THE FAMILY PLAN
It's hard to fault a plan that promises to send one family member of each U.S. Olympic athlete to this year's Summer Games in Seoul. "The team behind the team is really the families," says C. Richard Coffey, president of the Seagram Beverage Company, whose Send the Families program will provide an estimated $2.75 million to fly some 560 Olympic family members to South Korea in September. Twenty-three of the 26 U.S. governing bodies of Summer Olympic sports have agreed to take part in Seagram's program.
Unfortunately for some families, the governing bodies of gymnastics and basketball want nothing to do with Seagram's program because it promotes Seagram's Coolers, a line of wine beverages. (The 26th U.S. governing body, the U.S. Tennis Association, has simply declined the invitation to take part.) While the gymnastics and basketball federations defend their nonparticipation on sound principle—they say they don't want to promote the use of alcohol by young athletes—they ought to reconsider their decisions in this case.
For one thing, the program is intended for families, not children. Also, there are risks in being too judgmental: A federation that shuns the Send the Families program because of Seagram's sponsorship would, logically, also have to boycott the U.S. Olympic Training Centers, which are sponsored by the Miller Brewing Company, and perhaps even the Olympics, which have an official beer sponsor, the Oriental Brewery Company of South Korea.
GOING TO SEED
George Toma, the groundskeeping wizard of Kansas City, has devised six ways to grow real grass on the artificial turf of Arrowhead Stadium. For one of his experiments, Toma and his crew put down some grass seed and some dirt in three test plots of AstroTurf-8 Drain Through System, which has holes in its padding. This was on a Friday. By Wednesday the grass had grown two inches high. The heat and moisture trapped underneath the padding actually helped germinate the grass seed.
Why in the world did Toma do this? Well, he likes a challenge—he has been known to grow grass on a slice of bread. But more important, Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt wanted to impress the visiting officials of FIFA, the governing body for international soccer, which is expected to award the 1994 World Cup to the U.S. this summer. FIFA does not allow World Cup games to be played on artificial turf, but Toma's grass on carpet might make Arrowhead and other U.S. stadiums with artificial turf viable sites for World Cup competition.
As expected, the National League executive committee last Friday upheld the 30-day suspension given Cincinnati Reds manager Pete Rose by league president A. Bartlett Giamatti for pushing umpire Dave Pallone on April 30. However, there were some unexpected developments arising from the incident:
?Pallone gave his first interview on the controversy to the Phillie Phanatic, the Philadelphia Phillies' mascot. It seems that Dave Raymond, who masquerades as the Phanatic, has a radio show on WDEL in Wilmington, Del., and knows Pallone well. Pallone was working a series in Philadelphia, and on May 3 Raymond asked Pallone to stop by the Phanatic's locker room. The one thing of significance that Pallone told Raymond was that he was unsure whether or not he poked Rose under his left eye during their argument, as Rose has charged.