National League president A. Bartlett Giamatti may have gone overboard in his punishment of Reds manager Pete Rose—a 30-day suspension and a $10,000 fine for pushing umpire Dave Pallone twice on April 30—but American League president Bobby Brown went underboard last week when he fined Yankee manager Billy Martin a mere $300 for kicking dirt on plate umpire Tim Welke in a game in Texas on May 6.
Brown defended the seemingly light punishment by pointing to Martin's exemplary on-field behavior of late. Giamatti, on the other hand, did not take into consideration Rose's otherwise amicable relationship with umpires. Granted, the leagues are governed by two different men, but they should have more consistent policies in dealing with such incidents. After all, they were able to get together to enforce the balk rule.
Martin didn't touch Welke, nor did he incite a near riot; nonetheless, his kicking dirt was an act meant to humiliate the man in blue. Respect for authority is the principle the National League president was trying to uphold when he handed down his judgment. And if Brown needed a precedent, he could have looked back to April 1983, when then-American League president Lee MacPhail suspended Martin for three days for kicking dirt on umpire Drew Coble.
Tired of the same old sports? Looking for a new and exciting form of recreation? Well, Randy Youngman, a sports columnist for The Orange County (Calif.) Register, has discovered turkey bowling, Right now turkey bowling, or "Butterballing," is a favorite pastime of night clerks in Orange County grocery stores. But who knows? Maybe day people will be bowling with gobblers soon.
D.J., a grocery clerk in Newport Beach, told Youngman: "We usually play at 3 a.m. on everyone's lunch [hour]. We set up 10 [full] two-liter soft-drink bottles—the plastic ones—and space them just like bowling pins. Then we measure off about 45 steps in an aisle. And then you grab a frozen Butterball turkey and roll it down the aisle to see how many bottles you can knock down. You keep score the same way you do at a bowling alley."
Why a Butterball turkey? Because the Butterball is wrapped in plastic, and around the plastic is a mesh net with a handle that makes the turkey easy to grip. The birds don't so much roll down the aisles as they do slide. According to D.J., "You have your fast aisles and your slow aisles."
As with real bowling balls, no turkey should exceed 16 pounds. What's a good score? "I can shoot about a 160 on a good night," said D.J., "and the highest score I've ever seen is a 185. One guy at another store supposedly shot a 245. I'll tell you what, if he bowled a 245 with a turkey, he's in the wrong business."
D.J. said there's no reason that news of Butterballing should hurt turkey sales. "If anything, we tenderize 'em. I bet we get compliments from the customers. You know, "My, you have tender turkeys. How do you tenderize 'em?' 'Oh, we let the night crew bowl with them.' "
D.J. has big dreams: "Wouldn't it make a great TV sport? We could get Chris Schenkel and Nelson Burton Jr. as the commentators. We could have two divisions. Adults could bowl turkeys, and kids could bowl Cornish hens. What do you think?"
Actually, we think it's pretty disgusting. But we wonder. If you get three strikes in a row, is it still called a turkey?
ICING ON THE DOUGHNUT
You'll recall the incident: NHL referee Don Koharski accused New Jersey Devils coach Jim Schoenfeld of pushing him to the floor, and Schoenfeld replied. "You're crazy—you fell, you fat pig. Have another doughnut!" Well, vibrations are still being felt.
On Friday a full-page advertisement for Dunkin' Donuts appeared in The Boston Globe with this teaser: COACH SCHOENFELD ISN'T THE ONLY ONE WHO WANTS REFEREE KOHARSKI TO HAVE ANOTHER DONUT. On the ad was a coupon for six free doughnuts with the purchase of one dozen.
HIS RACE BUT NOT HIS RACE
Rapid Lad had been such a popular and successful thoroughbred that three years ago track stewards at Beverley Racecourse in the north of England decided to name a race after him, even though he was still running. In 1987 Rapid Lad finished first the first time he ran in the Rapid Lad Handicap, but he was placed second for interfering with another horse. This year, as a 10-year-old, he finished third in his race but was placed last for interference.
Depressed that American athletes are taking a beating in the world arena? Well, you'll be happy to hear that a U.S. team led by 1985 unofficial world champion Chet Snouffer of Delaware, Ohio, finished first at the recent Bicentennial World Boomerang Throwing Cup in Barooga, Australia, edging the second-place Aussies 125-112.
SAY IT AIN'T SO, O
Oscar Robertson, now 49, plays basketball every Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday afternoon at Cincinnati's Central Parkway YMCA. Since January, the teams the Big O has played on are a combined 5-63.
The Athletics Congress, the U.S. governing body for track and field, recently informed Al Franken, promoter of the Pepsi Invitational in Los Angeles on June 5, that it would be conducting drug tests at his meet. Franken dutifully informed the participants. So many athletes have since pulled out of the shot put and discus that Franken canceled those events.
A MERRY WOMAN?
There is a golfer on the LPGA tour named Robin Hood.
INTRODUCING THE REAL MIKE TYSON
He stands 6'1", weighs 215 and bills himself as "The real Mike Tyson." And he is Mike Tyson—Iowa Mike, that is, a mediocre heavyweight from Davenport who wants a crack at his namesake, the world champion. "I'm trying to get someone to give me the chance to meet and beat Mike Tyson," says this Mike Tyson.
Unlike Iron Mike Tyson, who's 21 years old and so wealthy that two weeks ago he tried to give his $183,000 Bentley away to two police officers in New York City after he scratched the car, Iowa Mike is 29, has a 3-6 career record and has to bum rides from his trainer, Alvino Pe‚Äö√†√∂¬¨¬±a. Tyson took up boxing only six years ago. "I was working at a factory in Davenport that makes wheel rims for tractors," he says. "Then everyone got laid off, and I had to make some money some kind of way."
Last Saturday night, Tyson fought Kemil Odom in Gary, Ind., and lost on a TKO in the fourth round. Says Pe‚Äö√†√∂¬¨¬±a, "He's hard to train. I don't know if he forgets what he's supposed to do, or what. But he's rough. If he would learn how to box, he could do something. He's got a lot of guts." And he'll need 'em if he ever gets that fight with the other Mike Tyson.
THEY SAID IT
•Dave Bliss, New Mexico's new coach, on taking the job after Indiana's Bobby Knight turned it down: "My wife [Claudia] said, 'That shouldn't disappoint you. You weren't my first choice, either.' "
•Michael Jordan, Chicago Bulls star, asked if he would be interested in playing golf with Detroit Pistons center Bill Laimbeer, whose handicap is one: "I'll play him as long as he doesn't foul me going to the hole."