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SCORECARD
Edited by Jerry Kirshenbaum
May 05, 1980
THE LONELINESS OF THE LONG-DISTANCE SUBWAY RIDER
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May 05, 1980

Scorecard

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Agent Ed Gottlieb insists he was serious when he placed a classified ad in San Diego newspapers last week for his client, Ozzie Smith, the Padres' stylish but weak-hitting (.211 last season, .246 so far in 1980) shortstop. It read:

Padre Baseball Player wants part-time employment to supplement income. College education, willing to work, prefer PR-type employment. Need hours tailored to baseball schedule, but would quit baseball for right opportunity.

And, well, maybe Gottlieb was serious. After all, Smith's demands that team owner Ray Kroc increase his $65,000 salary to $150,000 have fallen on deaf ears, leaving the free-spending Smith in a financial bind. And, sure enough, the ad yielded an offer of a part-time job from a trading company that, according to Gottlieb, Smith was considering.

But that's not the only result of the unique ad. Word of Smith's financial plight somehow produced a published story that he was a talented cyclist who might take a leave of absence from the Padres to race in the Tour de France, a report that Smith scotched by admitting, "I don't even own a bicycle." Then there were the mocking offers he received to deliver pizzas, mow lawns for a New York millionaire and dance nude, not to mention some patronizing comments attributed to Kroc's wife Joan that Smith could always work as a $3.50-an-hour assistant to Luis, her gardener. But the deftest putdown was the retaliatory ad placed by a San Diegan named Ron James:

Padre baseball fan wants part-time employment to supplement future ticket costs, 25 years fan education, willing to work but prefer fun PR-type job. Need hours tailored to home baseball schedule, would be willing to quit watching baseball for job as baseball agent.

WIRED FOR SOUND

In hope of injecting some much-needed life into golf telecasts, PGA Tour officials have been allowing the networks, as an experiment, to rig selected players and caddies with microphones. The innovation has enlivened things all right. At the Heritage Classic Tom Kite, not realizing the mike he was wearing was switched on, touched off a furor by remarking that John Schroeder ought to be fined and suspended for slow play. And at the Tournament of Champions, Tom Watson was overheard counseling a struggling Lee Trevino to try altering his stance. A viewer phoned and pointed out that preferring such advice to another player is illegal, whereupon Watson was penalized two strokes. Watson still won the tournament by three strokes.

The question remains whether this is the kind of liveliness golf really needs. NBC evidently thinks so, having pointedly hired Kite and Schroeder, the principals in the slow-play incident, as commentators on last weekend's Legends of Golf tournament near Austin, Texas. But might not electronic eavesdropping in sports be going too far? Television commentators, with some adroit interviewing, might have coaxed Kite into commenting openly on Schroeder's slow play—or even, heaven forbid, have risked saying something controversial themselves. As for penalizing Watson for giving advice to Trevino, another player, Dave Stockton, notes that this smacks of selective punishment. "We pros give advice all the time," Stockton says. "If the rule were enforced, I'd have been penalized 30 times this year already." Tour officials will decide sometime after this week's Houston Open whether to make the miking of players permanent, but there appears to be growing sentiment among the players that the idea be dropped. As one touring pro told SI's Jane Bachman last week, "This kind of controversy may be good for the networks, but it's not necessarily good for the players or the sport."

PLAY BALL

It was a highly emotional moment when Catcher Darrell Porter rejoined his teammates Friday night in the Kansas City Royals' clubhouse. The Royals had just beaten Baltimore 7-0 and as Porter, who had been inactive since quietly leaving the club's spring-training camp on March 15, delivered a prepared statement to sportswriters, other K.C. players gathered in the hushed room to listen.

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