Maybe they're putting rockets in running shoes


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There have been some spectacular weekends of marathoning ever since the Boston, London and Rotterdam marathons got together on the same weekend several years back, but none to match what transpired over the last two days.

With winning times of 2:07:15 (by Cosmas Ndeti) in Beantown yesterday, 2:07:51 by Vincent Rousseau in the Netherlands and 2:08:53 by Dionicio Ceron in England Sunday, there's already talk of the running shoes being juiced up, just like the baseballs.

Imagine 21 guys knocking off sub-2:12 marathons, nine women going under 2:30 and Bob Kempainen's American record of 2:08:47 getting just seventh place over the course of 30 hours.

Strangely, the wire service lead out of Boston said, "No one ever called the Boston course fast. Until Monday." Bull. It's lightning if the conditions are right since it's point-to-point, downhill (nearly 500 feet) and often provides a tailwind.

* Something to be remembered about the Washington Capitals, heading into Game 2 tonight in Pittsburgh: Every time the Caps and Penguins meet in the playoffs, Washington wins the first game.

* That was an interesting reaction by some of Alonzo Mourning's Charlotte Hornets mates when their main guy got tossed out of a game for fighting the other night as the team struggled to avoid elimination from the NBA playoffs. "How stupid was that, his getting into a fight and getting thrown out [and suspended for a game]? He thinks he's got to be a macho he-man every time he goes out there," said Dell Curry. It's that good Georgetown training, you know.

* The Ballpark at Arlington reminds me of the stadium at the National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadow, site of the U.S. Open . . . on TV at least.

Still on ballparks, what's the real story down Bowie way? They had more than a year to complete the home of the Baysox while the team played in Baltimore and it looks as if they got down to serious construction just a couple of weeks ago. Sure, it was cold and icy for a couple of months and wet in March, but what about all last summer and fall?

* Proposed new arenas for Abe Pollin's Bullets and Caps are now up to a half-dozen (minimum) and, to this point, it hasn't really been explained adequately what's so bad about the 20-year-old USAir Arena that a little refurbishing money wouldn't fix. This keeping-up-with-the-Joneses routine is way out of hand, because as soon as a community is blackmailed into matching the latest state-of-the-art edifice, someone comes up with something more grandiose and outlandish.

* Besides winning six tennis tournaments already this year, top-ranked Pete Sampras has been a first-round loser in other tourneys entered. . . . Ever the diplomat, Boris Becker, competing in Japan recently, said, "I enjoy this country very much, even though the German food is better than the Japanese food."

* After finishing third in the nation in completions, sixth in touchdown passes and setting a raft of school passing records last year, does anyone think Scott Milanovich is really the No. 2 quarterback coming out of spring football at Maryland? The "Butler (Pa.) Bazooka" was suspended for a couple of weeks for some catch-all "team rules" violation and several of his mates probably wished they had committed the same transgression.

* Joe Morgan, Jon Miller's co-pilot on ESPN "Sunday Night Baseball" telecasts, comes up with some quixotic stuff from time to time. During the other night's endless (4:04) offering between the Orioles and Rangers, the camera showed a couple of dudes with exaggerated sideburns in the stands and Miller said something about them perhaps being Brady Anderson fans. "I hope they are Anderson fans and not just doing that [growing hair]," replied Joe.

* Maybe even worse than the fact the Bullets aren't going to the playoffs for the sixth straight year (after five seasons of first-round elimination) is the fact the New Jersey Nets (of all people) made postseason play. The team from the Jersey marshlands may be the most innocuous in professional sports.

* If Orioles TV voice Mel Proctor does nothing more this season, it would behoove him to come up with a better nickname for Rafael Palmeiro than "Rafey." Good grief, the guy's a grizzled, 29-year-old home run slugger.

* From the Bound to Happen Department: now that Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis are this () far from agreeing to a bout to re-unify the heavyweight championship around Thanksgiving, look for one of them to lose against Michael Moorer (Holyfield) Friday or Phil Jackson (Lewis) May 6.

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