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Answer Guy responds to you: Why a "rookie?"
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In the current issue of The Magazine, Answer Guy sought to discover why first year players are called "rookies". He may or may not have been successful, depending on your point of view, which is what he's after now.

Sterling Edwards: Why not? Not helpful, Sterling. Not helpful at all. Brian Turner: Because they have no idea what they are doing. So shouldn't they be called "Chargers"? And another thing, why is the Answer Guy called the Answer Guy when all he does is confuse me? Sounds like one hand clapping to me, there, Betty. Phil Alexander: Maybe it's because they get "rooked" by the veterans. You know, Atomic Balm in the jock, shaving cream in the hat, the old "hot foot"? Ah, the classics. Robert Mather: The answer is simple. In chess there are two types of pieces, the pawns in the front row, and the "power pieces" in the back row. With ya. It's common for experienced players to move the rook -- or horse -- as the first power piece. Germans? The early start of the rook led to the nickname rookie. Could I have ten thousand marbles, please? Dennis Piper: Historically, rookies sat at the end of the bench. Oh really? Nineteenth century British sportswriters referred to these end of the bench players as rooks, taking the term from the rook in chess. Fascinating. The rook, of course, sits at the end of the line of pieces. You mean the power pieces! The chess reference, incidentally, was used to piss off French sportswriters who lack the intelligence to understand chess. Mon Dieu! Over time, the term is picked up by American writers covering baseball. Yes, yes. They bastardize the term into rookie, mainly to piss off British sportswriters. Unbelievable! How could I not have known this? Perhaps I've lost my touch. Perhaps it's time to hang 'm up and let ol' Piper here have a crack. Clearly, I'm a hack, a loser, a has-een, a Charger in the world of historical fact-finding. Woe is me! All is blackness. I'm finished. Come sweet death, release me from the bonds of my wretched and fettering incompetence! P.S. This is all just b.s. that I made up. Oh. Right. Of course it is. Steve Butcher: According to the dictionary, rookie is slang for recruit. Bless you, Steve. You've done more than you can possibly know.

Next issue, Answer Guy wants to know why the President is always calling the winners' locker room and bothering people. What do you think? E-mail

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