years. Box scores are
hard to find for these games so I'll
have to make do with line scores.
Beggars can't be choosers.
THIS SEASON should be a
lot of fun. There have been tons of
revolving personnel amongst the 26
clubs. New faces are everywhere.
The Yankees have Jack Clark, Rich
Dotson, and John Candelaria. The
A's got Bob Welch and Dave Parker.
The Dodgers signed free-agent out-
fielders Kirk Gibson and Mike
Davis. These players could transform
their teams from also-rans to divi-
Owner collusion hasn't come to
an end, but steps have been taken
toward a compromise in the battle
against rising salaries. Some free
agents have signed with other teams
when their old clubs wanted to retain
them. Bidding wars will no longer
be prominent in the off-season, but
at least now players like Tim Raines
will be getting offers next time
Now come the questions from the
writers. Will the Yankees and Indi-
ans be able to come up with pitch-
ing staffs to go around their awe-
some offenses? The Yanks probably
will, but the Tribe isn't even going
to come close.
Will the Twins repeat? Nope, be-
cause luck has a tendency to run out.
CAN THE Cardinals deal with
the loss of Clark? Of course they
will. They won pennants after losing
Bruce Sutter and Joaquin Andujar,
Are the young Pirates really as
good as their late season surge last
year suggested? You bet. In fact, a
pennant is expected by 1990.
I may sound a little crazy here,
but can I make a suggestion? Many
of you will probably be in ..the
vicinity of southern Florida during
this universtity's so-called Spring
Break. Why don't you, in between
tanning and partying, just drop by a
spring training facility.
Watch the people in the stands
cheering their favorites on and the
little kids killing each other for au-
tographs. It's part of the magic that
is baseball in America. Except for
soccer in Europe, fan devotion like
this doesn't exist anywhere else.;Try
baseball, you might just like it.
Marjo Matikainen of Finland races to win the olympic gold medal in
Wednesday's Olympic Nordic women's 5 km event here.
Gault not racing in Games
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CALGARY, Alberta (AP)-
Willie Gault learned Wednesday that
he won't be pushing one of the two
U.S. sleds in this weekend's.
Olympic two-man bobsled
"From what I hear, they're going
to let USA 1 and USA 2 ride," the
Chicago Bears' wide receiver said
after a practice run at Canada
Gault, who joined the bobsled
team amid controversy last month
after the NFL season ended, has been
acting as pusher and brakeman for
No. 3 driver Randy Will.
W ill was told by the U.S.
coaches Wednesday that he won't be
racing in the two-man competition.
No final decision has been made on
the four-man race, which takes place
Feb. 27 and 28.
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