Around the tennis circuit they're saying that when Martina Navratilova defected to the U.S., she asked the State Department, "Do you cache Czechs here?"
STRIKE, SORT OF
What did it all mean? The New England Patriots suddenly call a strike and refuse to play a preseason game with the New York Jets. The New York Giants call a half-hour work stoppage before an exhibition with the Miami Dolphins but are persuaded to call it off by an array of speakers, among them the coach and quarterback of the Dolphins. The St. Louis Cardinals vote 30-16 in favor of not playing, five votes short of a self-imposed 75% majority.
The Patriots said their strike—called a week before the regular season was scheduled to begin—was designed to shake up the leadership of the Players Association as much as it was to demonstrate discontent with the league—a bit of shock treatment designed to get contract negotiations moving forward again. Ed Garvey, executive director of the Players Association, was surprised by the Patriots' action; paradoxically, the New England club management, eyeing the meager advance sale for the game with the Jets, did not appear terribly upset.
What was going on? Were all these moves a subtle ploy by the Players Association? Was the New England thing a deliberately planned "wildcat strike" to show the league the players were boiling with rebellion and should be placated without delay? Would it set off a string of similar strikes around the league? Would it jar union and management into a settlement? Or would the Patriots' militant effort fizzle, as the Giants' had, with the players returning to the fold while the dreary deadlock continued?
It probably happened no more and no less than in previous years, but at the U.S. Open tennis championship at Forest Hills it seemed that more players than ever were protesting decisions by officials. Tennis permits such protests, and the umpire, the chief official, can ask a linesman to "yield"—that is, let his decision be changed.
In a column decrying the complexity and permissiveness of tennis officiating, David Condon of the Chicago Tribune quoted Bill Riordan, the controversial counsellor of Jimmy Connors and Ilie Nastase, two of the more volatile players around. Riordan, no friend of the Establishment, had surprisingly conservative views on the matter.
"I think an official's call should be final," Riordan said. "The worst thing that can be done is to encourage players to dispute decisions. Bill Klem, the old baseball umpire, used to say, 'They ain't nothin' till I call 'em,' but after Bill made the call, that was it. That's the way it should be in tennis."