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Let's see now, was there anybody George Steinbrenner didn't insult during the World Series? The Yankees? As always, Steinbrenner publicly ridiculed his team's lapses, defending his right to do so by saying, "It's O.K. for me to criticize my players because I sign the checks." The horrible implication was that the Yankees were allowing themselves to be humiliated for money. The Dodgers? After L.A. grittily came from behind to win Game 5, Steinbrenner said, "They didn't play well. We gave it to them." Steinbrenner did have some gracious things to say about the Dodgers when the Series ended, but not before issuing a public apology for the Yankees' performance, a statement that had the effect of denigrating the efforts of both teams.
New York City? As partial explanation for the set-to he said he had in an L.A. elevator with a couple of ruffians, Steinbrenner allowed that they'd slurred New York, an explanation that was itself a slur, suggesting that the Big Apple was in such a pathetic state that it had to have its honor defended by a native Clevelander who now makes his home in Tampa. The fans? By taking the trouble to apologize to them for his team's showing, Steinbrenner, in effect, was accusing them of lacking the character to accept defeat. It might be argued that he further slighted them when he referred to them at one point, revealingly, as "my fans."
Have we forgotten anything? Well, yes. The only reason we even know about these many insults is that Steinbrenner succeeded in getting more ink during the Series than any player on either team. By upstaging the Series, he insulted baseball itself. The way we figure it, George was the only World Series participant who batted 1.000.
A NOSTALGIC NOTE
DIGGING DEEP FOR FOOTBALL
It's pretty much an isolated case, probably something you wouldn't want to make too much of. In fact, it flies in the face of the tendency by most people these days to vote against anything that even remotely smacks of higher taxes, assessments and the like. Yet for that very reason the action recently taken by students at Southern Illinois University is noteworthy. With its athletic program plagued by financial problems, a fate that has lately befallen many schools, the university scheduled a campus referendum to decide whether the student fee to support intercollegiate athletics should be $20 or $30 per semester. University officials warned that unless students opted for the $30 charge, football would probably have to be dropped.
With one-third of Southern Illinois' 21,000 students voting, the $30 assessment easily passed, 4,801 to 2,538. "After this referendum, anyone who says people don't care about intercollegiate athletics, forget it," crowed Bruce Swinburne, vice-president for student affairs, who had campaigned for approval of the $30 fee. Swinburne and other university officials noted that no such vote in behalf of college sports could have passed on campus during the Vietnam era. What was left unsaid was that in those days of looser budgets, no such vote would have been necessary.
ROOM WITH A VIEW
IVAN THE TERRIFIC