The Tonawanda ( N.Y.) Cardinals of the Niagara Youth Football League (ages 11 and 12) staged a mock work stoppage last week. Their demands: a dollar per game, more water during timeouts, extra oranges at halftime and pizza after every game. "There's a chance we'll field a substitute team," said assistant coach Chris McMahon, "but these guys have said if a scab team comes around, they're going to deflate their bicycle tires."
MORE STRIKING TRIVIA
Gary Myers, columnist for The Dallas Morning News, is collecting NFL strike team nicknames. So far he has come up with the San Francisco Phoney-Niners, the Cleveland Clowns, the Dullest Cowboys, the Buffalo Counterfeit Bills, the New Orleans St. Elsewheres, the Chicago Bearlies and the Los Angeles Shams and Masque-raiders. He is open to suggestions.
The $250,000 fine levied by baseball commissioner Peter Ueberroth against the Texas Rangers for prematurely recalling relief pitcher Steve Howe, who has had a history of drug abuse, makes little sense. The fine, which was presumably intended as a statement against drugs and as a message to all not to cross the commissioner, instead created sympathy for Howe and forged an unlikely alliance against Ueberroth between the Rangers and the players' union.
The commissioner's office says that a club must wait "a reasonable amount of time" before calling up a player who is known to have abused drugs. The Rangers signed Howe on July 12 and sent him to their Oklahoma City farm team. Before they recalled him on Aug. 6, 25 days later, owner Eddie Chiles and president Mike Stone flew to New York to inform Ueberroth of their intentions. They carried with them documented evidence that Howe was clean. According to sources in the Ranger organization, Ueberroth asked the team to wait until Sept. 1 before recalling Howe. In effect, Ueberroth was saying that 49 days was a reasonable amount of time and 25 was not. The Rangers defied him.
The Montreal Expos (page 28) may wish they had done the same in the case of Pascual Perez, even at the risk of a whopping fine. The Expos proceeded more cautiously by waiting 91 days before promoting Perez in August, even though the righthander, who had had drug problems also, was pitching well in the American Association. Had Montreal brought him up earlier, Perez, who at week's end was 6-0 with a 2.47 ERA, would have gotten a few more starts, and the Expos might be leading the NL East.
Radio station KMAK in Fresno, Calif., was all set to honor the catcher for the Fresno Giants of the Class A California League this summer, but unfortunately for the station, the player was called up to the AA Texas League before the ceremony. His name? Joe Kmak.
Last week ESPN's SportsCenter conducted one of those totally unscientific call-in surveys of public opinion on the NFL strike. Of the 15,000 viewers who spent 50 cents to dial a 900 number to register their views, 73% sided with the owners, 25% favored the players and, get this, 2%, or 300 people, called just to say they were undecided.
With student interest in Carnegie Mellon University's football fortunes in a chronic sag, Bruce Gerson, sports information director at the Pittsburgh school, which is noted for the excellence of its science and engineering departments, decided desperate measures were required. Having determined that the student body was more interested in computers than in football, Gerson staged Diskette Day at Tech Field in conjunction with the Tartans' Sept. 19 home game against the Case Western Reserve Spartans. Computer disks, which sell for $2 at the college computer store, would be handed out to the first 400 students who showed up for the game. "It's an ugly idea," said senior math major Leonard Dickens, "but it'll work."