Say this for Kansas State basketball fans: They aren't of the fair-weather variety. Buoyed by their Wildcats' fourth-place finish in the Big Eight and their 20-11 overall record last season, students began setting up housekeeping in tents outside Ahearn Field House on Oct. 8, even though no date for the opening of ticket sales had been announced. Before long there were 50 tents of various shapes and colors, each manned around the clock by rotating groups of six students. "It looks like a KOA campground out here," said assistant sports information director Kenny Mossman.
A week passed. On Oct. 15, K State officials announced that the tickets would go on sale on Oct. 26. But when the temperatures at night began to fall into the 20's, the school brass began to fear for the health of the campers and moved the sale date to Oct. 23. During the last night of the camp-in, Wildcat basketball coach Lon Kruger and his players served up 300 bowls of chili to the bone-chilled diehards, whose very presence, allowed Kruger, was "good for recruiting."
If you're wondering whether all this fuss is a sign that Kansas State fans have delusions of grandeur, maybe even of a first-ever national championship, forget it. Says Phil Ham, a member of the first tent in line: "Every place I see has us picked fourth in the Big Eight. We're going to surprise a lot of people. I think we can finish third."
HOCKEY STICK OR ROLL-ON
Speaking of delusions of grandeur....
The U.S. Olympic hockey team is featured in a recently released music video that's touted as the sport's first. Sponsored by Sure deodorant, it's shown before Team USA exhibition games in arenas that have Diamond Vision screens. Thankfully, the players don't sing, dance, rap or carry on like pro football players. Instead, game and practice footage is accompanied by the pulsating sounds of rock singer Nikki Ryder. Still, there's a funny odor to the whole business. The title of the video, for instance, raises expectations for Team USA that may be more than a little unrealistic. According to most estimations, U.S. prospects in 1988 Olympic hockey competition are even dimmer than those of '84, when Team USA finished seventh. The questionable title? This Time for Sure.
Former Baltimore Orioles pitcher Jim Palmer was renowned for his memory during his playing days. At the World Series, Palmer, now a commentator for ABC, was talking with Charley Walters, a baseball writer for the St. Paul Pioneer Press Dispatch who pitched for the Twins in 1969.
"I got a hit off you in the Instructional League in 1968," Walters told Palmer.
"It was a slider away. You punched it into rightfield," said Palmer.