A COMFORTING MESSAGE
During his confirmation hearing last week before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Donald Hodel, the current Energy Secretary who has been asked by President Reagan to succeed William Clark as Secretary of the Interior, was subjected to a revealing line of inquiry. Although each senator phrased it in his own way, the question that all of them, liberals and conservatives alike, in essence kept asking was "You're not Jim Watt, are you?" And Hodel kept replying, in effect, "No sir, I'm not Jim Watt."
By allaying fears that he was the second coming of former Interior Secretary James Watt, Hodel, who had been Watt's undersecretary at Interior and a Watt loyalist before taking over the Energy Department in 1982, ensured that he would be easily confirmed, probably early this week, as the boss at Interior. Whether Hodel's deeds in his new job will match his words remains to be seen, but here's his comforting message to the senators: He supports the Endangered Species Act (which had been on Watt's legislative hit list); he favors, budget permitting, acquiring more parkland (Watt thought this sort of thing was socialistic); he has no elaborate plans for "privatizing" federal lands (a favorite Watt project)—in part because there isn't much of a market for them. In general, he spoke favorably of preserving natural resources. He also said he hopes to bring together Interior's often quarrelsome constituencies, the preservationists and the developers. Environmental consensus was anathema to Watt.
The thrust of Hodel's confirmation hearing was that nobody on either side of the political fence wants to see Interior go through the sort of trauma it did when Watt was running things. Watt was uncompromisingly partisan, and his chief legacy has been to underscore the desirability of a nonpartisan approach to environmental issues.
YOU DON'T SAY
Philadelphia Phillie pitcher Steve Carlton has started a sports management company that offers pro athletes help in contract negotiations, career planning, marketing and public relations. And how does SNC (for Steve Norman Carlton) Enterprises Inc. of Clearwater, Fla. presume to instruct clients in public relations when the boss is famous for not speaking to the press? Naturally, Carlton won't comment, but his associates at SNC Enterprises, whose customers so far include Phillie pitcher John Denny and golfer Craig Stadler, hasten to explain that Carlton doesn't necessarily expect others to subscribe to his mum's-the-word policy.
"Each athlete's program is tailored to the individual," says managing director Carl Fuhrmann. "If he wants to talk to the press, he can. It's strictly up to the individual." Ray Schulte, a New York marketing man who is handling that aspect of SNC Enterprises' business, says, "Steve, for personal reasons, decided to eliminate talking to the press. But he realizes it's his own decision. He would never advise another ballplayer not to talk. To be frank, a lot of athletes need the press."
Following an all-too-familiar pattern, International Olympic Committee members are being wined, dined and lavished with freebies by cities hoping to host the 1992 Winter Games. For example, organizers in one of the aspiring cities, Falun, Sweden, have offered to take IOC members on an expenses-paid trip to Falun after their scheduled session next June in East Berlin. At a recent gathering of national Olympic committees in Mexico City, SI's Anita Verschoth was standing with Wolfgang Gitter, secretary general of East Germany's Olympic Committee, when Wolf Lyberg, a Falun representative, told Gitter, "We'll have a special charter plane at your airport to take IOC members to Falun. I cleared it with [IOC president Juan Antonio] Samaranch. It's O.K. Anybody who wants to can come."
Verschoth later asked Lyberg about the trip. "Oh, no," he said. "Please don't write about it."
"I was there when you discussed it with Gitter."
"Oh, I remember now. Just an SAS plane."
Lyberg had every reason to be embarrassed. To avoid the appearance of impropriety—and to help make certain that the worthiest cities get chosen as hosts—isn't it time that the IOC adopt rules prohibiting its members from being on the take? The IOC could start by insisting on paying its members' way on inspection trips instead of letting would-be host cities pick up the tabs.
TOWARD THE CENTURY MARK
Sometime this month, most likely on the 17th, at an outdoor meet in his native Auckland, New Zealand, 33-year-old John Walker, a former world-record holder in the mile and the 1976 Olympic 1,500-meter champion, will run the 100th sub-four-minute mile of his career. "It's like Beamon jumping 29 feet or Hillary climbing Everest. No one has ever done it," says a slightly overexcited Walker, anticipating the milestone.
No one thought to add up the number of sub-fours until two years ago, when it dawned on track people that both Walker and U.S. mile record-holder Steve Scott were closing in on 100. "After all these years, I thought I'd had several hundred of them," says Walker, who first broke 4:00 in 1973 and in '75 became the first runner to crack the 3:50 barrier. By the end of last summer, Scott had 89 sub-fours and Walker 88, but Walker forged ahead this winter by running five specially arranged outdoor miles in New Zealand before joining Scott on the North American indoor circuit. "I think John is a little more interested in this than I am," says Scott, 28, who ran his first sub-four mile in 1977. "It's a big deal in New Zealand."
Indeed, Walker's quest has been front-page news in New Zealand for weeks. But don't let Scott fool you: He has been asking Walker to let him catch up so that the two can reach 99 together and then race head-to-head; assuming both men broke 4:00, the winner would be the first, by seconds or less, to have 100 such clockings. Of Scott's suggestion, Walker says, simply, "He's dreaming."
As of Sunday, the totals were 97 for Walker and 95 for Scott. Walker will now run three more staged races in New Zealand and, barring mishap, beat Scott to 100 by at least five days. "I'd like to think this shows that John and I are the Lou Gehrigs of track and field, at least in the mile," says Scott. Recalling Roger Bannister's breaking of the four-minute barrier in 1954, Walker adds, "If someone had told Bannister about this as he staggered across the line—that someone would break four minutes 100 times—I think he would have been very dismayed." For the record, Bannister ran a grand total of two sub-4:00 races.
CBS has agreed to pay the Pac-10 and Big Ten $8.5 million to telecast football games involving the two conferences' 16 members in 1985. Wait, did we say 16 members? Afraid so. Arizona, Southern Cal and Illinois are on NCAA probation and barred from appearing on the tube next season, and Wisconsin, although it has recently gone off probation, is still barred from TV under a deferred-penalty arrangement. All of which probably helps explain why CBS is paying less than the $9 million it did to cover all 20 Pac-10 and Big Ten teams in '84.
As a lad in the West Indies island of St. Kitts, Livingstone Bramble (SI, Feb. 4) liked to pit iguanas against centipedes in battles to the death. The centipedes always won, mostly because of their poisonous pincers. Bramble, now the WBA lightweight champ, is preparing for his Feb. 16 title defense in Reno against Ray (Boom Boom) Mancini, and his trainer, Ruppert Nel Brown, has concocted a poultice made of coconut oil, Ben-Gay, leaves from a "cough bush" and whole centipedes. At some point before he enters the ring against Mancini, Bramble will get a rubdown with this elixir. "The centipedes make your joints loose," Brown explains.
THE NEWS ABOUT HUEY LEWIS: HE HAD A BALL
Huey Lewis, a 6-foot, 170-pound soft-throwing veteran righthander, was in trouble. After intentionally walking Tommy Davis, he was looking at a bases-loaded, one-out situation when up to the plate stepped the always dangerous Gus Triandos. Lewis toed the rubber, reached deep down and came up with something that made Triandos pop up. Then he got Maury Wills to fly to deep center. Huey Lewis and the News were out of the inning.
This happened last Saturday in Tempe, Ariz. in a game played for the benefit of the Arizona Special Olympics and arranged by Baseball Fantasies Fulfilled, an outfit that runs baseball camps staffed by over-the-hill major-leaguers. A collection of former big-leaguers played one of the hottest groups in the country—talk about hits—in a happy marriage of baseball and rock 'n' roll.
The festivities began at home plate with the pregame wedding of George Monforte, one of the fantasy campers, and Barbara Praino, during which Huey Lewis and his group sang So In Love a cappella. In the three-inning game, the former big-leaguers beat the News, who were bolstered by a couple of San Francisco 49ers, 5-4. The losing pitcher threw no chin music. "I just didn't have my good stuff today," said Lewis, 34. At the plate he managed to fly to deep right off ex-Giant Mike McCormick, and he grounded to short off erstwhile Oriole Milt Pappas. One of the game's highlights came when Guido Colla, father of News saxophonist Johnny Colla, lined a double past the outstretched glove of Brooks Robinson.
The News have had four Top 10 singles in the past year, all off their platinum album, Sports, and they number among their biggest fans Joe Montana and Chris Evert. The San Francisco-based group sang the national anthem at last year's baseball All-Star Game in Candlestick Park. Lewis, who used to pitch at The Lawrenceville (N.J.) School, is an avid baseball fan who once wrote a song, Say It Isn't So, lamenting the retirement of Willie McCovey. His scouting report on himself: "Can't go to my right. Can't hit the curve. Can't throw the curve, for that matter."
Despite losing the game Saturday, Lewis was a happy man. "What a gas," he said, "to play against Tito Fuentes."
THEY SAID IT
•Yogi Berra, New York Yankee manager, after accepting an invitation to dine at the White House this week: "I thought they said steak dinner, but then I found it was a state dinner."
•Phil Johnson, Kansas City Kings coach, after guard Larry Drew stepped on the out-of-bounds line, nullifying a last-second shot that would have beaten the Houston Rockets: "I designed the play without realizing what big feet Larry has. I should have moved him over six inches in my diagram."