- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
Seldom has a man attracted so much attention by spitting as did tobacco-chewing Harvey Keenan during the 1982 baseball playoffs and World Series. The Milwaukee Brewers' manager became something of a folk figure partly because of the enormous chaw that bulged out his cheek, and his thoughtful, brooding expectorations were relentlessly depicted by the television cameras.
Kids imitate heroes, and Kuenn's macerating influence—abetted by ads showing athletes and country and western types tucking tobacco in their cheeks—has high school youngsters achewin' and aspittin' all over the place. Some schools have clamped down by trying to eliminate the practice ("It's a messy, unhealthy habit," says an official edict at Alhambra High in Martinez, Calif.), but Principal Bill Lamson of San Lorenzo Valley High in Fulton, Calif. has decided to face reality. Calling tobacco chewing as bad a habit as cigarette smoking, he nonetheless recognizes its existence and has authorized a designated chewing area, a gravel-covered plot, for the school's chaw addicts. It's not a question of being permissive, the principal says. It's simply an effort to solve a sticky problem: the prevalence of wet tobacco stains all over the place.
THE GEORGE AND BILLY SHOW
George Steinbrenner and Billy Martin have been portrayed in many ways during their eight-year love-hate affair, but no one has ever charged the Yankee owner and his faithful (for now) sidekick with being against the U.S. Olympic team. But Bob Mathias, two-time Olympic decathlon champion and director of the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, is beginning to wonder.
In October 1979 Mathias traveled to New York for a press luncheon to announce a large corporate donation to the training center, hoping that the publicity generated by his news might stimulate more donations. But on the morning of the luncheon, Steinbrenner dropped the bombshell that Martin was being fired for punching a marshmallow salesman in Minnesota a few days earlier. The press went to Yankee Stadium and the Olympic lunch was all but ignored in print and on the air.
Last week Mathias went to New York again, this time to publicize a donation to the training center from greyhound tracks across the country. A good story, right? Tracks that take bets supporting amateur athletes, and all that.... Once again Mathias contacted the media, and the greyhound people took a $525-per-day suite at the Hotel Pierre in Manhattan for interviews. Everything was set—and, suddenly, there was the press scooting 100 blocks north of the Pierre to the Stadium for the earthshaking news that Steinbrenner had just hired Martin for a third term as Yankee manager.
Mathias took it in stride. "Next time," he said, "I'll call Billy first to see what his schedule is."
HE'LL TAN THEIR HIDES
It isn't easy for a pro hockey player to keep his mind on his icy business in sunny Southern California. In an effort to ensure that his guys concentrate on hockey, Los Angeles Kings Coach Don Perry has established certain fines: If a player shows up at practice with a sunburn, it's $500; it's the same thing if he comes to the rink in shorts; and if a King is caught riding a motorcycle or a moped, it's $1,000. "I know some of the fines sound stupid," says Perry, "but I think that they're necessary."
Maybe so, and in any case it ought to be easy to spot a hockey player on a California beach. Look for a well-muscled fellow under a beach umbrella, wearing long pants, a long-sleeved shirt and a sun hat. It'll be a King, working on his pale.