That's not to say there's a love-in happening, particularly not between managers and umps. Last week umpire Ed Montague, whose crew has ejected the Atlanta Braves' Bobby Cox three times this year, said of the manager's notorious kvetching: "I'm tired of Cox's [stuff]. He's not a fair guy [and] I'm not going to take it." Meanwhile, one National League manager, unhappy over a call that went against him, showed that some hostility will always exist. "If you're a ballplayer and you're fat, you get released," he said. "If you're an umpire, you get tenure."
Though he had refrained from placing a wager—something about a vow of poverty—Monsignor Andrew Cusack had a lot riding on last Saturday's Hambletonian at Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, N.J.: $25,000. "I must confess I don't know much about harness racing," said Cusack, director of the National Institute for Clergy Formation at Seton Hall in South Orange, N.J., "but I know what happens if Mal wins."
By Mal, Cusack meant both Malvern Burroughs, 56, and Burroughs's 3-year-old colt, Malabar Man. Burroughs, who donates the 5% driver's share of his winnings to Cusack's institute, entered the Hambletonian having won 19 of 21 races when in the sulky behind Malabar Man, whom he also owns.
Burroughs's success story is, in Cusack's words, "nothing short of miraculous." He was raised in Rutherford, just a few minutes from the site of the racetrack. When Burroughs was 12, his father died in an auto accident, and four years later he quit high school to work on the docks in Jersey City. "Cold as hell," says Burroughs of his longshoreman days, "but thank God I had someone looking out for me." That someone was the Reverend Joseph Bagley, who served as a surrogate dad after the death of Burroughs's father. "He filled my dad's shoes and helped me to believe that I could do anything," says Burroughs.
At 22, Burroughs invested $8,000 in a red dump truck and launched a business. A few months later he bought another truck. Then another. Before he turned 30, his company had won the contracts to build the Route 80 approach to the George Washington Bridge and to help excavate the site for the World Trade Center. In 1975 Burroughs bid for—and received—the contract to build the surface of what would be the Meadowlands track.
Cusack met Burroughs six years ago, by which time Burroughs was a millionaire and had been racing as a hobby for more than a decade. Burroughs decided to honor Bagley, who died in 1986, by donating his winnings as a driver to Cusack's cause. Before Saturday his munificence had totaled more than $75,000.
In the homestretch on Saturday, Malabar Man broke free on the inside and won the mile race in 1:55 to claim the $500,000 winner's share. Burroughs thrust up his arms and looked to the heavens as a giddy Cusack shouted for joy. Then, checking his watch, the clergyman bid adieu. "I have to leave," he said, "to say 5:30 Mass down the Shore."
Taking a Slice out of Crime
After shanking a drive into the ficus trees on the par-5 7th hole at Miami Shores Country Club recently, a startled golfer received what seemed to be divine guidance as he searched for his shot. "Hey," said a voice from among the leaves above, "your ball is over here." While the golfer appreciated the help, the police helicopter circling overhead made him a bit apprehensive. He and his playing partners mentioned the voice to club officials, who in turn called in the cops.