THE LIVE ALBOM:

* As a sports writer covering the Pistons in the NBA playoffs, I do not judge the “Chicago or New York?” dilemma by which has the better team. I go by which city we can hate the most.

* Chicago, for example, thinks it owns the midwest. We can hate them for that. New York, of course, thinks it owns the world.
* In Chicago, they shoot their gangsters in abandoned warehouses. In New York, they wait until they enter small Italian restaurants, then plug ’em in the middle of their linguine. I call that a draw.
* In New York we would be subject to the Yankees, who are obnoxious, or the Mets, who make me sick. In Chicago, however, we’d have to watch the White Sox and Cubs, who, if added together, might finish in fourth place.
* Personally, I’d like to see the Pistons play New York, beat ’em, play LA, beat ’em, then hang a sign at the Palace: “Coast to Coast, We Are The Most.”
* But that’s just me. MICHAEL, WE’D LOVE YOU TO VISIT . . .
. . . BUT DON’T FORGET THE HANDI-WIPES
* Regarding the proposed Mike Tyson vs. Tony Mandarich fight: Why would I pay $100 to see Tyson get the best of Mandarich when Mark Messner did it for free in the Michigan-Michigan State game?
* By the way, George Foreman wants the winner.
* So maybe there’s not much interest in the Stanley Cup Finals this year. I’m sure it will pick up once the two teams start playing.
* . . . They did?
* Speaking of the Knicks, talks are on again between Rick Pitino and the University of Kentucky for their vacant head coaching job. Why not? In Kentucky, Pitino might be treated like God. He’s used to that, of course, after “The Godfather,” which he did under his stage name, Al Pacino.
* The Tigers will finish 63-99.
* And will miss first place by two games.
* Speaking of the Tigers, I still don’t understand why John Wockenfuss pitched against them in that exhibition game in Toledo. He said his regular pitchers were committed; they had a doubleheader coming up. Wait a minute. Isn’t the whole point of the minor leagues to learn to play against big leaguers? A doubleheader? Who cares? For pete’s sake, Toledo was in last place, anyhow.
* I refuse to attend any sporting event that has the name “Trump” attached to it.
* How about this guy, David Schumacher, who wrote the Margo Adams expose for Penthouse? He now claims to have a copy of baseball’s report on Pete Rose’s alleged gambling. On Tuesday, he told USA Today — journalism’s answer to Sugar Smacks — that he was willing to sell it to the highest bidder. He already had offers, he said, of $20,000.
* On Wednesday, however, he changed his mind.
* MEMO TO: D. Schumacher. I want to buy your report. The check for $20,000 will be forthcoming.
* MEMO TO: D. Schumacher. I changed my mind.
* Interesting that Moses Malone — whose last known words were, “Mom, what’s for lunch?” — was quoted in the Atlanta papers as blaming the Hawks’ playoffs failure on coach Mike Fratello. Something sure is wrong with that team; it wouldn’t surprise me if the coach was in hot water.
* Speaking of Fratello, I don’t want to say he is actually famous actor Joel Grey. I do know that after the Hawks lost to Milwaukee, he shook Del Harris’ hand and said, “Life is a cabaret, old chum . . . ” CUTLINE

Mike? . . . Joel? . . . Mike?

Coach . . . Corleone?

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