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June 1, 2017

And, the Sports World Rolls On

Harry M. Covert

There's no better way to prepare for political writing than covering sports. The latter reaches almost everybody, especially when homegrown athletes accomplish extraordinary achievements.


News rooms of all varieties catch more grief than any other time when a son or daughter's name is accidentally misspelled. Understandable, of course.


Bear with me. I could talk about Maryland politics, the national verbal fisticuffs, or other locales where persons are arguing over this and that. However, several topics from the sports world are worth attention and on my mind.


It's difficult to not recall my sports writing days. There are so many athletes, women and men, who are terrific people, achievers. Good subjects for writers.


The distressing story of golf's Tiger Woods is big news. Florida police said he was arrested for DUI, driving under the influence of alcohol. After his picture was flashed everywhere, officials confirmed he was incapacitated by medicines. Sad.


Jack Nicklaus and several other pro golfers spoke out supporting him. Mr. Nicklaus has always been a classy man and good copy. Golf indeed is a gentleman's and gentle woman's game. Jack and the late Arnold Palmer coached Tiger on his early days attitudes.


I'm moving on now to the baseball world, which is so healthy everywhere and fun to follow.


It's been scintillating watching the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals enjoying great seasons.


The O's have had some on-field fighting challenges. And won them.


Those watching the Nationals beat up opposing teams, got an eyeful earlier this week. A San Francisco Giants pitcher intentionally fired a 98-mile-an-hour fast ball and struck the new baseball prince, Bryce Harper, the Nats' $21 million a year star.


Mr. Harper raced to the mound and got in a few good punches. I was hoping he'd knock out the cowardly Giants hurler. But teammates intervened.


Major League Baseball (MLB) imposed a six-game suspension on the thrower and a four-game hiatus on Mr. Harper. Both players, of course, appealed. The opinion here is Hunter Strickland, the pitcher, should have been sidelined more severely – the rest of the season. Mr. Harper shouldn't have any penalty.


Nowadays MLB has to maintain decorum. Mr. Harper is having a grand season along with his teammates. He can surely play the game in every way. I imagine he'll earn more dollars in his career than any of the other MLB millionaires – maybe he'll become a first-time owner-player.


And, it seems a majority of the baseball world stands with him. I'm a big-time fan if there's any doubt.


I should also point out that Frank Deford, a Baltimore native, died a few days ago. He was a terrific writer of sports columns, novels and broadcasting stories. He was asked to name the greatest sports figure from Charm City.


The questioner thought Frank would choose between modern day stars a la Cal Ripken Jr., Brooks Robinson, Johnny Unitas and others. He chose George Herman "Babe" Ruth. No arguments there, but the "first among equals."


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