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2) The Portland (Ore.) Marathon on Oct. 26, in which a motorcycle policeman escorting the runners made a wrong turn and was followed by the first 25 participants, who ran an extra seven-tenths of a mile as a result. One of the errant runners, Lionel Ortega, doubled back to win the race but in a time obviously far slower—2:28:21—than he would've clocked had he stayed on course.
3) The Marine Corps Marathon on Nov. 2 in Washington, D.C., in which the entire field of 6,500 inadvertently took shortcuts at several points, with the result that everyone ran three-tenths of a mile shy of the regulation distance of 26 miles, 385 yards. One shortcut came about when a press vehicle turned off the course and the runners mistakenly followed. According to one witness, it didn't help that a Marine sentry, who had an arrow pinned on his chest indicating the direction in which the runners should go, was turned the wrong way. Michael Hurd won in an apparent course record of 2:16:55, but then it was ruled that, to make up for the shortcuts, all elapsed times had to be multiplied by 1.01163. Under this formula, Hurd's adjusted time was 2:18:31, which was 24 seconds slower than the course record.
As manager of the Boston Red Sox, Don Zimmer feuded with a number of his players, including pitchers Rick Wise, Ferguson Jenkins and Bill Lee. In 1978, after the Sox unloaded Wise to Cleveland and Jenkins to Texas, Zimmer told reporters he was grateful "we don't have anybody like Rick Wise and Fergie Jenkins, who cried all the time, got the hell beat out of them and blamed me." Zimmer's players and former players frequently replied in kind. When Lee, then still with Boston, characterized Zimmer as a "gerbil," Jenkins, safely in Texas, piped up, saying the manager reminded him of a buffalo. How so? "Because," said Fergie, "a buffalo is the dumbest animal on earth." Jenkins also lambasted Zimmer as "a short, fat man who knows nothing about baseball." Zimmer issued one-third of a denial; he said he did, too, know something about baseball.
Zimmer was fired by the Red Sox in October and last week, upon being hired to manage the Rangers, was reunited with Jenkins. That created an awkward situation, although probably no more of one than when Ronald Reagan tapped as his running mate George Bush, who had accused Reagan of practicing "voodoo economics." If Bush can pitch for Reagan, Jenkins can probably do the same for Zimmer, especially because, as the Ranger righthander bravely insisted last week, "Zimmy and I have patched it up."
JACK BE NIMBLE, JACK BE QUICK
Seattle Seahawk Coach Jack Patera doesn't cotton to media folk. He tends to dismiss their questions with clipped answers, and his approach to the traditional postgame press conference borders on outright hostility. As the Seattle Post-Intelligencer's John Owen describes the scene: "When Patera confronts some 30 newsmen after a Seahawk home game, he glowers as though facing a team of jackasses and waits with thinly disguised ill humor for the first one to bray."
Not surprisingly, writers and broadcasters appear to be intimidated by Patera, witness his press conference following a game in the Kingdome two weeks ago in which the Seahawks blew a 13-point lead and lost to Kansas City 31-30. Arriving for the interview session, Patera stared out at the assembled reporters and snarled, "Go ahead." He was greeted by stark silence and timorous expressions. "That's it," he said, exiting. One newsman clocked a tape of the four-word press conference and found that it lasted 7 seconds.