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Dear Ross,

July 27, 1992
July 27, 1992

Table of Contents
July 27, 1992

Television
British Open
Cincinnati Reds
NFL Quarterbacks
XXV Olympic Summer Games
City Of Stars
Point After

Dear Ross,

Now that you've abandoned your quest for the White House, have we got a job for you

Let's face it, Ross. You're better off this way. When you get right down to it, you'd have rather flossed rattlesnakes than be president. Presidents compromise, and you're not a compromiser. You're a lovable despot. You're Burger King. You like to have it your way. So, now that you have some free time on your hands, you can take on something really important, like sports. It's like you say: Why hunt squirrels when there are bull elephants out there?

This is an article from the July 27, 1992 issue Original Layout

And we need a leader. Sports is run by clowns and nincompoops and lawyers who are so crooked they could stand in the shadow of a corkscrew. These are people who wouldn't know a good idea if it sat down buck naked in their lunch. We need you. You've already slaughtered the fattest pig of all, Texas high school football, by getting a law passed requiring that all those thick-necked Billy Joe Bobs can't suit up unless they pass their grades. What's left is just a layup.

Here's what we do. We make you commissioner of sports. You can stay right there in Big D. All we need is your brain and your checkbook. It'll be easy. It's like you say: To teach a hippo to tap dance, all you have to do is find the soft spots and start poking. We're up to our earholes in soft spots.

1) Baseball. Now, the problem with baseball, as I see it, is that it exists. I would rather watch underbodies rust. It's slow, boring and torturous. And that's just Harry Caray. These people in baseball don't have enough sense to fill the hole in a Dixie Cream doughnut. They give George Steinbrenner a lifetime ban, and two years later he's back. First thing you do is explain to these people what lifetime means.

Next, you do something about the Chicago Cubs. Baseball finally gets its geography right, putting the western teams in the West and the eastern teams in the East, and the Cubs sue. They're worried about losing TV money. They'll be playing a lot more on the West Coast, which means a lot more of the games on their superstation will start after folks in the East have gone to bed. You call the Cubs in and tell them, first, that the move is good for baseball and, second, that the two best teams in the West, Cincinnati and Atlanta, will be in the East, so what do they want? After this, take calls only from teams that have won a pennant in the last 45 years.

2) Olympics. Every other country sends its best athletes. Not us. We're not sending Dan O'Brien in the decathlon or Carl Lewis in the sprints or Wendy Lucero-Schayes in diving just because they got to their do-or-die trials and sneezed or had a fight with their coach or ate a bad burrito. Tell the U.S. Olympic Committee to make sure that one spot on every team is filled by you, or your donation check gets lost in the mail.

We're not sending our best baseball team, either. Tell the major league owners to interrupt their 1996 season for a couple of weeks so we can send the best U.S. pros to Atlanta. I'm talking Bonds and Clemens. I'm tired of sending kids who haven't worn out their first razor yet and then watching them get clobbered by these killer 33-year-old Cubans who eat live iguanas for breakfast and spit out chunks of catchers at noon.

3) The NCAA. It investigates Duke's Christian Laettner for taking pocket change to keep a diary for GQ and then lets football underclassmen sign for thousands of dollars to play pro baseball in the off-season. This place is too broke to fix. Just buy the whole thing, lock, stock and blazer.

4) Boxing. Now, like you say, you need to get in there and "touch it, feel it, smell it and see it," but, believe me, you don't want to get within a tankful of gas of boxing. Here's what you do instead. You go in and hose out the henhouse. You buy up all the letters, WBC, IBF and WBA, and you unify the whole thing. Then you appoint a national governing body. And then you insist that nobody can fight who has a) 60% or more body fat, b) a skyscraper that needs paying off or c) great-grandchildren.

5) Golf. I know you like a fair fight, but golf ain't a fair fight. In basketball you can't ask for your own ball when you want to shoot, right? But in golf guys are using souped-up balls, uranium-loaded drivers with heads the size of toaster ovens and long putters that let them anchor the club against their body. Here's what you do: Start your own tournament. Call it the United States Perot-pen. Put up $5 million for first and zilch for second. Then make the players go to K Mart and draw one set of clubs out of the barrel. And make them play the same kind of ball. That's when we'll find out who's the man.

6. Tennis. Ditto for equipment here: Wide-body, kryptonite, flame-throwing rackets have turned the game into bashball. Another Perot-pen is called for, wooden rackets only.

7. America's Cup. Got to fix this. It's just a contest to see who can write the biggest waterproof check. Last year the two guys that put up the most money—more than $65 million apiece—ended up in the finals. And Bill Koch, a guy that couldn't skipper an inner tube down a ditch, won. Last week, in a Lightning Class race at his old school, Culver Military Academy in Indiana, Koch had to skipper the same kind of boat as everybody else. So what happened? He sank, and a faculty member won. Here's what you do. Next time, you put up twice as much money as Koch, let your barber sail your boat, win the Cup and then melt the thing into an ashtray.

Ross, you're our only hope. Now is the time to take your stand. It's like you say: The only thing in the middle of the road is yellow paint and dead skunks. And skunks we got.

Happy trails,
Me

PHOTODANA FINEMAN/SYGMA