SIGN OF THE (HARD) TIMES DEPT.
As Brad Berry, a down-on-his-luck radio-TV time salesman and sometime broadcaster in Phoenix, tells it, "I was lying in the sun, drinking a beer, waiting for the mailman to come with my unemployment check and facing the dilemma of being out of work, when I realized, 'Hey, I got to do something to get myself involved in the community again.' " Thus was born the Unemployed Co-Ed Slo-Pitch Softball League. The city parks department waived the usual fee for a playing field, a sporting goods store provided free equipment and another concern came through with trophies. The new league has 65 players and this eligibility rule: Players lucky enough to land jobs are bounced.
THE NEW MATH, PENGUIN-STYLE
As of Sunday the Pittsburgh Penguins had a 12-35-7 record, the worst in the NHL, and their fans—what few (barely 9,000 per game in the 16,033-seat Pittsburgh Civic Arena) there were of them—were restive, as evidenced by the banner on display at a recent home game: NO CLASS PLUS NO PRIDE PLUS NO SCORING PLUS NO MUSCLE PLUS NO GUTS PLUS NO WINS EQUALS NO PLAYOFFS PLUS NO FANS.
Everyone knows that when the New York Yankees don't win, owner George Steinbrenner treats his players like dogs. But how does Steinbrenner react to dogs that don't win? The answer came Saturday night at the Palm Beach (Fla.) Kennel Club where Army Brat, a bitch owned by Steinbrenner's wife, Joan, and two other individuals, finished seventh in a field of eight in the World Series of dog racing, the $120,000 Greyhound Grand Prix. Following the race, which was won by Comin Attraction, a bitch owned by Bob Riggin of Abilene, Kans., Steinbrenner turned to his wife and said sweetly, "You've got to realize that you won't win 'em all the time, honey." Now if George can only remember that when the Yankees start chasing the American League rabbit six weeks from now.
WHAT DOES YOUR FATHER DO?
The Seattle area has become home territory for quite a few former NBA players, and the offspring of some of them are beginning to make their presence known on local basketball courts. For instance, Troy Miles, son of Eddie Miles, the Seattle University star of the early 1960s who went on to become an NBA sharpshooter, is scoring 24.7 points per game for O'Dea High. Michael Bryant, son of former NBA guard and former SuperSonics Assistant Coach Emmette Bryant, has a 14.9 average at Franklin High. Kevin Love, whose father. Bob Love, starred with the Chicago Bulls and ended his career with the Sonics, is scoring 10.4 points a game for suburban Inglemoor High. Former NBA and ABA All-Star Center Zelmo Beaty's 6'4" son Darryl is a forward at Sammamish High; Dorie Murrey Jr., whose father was a Sonic for a couple of seasons in the late '60s, is a backup center for Interlake High in Bellevue, and Sonic Coach Lenny Wilkens' son Randy plays guard for the junior varsity team at Lakeside, an academically tough school on Seattle's northside.
It should be noted that some of these NBA offspring have interests other than the sport that so dominated their fathers' lives. Randy Wilkens, for example, plays soccer, too, and Dorie Murrey Jr. is better in football than in basketball. As Marilyn Wilkens says, recalling the boyhoods of her husband, Lenny, and his friend Zelmo Beaty, "Lenny and Z grew up playing in the street. They played basketball every minute they could. These kids all have other things to do."
Still, Seattle obviously has a bumper crop of NBA-bred schoolboys. There's also at least one schoolgirl, Debbie Murrey, Dorie Murrey Jr.'s 5'8" sister, who starts at forward for Sammamish High's girls' team. And there are other youngsters coming along who may also be expected to find their way onto local basketball courts. Current Sonic Guard Fred Brown and former NBAers Bob Hopkins, Rick Barry and John Tresvant all have sons in the Seattle area in grades three through eight.