Steroid use isn't over, Mr. Gibbs


Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs makes himself look foolish when he says the use of steroids "is over" in pro football.

At a time when grizzled NFL veterans Lyle Alzado and Dexter Manley are saying exactly the opposite, Gibbs appears to be burying his head in the sand.

In all sports there's a tendency among the in-crowd to turn the other cheek to an apparent problem. Nothing will ever get cured that way.

When Dennis Martinez, now with Montreal, was a pitcher with the Orioles, he spoke to a group of Baltimore City municipal employees who were recovering alcoholics like himself. I attended Martinez's soul-baring session and I can still remember rTC his saying alcohol abuse is the No. 1 problem of ballplayers. "Boy," he said, "can those guys drink!"

That should have touched off an alarm in major-league front offices. Instead, executives did like Joe Gibbs and shrugged it off.

Martinez, incidentally, has been rumored going in a trade to Cincinnati, since the Reds have a rather desperate need for an experienced righthander. The change would be fine with Dennis, since the Expos are almost as far out of the race as the Orioles, while the defending champion Reds at least have a shot to overtake the Dodgers in the NL West.

* Andre Agassi should have a cakewalk in the Sovran Bank Classic tennis tournament in Washington this week. He's the only one in the 56-player field ranked in the Top 10. What's more, the clay surface is more to his liking than it is to John McEnroe's. Agassi is No. 6 in the world. Mac is No. 17.

Although Agassi and McEnroe are hard to beat as gate attractions, the field in D.C. is a weak one for understandable reasons. Right after Wimbledon most players want to take a break. Also, it's hard to find a hotter place in July than Washington -- unless it's Baltimore.

* Press box denizens in Frederick who cover the Orioles farm club there on a regular basis say the Keys' best prospect probably is shortstop Manny Alexander, from the Dominican Republic. Alexander didn't look like it Sunday, though, committing two errors against Prince William.

The kid has plenty of time to work on his game. He's only 20 and it doesn't look as if the Orioles shortstop job is going to open up for a while.

* The death last week of Dick Love, 66, reminds me of a story that illustrates what fanatics Colts fans like himself were in the '50s. On a Colt Sunday back then, Dick was about to leave the house to drive to Memorial Stadium with some friends when his wife told him she thought she was ready to go into labor. You talk about a dilemma!

Dick asked her if she thought she could hold off until after the game. She said, OK, she guessed she could. He went to the game and she had the baby that evening, after he had returned from yet another Colts victory. The "baby" is Ned Love, a Loyola College grad who is now director of food services for Marriott at Frostburg State University.

* Eight players on St. Paul's School's MSA championship lacrosse team, led by Tim Whiteley and Joey Gelbard, are holding a camp all this week in Brooklandville for 44 players from the Baltimore City middle schools lacrosse league. An all-star game will be held Thursday at 6. The program is funded by an anonymous St. Paul's parent.

* A happy Baltimorean (actually he lives in Pasadena) this week ** is Augie Uleckas, the onetime soccer and lacrosse star at Calvert Hall and the University of Baltimore.

Uleckas and 45 tourists and athletes of Lithuanian extraction have received their visas to leave Sunday for the old country for the IV Lithuanian World Games. The Baltimore Lithuanian A.C. will be represented by a women's volleyball team and several tennis players. Andrew Veliuona, a former All-Metro soccer player at Mount St. Joe, will participate. Uleckas, at 46, will play soccer in an old-timers game. Says Uleckas: "This is the chance of a lifetime. This is like the Olympic Games to us."

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