SIDELINE SLANTS

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JOE KLEINSASSER
Maybe the summer heat is frying some of my otherwise healthy brain cells, but here are some observations and other miscellaneous information that I’ve gleaned.

It’s a stretch to say that every observation is directly related to sports, but bear with me as I broaden my horizons.

— One wonders what the Yankees did during the seventh inning stretch and the traditional singing of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” after giving Cracker Jacks the heave ho in favor of Crunch and Munch.

Instead of “Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks,” the new song lyrics might produce the following: “Buy me some peanuts and Crunch and Munch, I don’t care if we lose by a bunch.”

— If quitters never win, and winners never quit, who is the wise guy who said, “Quit while you’re ahead?”

— Name the only sport in which the ball is always in possession of the team on defense, and the offensive team can score without touching the ball. (See answer later)

— There are seven ways a baseball player can legally reach first base without getting a hit. Taking a base on balls (a walk) is one way. Name the other six. (See answer later.)

— There’s one sport in which neither the spectators nor the participants know the score or the leader until the contest ends. What is it? (See answer later.)

— How is it that one careless match can start a forest fire, but it takes a whole box to start a campfire?

— Have you noticed since everyone has a camcorder these days no one talks about seeing UFOs like they used to?

— I’ve seen a lot of people jogging early in the morning to avoid the mid-day heat. I’d do more jogging, but it would be a little embarrassing if, while I was jogging, the police arrested me for loitering.

— ESPN.com columnist Eric Neel, in explaining why Giants outfielder Barry Bonds could bat over .400: “He walks about as often as a hummingbird flaps its wings, strikes out about as often as Dick Cheney makes a public appearance, and never, ever misses a mistake pitch.”

— Former Royals outfielder Johnny Damon attracted more than a little attention when he started the season for the Boston Red Sox sporting wild, shoulder-length hair and a full beard.

Seattle hitting coach Paul Molitor said, “Was he an extra in ‘The Passion of the Christ’? In the late ’70s and early ’80s, we had a lot of hair, but it was usually in the afro fashion.

“Gorman Thomas had a lot of facial hair, but whoever had a full beard like that? The House of David team?”

— It’s always disheartening to see how adults can take something as seemingly innocent as Little League baseball and make it controversial.

The only Russian team to make the Little League World Series was banned from this year’s tournament for using players who lived outside the Moscow league’s boundaries.

Khovrino league officials cooperated with the investigation, saying outside players were used because of a lack of volunteers and field space. It’s only a game, right?

— Here are the answers you’ve been waiting for.

The answer to the first question is baseball.

The six ways a batter can reach first base in addition to being walked: hit by a pitch, passed ball, catcher interference, catcher drops third strike, fielder’s choice, and being designated as a pinch runner.

And boxing is the sport where no one knows the score until the contest ends.

— Laugh every day. It’s like inner jogging.

— 42.7 percent of all statistics are made up on the spot.

— What do you call a coach with a mortgage? Optimistic.

— Last but not least, former baseball great Yogi Berra is credited with this insight: “Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t come to yours.”

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