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Scorecard AUGUST 26, 1996
Edited by Michael Bamberger and Richard O'brien
August 26, 1996
Paralympics...Derek Smith Remembered...Baseball's Most-Talented Traveler...Search for a Commish...A Surfing Year...Rhyming Judge...John Kruk's 'The Fan '
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August 26, 1996

Scorecard August 26, 1996

Paralympics...Derek Smith Remembered...Baseball's Most-Talented Traveler...Search for a Commish...A Surfing Year...Rhyming Judge...John Kruk's 'The Fan '

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Poetic Justice

Faced with an obtuse case in which some Passaic County (N.J.) tavern owners were charged with showing a pirated closed-circuit telecast of the 1995 Larry Holmes-Oliver McCall fight, U.S. district judge Nicholas Politan borrowed a leaf from Muhammad Ali's book. He put a poetic punch in the proceedings last week when he issued a four-page ruling, denying a defense motion to dismiss the case, written entirely in rhyme. "We had to do something to entertain ourselves," says Politan, who, with the help of clerks, spent two months crafting his verse, complete with footnotes. Insists Politan, "The legal basis is absolutely sound."

Which is more than can be said for the meter. Still, when grappling with matters of evidentiary admissibility, it's refreshing to encounter such passages as "The Court is not satisfied that perfidious antics/(Rhyme is not easy—excuse the semantics)/Are afoot and affecting the within litigation—/Not the most monumental in the courts of the nation."

Politan, who's considering drafting future opinions in Latin verse, says he's no boxing fan. That much should be clear from the ruling's fifth stanza: "The bout was between Messrs. Holmes and McCall/Whose pugilistic talents are well-known to all./The match evoked international attention/But the outcome herein shall go without mention."

Intercepted

Denver's KOA radio has been auditioning candidates to be the color commentator for its Broncos broadcasts, and former NFL safety Michael Harden was eager for the job. His debut at the Aug. 10 Broncos versus Carolina Panthers game went well, but when Harden stepped from the booth at Mile High Stadium, he was promptly handcuffed by police. It seems Denver's finest had been searching for Harden since his girlfriend filed a domestic violence complaint against him last month. "Somebody heard him on the radio," says police spokesman John Wyckoff, "and we all of a sudden realized where he was."

Harden, who retired in 1990, spent a night in jail before posting $550 bail. Not surprisingly, he was unavailable for comment...or commentary.

John Kruk: At the Movies

Phoef Sutton's script for The Fan included a role to be played by a "John Kruk look-alike." The producers, aware of the former big leaguer's profane glibness around the batting cage and his entertaining appearances on David Letterman's show, decided to hire the lumpish, bestubbled Kruk himself. In The Fan, which opened Friday, Robert De Niro plays an obsessive knife salesman-baseball fan and Wesley Snipes a Barry Bondsesque ballplayer who is the object of De Niro's obsession. Kruk, who retired in 1995 with a .300 batting average after 10 seasons, spent four months in California playing one of Snipes's teammates. "We were on the set about 13 hours a day, and I must have slept eight of 'em," says Kruk. That left him five hours a day to gather impressions. And we wondered....

Who is more frightening, De Niro or Randy Johnson, the Seattle Mariners' fireballer whose fastball came famously close to Kruk's head in the 1993 All-Star Game? "De Niro, by far," says Kruk. "He had a knife. In one scene he goes after me, and I was like, What the f—-! I thought he was serious. I mean, he goes nuts."

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