Lewis Schaffel, managing partner of the NBA expansion franchise in Miami, recently spoke to a men's club at a synagogue in Fort Lauderdale, trying to drum up business for the new team, which is called the Heat and which will make its debut next season. Schaffel figured he would appeal to the migratory nature of the South Florida populace by reminiscing about his old high school in Brooklyn, Erasmus Hall, which has produced such luminaries as Billy Cunningham, Doug Moe, Al Davis and Barbra Streisand.
"So you went to Erasmus?" asked one septuagenarian after the speech. "That's nice. I went to Eastern District."
"Eastern District," Schaffel replied. "You know who went there, don't you? Red Auerbach."
"You mean Arnold Auerbach," said the gentleman. "Oh, I went to school with Arnie Auerbach. Say, what's Arnie doing nowadays, anyhow?"
Organizers of a Giants baseball fantasy camp scheduled for this week in Tempe, Ariz., wanted to expand their venture to include a sportswriting fantasy camp. Anyone paying a $1,200 enrollment fee could spend five days in Tempe pretending to be Roger Angell or Peter Gammons. He or she would have the chance to interview Willie Mays and other Giants greats, write stories for possible publication in Giants Magazine and pick up pointers from real-life sportswriters.
As of last week the baseball camp was booked solid with 90 reservations, while an affiliated sports broadcasting fantasy camp had attracted 12 would-be Vin Scullys. What about the sportswriting camp? "Not one person signed up," says organizer Max Shapiro. "No one even asked for a brochure."
Although the camp for scribes has been scrubbed, we can offer you the following advice on sportswriting from Garth Iorg, the former Blue Jays infielder who was hired by The Toronto Star in October 1985 to write personal accounts of the Jays' American League Championship Series with the Kansas City Royals. Said Iorg, "I guess this means I have to put on 30 pounds, smoke smelly cigars and wear clothes that don't match."
THE UNDERSIDE OF HOCKEY
Some intrepid scuba divers in the Winnipeg area are a little sadder these days. That's because the spring thaw has brought an end to their underwater ice hockey season. Or is that under-ice water hockey?