In contrast to the professional athletes who complain about too much media attention, Pitcher John (Count) Montefusco of the San Francisco Giants delights in being interviewed. This season, however, a sprained ankle has put the garrulous fastballer on the disabled list, and few reporters have sought out his company or his words of wit and wisdom.
While recuperating, Montefusco often spends time with his racehorse, Silvan Hill. "I lie down with him in the stall and talk to him," the Count says, "because nobody else is talking to me this year."
WANTING AND NEEDING
Frank Shorter, the 1972 Olympic Marathon champion and the silver medalist last year, recently was asked if he thought that "wanting something badly enough" was sufficient incentive for an athlete.
Shorter replied, "To a certain degree, but wanting it badly enough isn't going to let you know what kind of drugs other people might be taking. Wanting it badly enough isn't going to create a situation in which you can train six hours a day. You have to have some sort of support, if you're going to compete in this day and age.
"Wanting it badly enough sounds too much like football, anyway. It sounds like you've got to beat your head against the locker, you've got to hate your opposition, you've got to bow to the coach because he's God. There are different kinds of athletes in different kinds of sports, and I think that attitude applies in some, but it doesn't apply in ours. In track, you have to have doctors available with whom you can consult to determine your level of fitness, to tell you if you are doing the right thing, to rein you in if you are doing too much. It is a monitoring process. Honestly, if you can't get enough medical backup to feel that you're operating with the same advantage as somebody else, wanting it badly enough just isn't going to be sufficient."
SITTING IN THE JAYBIRD SEAT
As a team, the expansionist Toronto Blue Jays have a firm hold on the American League Eastern Division cellar. As a franchise, however, Toronto may be the most envied club in the majors.
Consider these financial arguments: Toronto is second in American League attendance and should reach the one-million mark this month; the Blue Jays took in more than $4 million on the sale of 8,600 season tickets; licensing and packaging of the Blue Jay logo will bring in another $100,000; a disco record, Blue Jays, was on the Canadian charts last May, and the Exhibition Stadium game program, the largest in baseball at 116 pages, has generated additional revenue.
Says Peter Bavasi, the club's vice-president and general manager, " Montreal is isolated both geographically and politically by the separatist movement, so we think of ourselves not only as a Toronto team, but as Canada's national team. All our marketing is aimed in that direction."