News and (Mostly) Views:
Of course it was rotten luck that Pedro Martinez of Montreal pitched perfectly against San Diego for nine innings Saturday night, but wasn't credited with a no-hitter -- let alone a perfect game -- as the Padres reached him for a safety leading off the home 10th. At least Pedro won the game, 1-0.
The record book is replete with guys who didn't allow a hit over the regulation nine innings, 10 innings (Jim Maloney) and all the way up to 12 (Harvey Haddix retired 36 straight Milwaukee Braves), only to lose the game. Martinez, recall, was the young right-hander who was throwing a no-no late last year, a pitch slipped and he plunked a batter and the guy charged the mound.
Who could blame Pedro if one of these days he decided he's in the wrong line of work.
* Latest attendance figures released by Major League Baseball show no less than five teams struggling with game averages of 15,000 per game or less. The Giants, Padres, Pirates, Twins and Brewers can't come close to making it in today's baseball economy at such a pace. But that's OK if it ultimately leads to the return of some sort of sanity.
* The Team Bayer quintet of Tom Weiskopf, Gary Player, Lee Elder, Dick Rhyan and Orville Moody carved out enough birdies at Senior PGA Tour events during May to result in the American Heart Association's receiving a $50,000 check in the Bayer Corp.'s "Strokes Against Strokes" program. Each of the competitors joined the cause because of their own personal experiences with cardiovascular disease and Bayer contributed $500 for each of 68 birdies, then chipped in an additional $16,000 to make the final total.
* One of the mysteries of the age is why Boris Becker can't win a tennis tournament on clay, the surface he learned the game on as a lad. By being dumped out of the French Open in the third round by Adrian Voinea of Romania, ranked 128th in the world, Becker is now 0-for-47 on clay, and it doesn't appear likely he'll ever complete his slam of Grand Slam events.
* In addition to being the co-best built heavyweight of the last several years with Evander Holyfield, Frank Bruno also holds the distinction of being the best strategist in the division, all things considered. The Englishman has been granted his fourth shot at a title, challenging Oliver McCall for the World Boxing Council crown July 22 in London.
Frank gets these chances mainly because he doesn't pose too harsh a threat to the champ, no matter who he is. Bruno used McCall as a sparring partner for a big fight eight years ago and says, "I handled him with relative ease." Of course, sparring mates are brought in to give a fighter work, not make him look bad.
* Not that it makes any difference to a ballclub what fans think, particularly when you're talking about the Yankees and George nTC Steinbrenner, but loyalists in the Big Apple have spoken. In what would be termed a landslide-plus in politics, respondents to a New York Post poll turned thumbs down on The Boss signing Darryl Strawberry by more than a 3-1 margin. Also, Darryl hasn't even been released by the Giants yet.
* More should be made of the Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame in Athens, Ga. Together with Tom Gorman and Jaime Fillol, Tom Brown of Cal-Berkeley was inducted recently and he had a dynamite record back in the '40s. Brown lost the NCAA final to Pancho Segura, won the doubles, then lost Wimbledon and U.S. Open finals to Jack Kramer, won five U.S. hardcourt singles and doubles titles, was a mainstay on several Davis Cup squads, later serving as captain, and was a top 10 U.S. player eight times.
* Time was, with the likes of Al Oerter, Parry O'Brien, Randy Matson, Dallas Long and Mac Wilkins, the U.S. dominated the Olympics and everything else in the throwing field events. A return to those glory days could be at hand in the personage of John Godina. That's right, one guy. The 6-4, 280-pound senior from UCLA scored a shot put/discus double at the NCAA championships, the first time that has happened in more than a decade and his 72-2 shot was the best in the world for the last four years.
* While it's difficult to argue against Michael Jordan as the greatest pro basketball player ever, he probably isn't at the top of the list when it comes to the present-day NBA. That honor probably belongs to Hakeem Olajuwon, who's already up there with Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Nate Thurmond and a few more in the post.
* It was 40 years ago today that Mickey Mantle, who was hospitalized last week with a stomach disorder and is mending nicely, sent a Billy Pierce offering over the left-field roof at old Comiskey Park. That one was estimated at 550 feet; he hit a homer off Chuck Stobbs in Washington that was conservatively estimated at 562 feet. "Der Mick" might have had the most awesome swing and a miss of all time.
* Tony Rominger of Switzerland is to be commended, not only for winning the Tour of Italy cycling race, but for wearing the race leader's shirt on 20 of the 22 days of competition. It's pink.