Quick Takes


“The top sports wives of all time as rated by ESPN.”  I’ll underline those names I’d like to have played ball with, home game or road game or anywhere. (Notice I made it past tense; my wife is young and athletic, and I'd like to protect certain body parts I've grown accustomed to.)

1.       Halle Berry. Married David Justice.

2.     Marilyn Monroe. Married Joe DiMaggio.

3.     Vanessa Williams. Married Rick Fox.

4.     Angie Harmon. Married Jason Sehorn.

5.     Patti McGuire. Married Jimmy Connors.

6.     Brooke Shields. Married Andre Agassi.

7.     Bridgette Wilson. Married Pete Sampras.

8.     Carol Alt. Married Ron Greschner.

9.     Steffi Graf. Married Andre Agassi.

10.  Victoria Beckham. Married to David Beckham.

The honorable mentions by ESPN are Jane Russell-Bob Waterfield, Robin Givens-Mike Tyson, Chris Evert-Andy Mills, Chris Evert-John Lloyd, Tatum O’Neal-John McEnroe. No mention of Elin Nordegren-Tiger Woods by ESPN, so I’ll mention her.


I found a great company at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week. It’s HandStands! The company began in 1983 manufacturing computer mouse pads. In addition to the mouse pads, the company does much more today. Check out their complete functional and fun product line (sports items included) at www.HandStands.com. And my thanks to Jade Hansen, Marketing and Product Development, for his courtesy to me in their booth.


Cheers to Virginia Tech for managing their problem, and not allowing their problem to manage them. It took major guts to cut all ties with star football player, Marcus Vick, but they did it.


The Cincinnati Bengals deserve a 15-yard penalty…………in thread! They have the ugliest uniforms ever perpetrated upon the NFL. Cincy’s duds make the Browns’ uniforms look good; that ain’t easy! It must be an Ohio thing.


I watched Eli Manning's complete and total collapse against Carolina last week. He was able to manipulate the 2004 NFL draft, but he can't manipulate a game. And after the Giants put up a big zero against the Panthers, Tiki Barber publicly shot down Coach Coughlin. Barber had 41 yards on 13 carries; he should look in the mirror before opening his mouth. Classy team, those New York Giants.


Story of the Week



July’s Los Angeles Magazine (thanks to Diane and Neil Kessler for same) featured a story on the subject of Bo Belinsky. I read it and decided that the article should be replicated on my website, with my own thoughts interjected, of course. It captured the fact that Belinsky was an enigma, a puzzle to be sure. He had talent, and that makes it all even more of a puzzle. I always felt that way about Bo Belinsky.

Bo pitched the first MLB no-hitter in California. For a year or two, he was one of the most celebrated athletes in Los Angeles. Senior writer Steve Oney stated that ‘Belinsky was a flash in the pan who was all about style and not much else.’ That’s the one piece of Oney’s article that jumped off the page at me and that I take exception with. I feel Bo had more talent than Oney’s fine article gives him credit for, and if I’m correct, that makes it all even more tragic.

“Fallen Angel” deals with Belinsky’s brief rise and long descent into alcoholism, violence and drugs, and then his shaky years of sobriety. It is a Hollywood story, not because he rose as high as he did and fell as hard, but because he gained stardom for doing so little. During five and a half years in MLB, Belinsky won only 28 games. At the end of his career, he proclaimed that he got more out of those 28 games than pitchers who had won 300.

It was a glib comment, but on one level Belinsky was correct. Bo had parlayed a no-hitter and good looks into instant celebrity. He attracted magnificent women including luscious Mamie Van Doren (She and Bo didn’t marry, but if they had, I’d most certainly have underlined her name in my ESPN Quick Take above), he drove a red Cadillac, he had a pad in the Hollywood Hills, he could walk into any club or restaurant and get a table in minutes, and in the perverse way that fame works, the more he could afford to pay, the more he got for free. On the other hand, he was dead wrong. 35 years after he retired, Belinsky is remembered for having squandered away his talent, and no serious baseball fan mentions him in the same breath as great pitchers.

Sandy Koufax who, like Belinsky, was an early ‘60s Los Angeles icon, Jewish, and had a brief career, but otherwise was as opposite as it gets. Koufax devoted himself to his craft, and for four years may have been the greatest pitcher in baseball history. Not blessed with Koufax’s talent (but how many are?!), Belinsky still had the chance to have a solid career, but he wanted more. He wanted fame and the illusion fame offers that you can do anything and there are no boundaries. Bo threw himself into the mythic L.A. life, and the myth ate him alive. It took Belinsky more than 25 years to recover, and when he did, he was living alone in a Las Vegas rental, and working on a car lot. Bo Belinsky died in 2001.

As a philosophical end to this piece, people who achieve more than their ability deserve respect. Conversely, those who achieve less than their ability should be viewed with disdain. Bo Belinsky could have been a successful major league pitcher long-term had he applied both his mind and his talent toward that end. He knew that as well; he stated so more than once in his last years of life. As we all know, there is no clearer vision than hindsight.


Last Week’s Trivia


          The first NFL team to put emblems on its helmets was the Los Angeles Rams in 1948.


Trivia Question of the Week


          Thanks to George Ostfeld, a Chicago native, for this one. (He absolutely loves to stump me.) Before the Chicago Bulls, there was a pro basketball team in Chicago. What was the name of that team? See next week’s Sports Junkie for the answer.