While Johnson fished, big one got away


Reading Time: Two Minutes.

Let's hear it for the Orioles, naming a full-fledged adult to the position of co-manager of the ballclub.

Dave Johnson, if he wasn't so confident of landing the job, should have stuck around commanding space and time in the newspapers, television and radio instead of taking part in a silly fishing trip. Some strategist he turned out to be.

* If an ordinance in Raritan, N.J., banning cursing catches on and sweeps the country, it could be the beginning of the end for all sports as we know them.

* Regional renowned polimericks producer George Neff Lucas (his great aunt was Hildegarde Neff) has crept over from the Op-Ed page with this contribution:

The stats disappear without traces,

The pennants go limp without races,

One strike and no ball

Makes this a funless fall

And as empty as all of those bases.

* Seriously, is there anything sillier than "Midnight Madness" and the accompanying hype? Do kids on the campuses of higher learning really need yet another reason to imbibe come the weekend after a nose-to-the-grindstone week of studying?

* Local product Ed Griffin (10-0) and Les Johnson (20-3) will be in co-featured eight-rounders against Ohioans Robert Smith (8-2) and Wilson Smith (12-2), respectively, atop Stu Satosky's nine-bout card at Martin's West Nov. 1. Area fighters fill the undercard and included among them is Big Corey "T-Rex" Sanders, who tips the Toledo at 302 pounds over a 6-6 frame.

* While every Johnny, Bibby and Zeke was taking shots at the 18-hour special "Burnsball" on PBS, Pete Gammons of ESPN gave it four stars with the explanation, "How great was it to see Babe Ruth's complete at-bat for his 60th home run off Tom Zachary?"

* Rookie Grant Hill of Duke had taken part in two practices with the Detroit Pistons before coach Don Chaney was asked if this is Hill's team. "I couldn't believe that one," said the coach. "This is Joe Dumars' team. I know what he can do in tight-tight situations. When this kid comes of age and it's his time, he'll take over."

* Why, oh why, did UNLV feel a need to peel off $1.8 million to send Rollie Massimino packing from the disastrous job he was doing with the Runnin' Rebels basketball program? That's five years of salary Rollie had contracted for, true, but he had a secret and illegal deal to add $300,000 per annum to his base salary and the school probably could have canceled the pact under moral turpitude grounds.

* It might be a good idea if Notre Dame stuck to a schedule involving land grant institutions. It has been getting torn up lately by the parochials (Boston College and Brigham Young).

* Penn State students going wild on campus and in the streets of University Park after the victory over Michigan is another example of "news" that probably shouldn't be covered. The only reason this junk goes on is because these Rhodes Scholars are sure it will be covered by the television cameras.

* Are Deion Sanders and Andre Rison so important to the conduct of the NFL that they can get involved in a fierce toe-to-toe punch-a-thon early in a game and not be remanded to the sidelines? Obviously they are.

* Something seems amiss when the National Congress of State Games names 42-year-old John Brown, a guy who scored 1,400 points at Missouri, made All-America, was on our 1972 Olympic team and played in the NBA for seven seasons, as one of its athletes of the year.

* Robert Morris College, which started out as the Pittsburgh School of Accounting and was a junior college before becoming a four-year school, fielded its first football team this fall. And with 66 almost all freshmen, non-scholarship players it won its first five games against teams with a combined record of 15-11 in Division I-AA before losing to Wagner last weekend. Joe Walton, tight end for the Giants in the '60s and coach of the Jets in the '80s, is coach.

* Navy faithful better skip this item: Army, down to its fourth quarterback, showed some passing skill while upsetting Louisville, 30-29. Howard Schnellenberger's gang from Kentucky was coming off a 45-14 shelling of ranked North Carolina State and, oh-oh, figures to be in a fairly nasty mood when it serves as homecoming opponent for the Midshipmen Saturday (1:30 p.m.)

* "Tuesday Night Fights" on USA Network, according to announcer Al Albert, "started out as a 12-week replacement show that turned into a 12-year program." Of his partner, Sean O'Grady, Al says, "He's been here for eight years, and he's starting to get on my nerves." Tonight's anniversary show has Roberto Duran (93-10) taking on Heath Todd (25-4). Duran's the older guy.

* Remember those so-called important meetings held on Capitol Hill recently in which baseball's infamous reserve clause and the game's management got skunked in a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee for about the 100th time? Was there any action taken? Kidding, of course.

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