Nobody asked me, but …

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From the Publisher/Arnold G. York

Many years ago, when I was growing up in Brooklyn, there was a superb sports writer for the New York Post by the name of Jimmy Canon who would periodically write a column called “Nobody asked me but…” (In those pre-Murdock days the Post was a liberal rag.) Canon, like many sports writers, was a great writer. The truth is, to cover sports you have to be a great writer because there is nothing more boring than reading about sports. It takes a great writer to spin a myth about an essentially boring repetitive business. Periodically, Canon would have had it up to his ears, and would do a column about all the little things that annoyed him, which he called, “Nobody asked me but…” This is my homage to Canon, but I must admit it always works better if the writer is Irish.

Nobody asked me, but … does anyone really care if Britney Spears married her so-called former childhood pal at 5 a.m. in the morning in a little Las Vegas chapel and then 12 hours later wanted out? After all, generally speaking, the life expectancy of a marriage performed at 5 a.m. in one of those little Vegas chapels (please, no letters telling me you know someone who has stayed married for 63 years) is probably about two weeks. I think Britney was shooting for the Guinness Book of Records on this one. Twelve hours must be some sort of a record even for a pop star who the Los Angeles Times unkindly referred to as a “pop tart.” I don’t understand why they just didn’t go to a motel like any respectable couple.

Nobody asked me, but … I was thrilled to read that legal eagle Gloria Allred had joined the animal rights movement and recently has taken up the cause of a 37-year-old geriatric chimpanzee who had been separated from his owners (really, his human family, per Allred) because of an occasional tendency to bite police officers and others. The family was joyfully reunited with Christmas gifts of some of the chimp’s favorite things like potato chips and coloring books. The chimp, whose name is Moe, appeared to be overjoyed at the break in his normal routine, which apparently consists of playing tag with a 15-year-old hyena in the next cage and watching television. His preferred viewing habits include watching a videotape of the movie “Babe,” TV shows about animals, or colorful pictures, especially inNational Geographic. This may well indicate that the average viewing chimp has a higher IQ then the average TV viewer, who is still watching reruns of “Married with Children.”

Nobody asked me, but … I think maybe it’s time to let Pete Rose back into baseball. We are prepared to forgive him, and actually do regularly forgive repeat drug offenders, alcoholics, drunk drivers, wife beaters, sex addicts and crooks just to name a few, among scores of professional baseball players. Forgiveness is a good thing. It’s good for us, and good for the sport and he’s been barred from baseball since 1989, which is 15 years. There should be some kind of maximum sentence on a betting charge. I’m not sure we have to let him manage a team again, but I can’t see any reason why he shouldn’t be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. If there was a character test for Cooperstown, I suspect there would be many fewer faces there, including Ty Cobb. Cooperstown is there to honor their career exploits, not their character.

I have my own Pete Rose story. Years ago, when he was managing the Cincinnati club, he, his coaches and their wives went to the downtown Pacific Dining Car Restaurant late one night after a Dodgers game. The restaurant was practically empty, and Karen and I were sitting only a couple of tables away from Rose and friends, pretending we weren’t eavesdropping. They were, needless to say, talking baseball and discussing a game that had taken place years before. A question came up and they all turned to Rose. He not only remembered the game, but also the pitchers, the lineups, who the batter was that drove the game-winning run and what kind of a pitch he hit. The depth of his knowledge of baseball was mind-boggling.

I don’t know if he left a nice tip.