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The `So What Else is New '90s'

Grun-blings

By Michael R. Grunwald

I know exactly what won't happen in the world of sports this decade.

In the '90s, George Steinbrenner will not stop meddling with his baseball team. The basket will not be raised to 11 feet. The Cubs will not win the World Series. Brent Musburger will not be quiet.

I don't know exactly what will happen in the So What Else Is New '90s. But I can make some uneducated guesses.

1990: The 49ers, Pistons, Flames and A's will all win again. "Neon" Deion Sanders will collapse from the weight of his jewelry. Nike will release a Bo Knows Boating, Bowling, Baking, Browsing and Break-Dancing commercial capped off by Bo Schembechler saying, "Bo, you don't know Schembechler. Mike Tyson will beat up a lot of people.

1991: The NFL, NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball will all go on strike. So will the PGA Senior Tour, but no one will really care. Tyson will beat up a lot of people. At once.

1992: Professional athletes will return to action, but not for their pro teams. Michael Jordan and Patrick Ewing, for instance, will lead the United States to the gold at the Olympics in Paris, France. Todd Marinovich will win the Heisman Trophy, earning a $50,000 bonus from USC. "I'm at USC for the education," Marinovich will claim, earning chuckles from the Downtown Athletic Club paparazzi. Nike will release a Bo Knows Boxing spot. Adidas will counter with a Tyson Can Beat the Hell Out of Bo ad.

1993: A year of scandals, as the pro teams go back to work (and I use that term loosely). Wade Boggs will be photographed having sex with his daily chicken dinner. Yankee manager Pete Rose will lose $1000 for guessing incorrectly the date of Dwight Gooden's cocaine relapse. Larry Holmes, emerging from retirement to fight Tyson, will be caught with lead in his gloves. Tyson will beat him up anyway. Jack Nicklaus will be caught trying to improve his lie on the $1.3 million 18th hole of the Skins Game. "I was, uh, counting the dimples on my ball," Nicklaus will say in another lie needing great improvement.

1994: The Harvard hockey team will beat Minnesota for its second national championship. Freshman wing (and starting pitcher) Chris Drury will slam home the game-winner on a rebound of a slapshot by his brother Ted '93-94, a former Olympian. Coach Ronn Tomassoni, Athletic Director Bill Cleary and Associate Coach Lane MacDonald will lead the celebration, reminiscing about the days when college athletes actually played for free.

1995: The United States will win the World Cup. Bobby Knight will simmer down. The Red Sox will win the World Series. The Rangers will win the Stanley Cup. The senior baseball league will gain respectability. George Foreman will defeat Tyson for the title. Whoops, slipped back into what won't happen in the '90s. Sorry.

1996: A year of long-overdue admissions. Bill Buckner will admit he let the ball go through his legs on purpose. Jerry Tarkanian will admit he was paying his players the whole time. Tommy Lasorda will admit he hired a stunt double to look skinny for those diet commercials. Hulk Hogan will admit that professional wrestling is fake, and that only brain-dead people watch it. Jordan will admit he is not really from this planet, and will fly home. Tyson will admit he was beaten up by Barbara Walters (Why else would he have agreed to do that interview?), and will come out of retirement to challenge her to a rematch.

1997: The Halls of Fame will run out of room. Rather than add on, Malthusian economists running the Halls will unceremoniously eject previous undeserving winners. Pee Wee Reese and Al Davis will be disconsolate. Steffi Graf will defeat Boris Becker at Wimbledon, but a 12-year-old girl will foil her bid for her seventh Grand Slam. Walters will beat up Tyson, who will retire again.

1998: Roberto Duran will come out of retirement to beat up Walters. Sugar Ray Leonard will come out of retirement to beat up Duran. Marvin Hagler will come out of retirement to beat up Leonard. Thomas Hearns will come out of retirement to beat up Hagler. In desperation, boxing commissioner Pete Rozelle will establish a senior boxing circuit. Tyson will come out of retirement to beat up Rozelle.

1999: Sports Illustrated will announce that Wayne Gretzky has been named the magazine's Sportsman of the Millenium in a close vote over Isaac Newton, whose theory of gravity was influential in understanding why hockey pucks and gymnasts do not fly off into the stratosphere. A teary Newton will settle for Time's Man of the Millenium. A jealous Tyson will beat up both of them.

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