The baseball holdout game just ain't what it used to be. Time was when hard-to-get stars popped tranquilizers and hung by the phone waiting for management to call back. Today's holdouts are too cool. Vida Blue, for example, has simply dropped from sight while he waits for Charles O. Finley to make up his mind on Blue's $90,000 salary demand. And Frank Howard, who wants $130,000 from the Texas Rangers, keeps himself occupied by puttering around Green Bay, where he has several supermarket and shopping center real estate ventures. Considering the prevailing temperatures in Green Bay this time of year, it's a wonder Howard doesn't settle just to get warm.

Craig Clemons knew he didn't belong in Chicago. The star Iowa defensive back, who had hoped to be picked in the first round of last month's college draft by one of the New York teams, ended up instead as the property of the Chicago Bears. Oh, well. Clemons went to Chicago as the guest of a local TV station. While there he drove the wrong way on a one-way street, crashed into another car and picked up a rather complicated traffic ticket. Buck up, Craig. In New York they tow your car away for a lot less than that.

Our nomination for Sympathizer of the Year goes to Gerald E. Seltzer for his note of condolence to Raquel Welch, who broke her wrist last week in a skating accident during rehearsals for a movie on Roller Derby. Raquel was receiving instruction from a coach, but apparently not enough. Seltzer, commissioner of the International Roller Derby League, is suing Miss Welch for $15 million for trademark infringement in connection with the film, and his letter made it clear he does not plan to let matters drop just because Miss Welch is suffering. "My personal anguish at this delay in your thespic career is inconsolable," he wrote. "But my plans...remain firm.... I have no intention to let sympathy overcome my basic greed."

Considering the history of his strained relationship with Commissioner Pete Rozelle, it would not have been surprising if once-suspended and now retired Detroit Lion Tackle Alex Karras had put a new ending on the story of Peter and the Wolf as he narrated the Prokofiev composition in a concert with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra recently. But no, Karras stuck to the script and, as usual, Peter won out.

David Dubinsky, the 80-year-old president emeritus of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, is a strong believer in physical fitness, the more so since an encounter near his Greenwich Village apartment last week. Dubinsky, who in good weather rides his bicycle up to midtown Manhattan and back, stepped out for some milk at a nearby grocery store and encountered a mugger. After a brief scuffle, during which Dubinsky landed at least one clean punch, the thief ran off with his wallet containing $90. Most of that, it turns out, was what Dubinsky described as "gin money"—not the kind you buy booze with, but winnings from a recent card game with an AFLCIO official in Miami.

Right up there with Dubinsky in his passion for physical fitness is André Courr√®ges, the Paris couturier who pioneered the pants suit and the white boots that bear his name. The designer has turned his Paris apartment into a miniature hippodrome for bicycling, tearing out all the dividing walls and installing a wooden track. Each morning he pedals from bedroom to bathroom to kitchen to library, with about a 20-yard sprint along his bookshelves. I The track is such a pride that André insists guests who call must wear slippers when they enter. Aw, c'mon, not even a pair of Courr√®ges originals?

Art and the Athlete, an exhibit of original art works by professional jocks that emphasizes the esthetic side of "the athlete's psyche," began a tour of 41 U.S. cities with a show at Madison Square Garden in New York. Among those exposing their talented psyches are New York Jets Ernie Barnes, George Nock and Mike Stromberg; Pittsburgh Steeler Larry Gagner; Ken New-field of the New Orleans Saints and Joel Horlen of the Chicago White Sox. Most of the athletes-cum-artists submitted oil paintings, but Nock came in with an impressive sculptured rhinoceros. And Jim (Ball Four) Bouton pitched in with a colorful entry of abstract watercolors.