A long baseball tradition dictates that pitchers "protect" their teammates by throwing at batters if bad blood develops during a game. Bill Swaggerty of the Triple A Rochester (N.Y.) Red Wings has taken that principle to another level.
In the fourth inning of a game against the Maine Guides last Thursday, Swaggerty got shortstop Cory Snyder to pop to center. Snyder then threw his bat into the stands, where it hit a 61-year-old woman and her granddaughter, breaking the younger woman's nose. When Snyder returned to the plate in the sixth, Swaggerty drilled him with his first pitch, starting a bench-clearing brawl. "Nobody told me to hit him," Swaggerty explained after the game. "You can't let stuff like that go by. Our fans are hard to come by. We want them to come back. We like them to know they can come and watch a good game without risking life and limb."
Both the populist pitcher and the plunked shortstop were thrown out of the game. But that wasn't the end of it for Snyder. On Friday morning he was charged with two counts of third-degree assault in Rochester City Court. He pleaded not guilty, saying that he was trying to throw the bat toward the dugout but, because of pine tar on the bat, he lost control of it. A pretrial conference has been set for June 12.
With next weekend's graduation ceremonies, the curtain rings down on a curious spring of discontent at Santa Clara University in California. In a most unusual protest, a small group of Muwekma Indians assembled on the campus and established a picket line. The target of their demonstration: women's mud-wrestling matches put on by the college's Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. The Indians were upset about a report in the campus newspaper that the dirt used in the matches had come from a sacred Indian burial ground. The Muwekmas marched to protest the alleged desecration and demanded a retraction from the newspaper, whose coverage of the controversy they labeled racist.
The local supply company that delivered the soil to the fraternity started the flap by telling the newspaper the dirt had come "from the Indians." The company now says that it was only joking and that the soil was from its own rock quarry. Says Sigma Phi Epsilon vice-president Jim Manning, "I think we're going to stay away from mud wrestling for a little while."
It may sound farfetched, but for the third year in a row the International Olympic Committee has been nominated for the august Nobel Peace Prize. A group of approved Nobel nominators (among them, most prominently, an Indian judge from the World Court) has put the IOC up for consideration for the 1986 award, which will be presented in December in Oslo.
Those supporting the IOC over the estimated 60 to 90 other peace prize candidates contend that the organization promotes world harmony by bringing together nations of different political stripes in a friendly forum. They point out that at a recent Olympic gathering in Seoul, representatives from the United States and Libya sat at the same table. It's just as easy to argue, however, that the IOC has contributed to world tensions by putting on Games every four years that are overtly nationalistic and rife with political squabbling. Alfred Nobel, the peace prize founder, specified that the award be given to "those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind" in the field of peace. Could that possibly be the same IOC that we all know?
PUTT UP OR SHUT UP