National League president A. Bartlett Giamatti may have gone overboard in his punishment of Reds manager Pete Rose—a 30-day suspension and a $10,000 fine for pushing umpire Dave Pallone twice on April 30—but American League president Bobby Brown went underboard last week when he fined Yankee manager Billy Martin a mere $300 for kicking dirt on plate umpire Tim Welke in a game in Texas on May 6.
Brown defended the seemingly light punishment by pointing to Martin's exemplary on-field behavior of late. Giamatti, on the other hand, did not take into consideration Rose's otherwise amicable relationship with umpires. Granted, the leagues are governed by two different men, but they should have more consistent policies in dealing with such incidents. After all, they were able to get together to enforce the balk rule.
Martin didn't touch Welke, nor did he incite a near riot; nonetheless, his kicking dirt was an act meant to humiliate the man in blue. Respect for authority is the principle the National League president was trying to uphold when he handed down his judgment. And if Brown needed a precedent, he could have looked back to April 1983, when then- American League president Lee MacPhail suspended Martin for three days for kicking dirt on umpire Drew Coble.
Tired of the same old sports? Looking for a new and exciting form of recreation? Well, Randy Youngman, a sports columnist for The Orange County ( Calif.) Register, has discovered turkey bowling, Right now turkey bowling, or "Butterballing," is a favorite pastime of night clerks in Orange County grocery stores. But who knows? Maybe day people will be bowling with gobblers soon.
D.J., a grocery clerk in Newport Beach, told Youngman: "We usually play at 3 a.m. on everyone's lunch [hour]. We set up 10 [full] two-liter soft-drink bottles—the plastic ones—and space them just like bowling pins. Then we measure off about 45 steps in an aisle. And then you grab a frozen Butterball turkey and roll it down the aisle to see how many bottles you can knock down. You keep score the same way you do at a bowling alley."
Why a Butterball turkey? Because the Butterball is wrapped in plastic, and around the plastic is a mesh net with a handle that makes the turkey easy to grip. The birds don't so much roll down the aisles as they do slide. According to D.J., "You have your fast aisles and your slow aisles."
As with real bowling balls, no turkey should exceed 16 pounds. What's a good score? "I can shoot about a 160 on a good night," said D.J., "and the highest score I've ever seen is a 185. One guy at another store supposedly shot a 245. I'll tell you what, if he bowled a 245 with a turkey, he's in the wrong business."
D.J. said there's no reason that news of Butterballing should hurt turkey sales. "If anything, we tenderize 'em. I bet we get compliments from the customers. You know, "My, you have tender turkeys. How do you tenderize 'em?' 'Oh, we let the night crew bowl with them.' "