During the 32-day spring training lockout that ended on March 19, no one gave much thought to how the cancellation of spring games would affect major league umpires. Each ump in fact lost roughly $100 per day in salary. And because the lockout dragged on long enough to force baseball to revise its 1990 schedule, umpires now face the prospect of a grueling summer. The regular season will start a week late, extend three days longer into October and include numerous makeup games to be played on what were to be off days.
The umpires tried to persuade baseball officials to compensate them for the lost pay and to take steps to ease their workload, but to no avail. Thus the Major League Umpires Association announced last week that as a protest, its members would not work any spring training games, though they will work the entire regular season. When the first preseason games were played on Monday—25 days late—minor league umps were behind the plate.
"They've shown a total lack of respect for umpires," said National League ump Bruce Froemming of baseball's owners. "They just finished discussions with the players about millions of dollars, but they can't discuss a $35 issue with us." Froemming was referring to a dispute over certain per diem payments to umps.
April 1, 1990
Veteran American League umpires Dave Phillips, Jim Evans and Jim McKean say that another key point of contention is the availability of the eight roving umpires, who fill in each year, starting in mid-May, when regular umps are allowed to begin taking vacation days. Because the lockout added so many makeup games, the umpires want the rovers to be allowed to fill in for them more often, and as early as April. Without increased help from the rovers, the umps say, some crews may have to work 80 or more consecutive days this season.
The umps' demands don't seem unreasonable. It would be foolish for baseball to wear down its umpires and thereby risk hurting the quality of their work. And the owners can easily afford to reimburse the 60 major league umps for the total $100,000 or so in pay they lost during the lockout. As Froemming puts it, "Heck, that's a cocktail party for the signing of a million-dollar player."
THE 17% SOLUTION
The most fought-over issue during the baseball lockout was eligibility for salary arbitration. Players wanted eligibility after two years; the owners wanted to keep the three-year cutoff. In a compromise, the new basic agreement provides that 17% of players with between two and three years' major league service (about 15 a year) will be eligible for arbitration. These lucky 17-percenters will be the two-to three-year players with the most service, provided they spent at least 86 days on a big league roster the previous season.
The benefits of arbitration can be dramatic (graph). After last season, players who had just over three years' service and filed for arbitration landed much larger raises than those who fell just short of three years and thus were ineligible for arbitration. Pittsburgh Pirate pitcher John Smiley, for example, who qualified for arbitration by 35 days, won his case and boosted his salary from $230,000 to $840,000. St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Joe Magrane, who had a better season than Smiley but fell eight days short of qualifying for arbitration, received an increase from $185,000 to $300,000.
It's impossible to say for sure who will be in the first group of 17-percenters come the end of this season, but based on current service, the top candidates include Chicago Cub first baseman Mark Grace, Cleveland Indians shortstop Felix Fermin and Kansas City Royals catcher Mike Macfarlane. This group should be pleased to learn that the 162 big leaguers who filed for arbitration after last season got raises averaging $430,000, or 102%.
Says Macfarlane, whose salary is $105,000, "If in fact I do go to arbitration next year, I'll buy [Players Association executive director] Donald Fehr a present."
THE WORLD IS HERS
SI's Robert Sullivan reports on Lynn Jennings's victory in the women's division of the world cross-country championships, which were held in Aix-les-Bains, France.
To a distance runner, it's a scary but wonderful feeling to be suddenly alone, away from the pack. Joan Benoit knew that feeling when she ran off with the 1984 Olympic Marathon. Fellow New Englander Lynn Jennings knew the feeling last Saturday.
"I had every intention of keeping contact with the pack," said Jennings after covering the six-kilometer (3.72-mile) course in 19:21, 12 seconds faster than runner-up Albertina Dias of Portugal. "But I ran hard, and today my hard was hard." With the crowd cheering, "Plus vite, Lynn!" Jennings pulled away from the 138-woman field in the first 1,000 meters. She was never challenged thereafter.
In the past five months, Jennings, a 29-year-old Princeton graduate, has begun fulfilling the potential she showed while setting national age-group records as a teen. She has won her fourth U.S. women's cross-country title and set a world women's indoor record for 5,000 meters (15:22.64), an American women's indoor mark for 3,000 meters (8:40.45) and a U.S. road-racing record for 10 kilometers (31:06).
Jennings fell into a funk after finishing sixth in the 10,000 meters in the 1988 Olympics but has rejuvenated her love for running by taking a more relaxed approach. When she's not fixing up the 200-year-old house she owns in Newmarket, N.H., or training on the twisty local roads, Jennings can often be found chopping firewood or snow-shoeing through the countryside. Her neighbors appreciate her down-home style; articles about her are taped above the cash register at Marelli's Fruit and Real Estate in Newmarket.
Jennings's thoughts last week were with her grandfather. Al Jennings, who died the day she left for France. Her coach, John Babington, a Wellesley, Mass., lawyer, finally had to tell Jennings to focus on the race. "I asked her to make the race her obsession," he says. "Obviously, she did." Jennings wore a black patch on her jersey in her grandfather's memory.
"I wanted this with every fiber of my body," she said afterward. "No American had won the World Cross [Country] since Craig Virgin in '81, and no [U.S.] woman since Julie Brown in '75. It's the toughest race to win because you get great athletes from all different distances. There are lots of races in the world, but this is the one I wanted most."
The death of Loyola Marymount basketball star Hank Gathers last month raised many questions, but none more important than this: What should an ordinary person do if he sees someone—say, a teammate in a pickup basketball game—go into cardiac arrest?
Dr. Carl Bartecchi, a clinical professor at the University of Colorado and an authority on cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), recommends immediately asking the victim to cough. Vigorous coughing can restore the heart's regular rhythm and help provide blood to critical organs. If the victim is already unconscious, says Bartecchi, give him a sharp thump on the chest; this also can restore the heart's normal rhythm. In all cases, trained emergency help should be summoned as quickly as possible.
"Every year 400,000 people die of sudden cardiac arrest," says Bartecchi. "A significant number of these people could be saved if people knew these simple methods. They're an option for people who aren't trained in CPR."
•Add another chapter to the larger-than-life saga of Hoosier schoolboy basketball star Damon Bailey (SI, Nov. 19, 1986 et seq.). Indiana coach Bob Knight made Bailey an instant legend four years ago when he said that the then eighth-grader was better than any guard on Knight's team. Last Saturday, in the state final in Indianapolis, the 6'3" Bailey single-handedly out-scored previously unbeaten, No. 1-ranked Concord High 11-2 in the final 2½ minutes to lead Bedford North Lawrence High to a come-from-behind 63-60 victory. Bailey finished his career with a state-record 3,134 points. The crowd of 41,046 in the Hoosier Dome included Ray Crowe, who coached Oscar Robertson at Indianapolis's Crispus Attucks High more than 30 years ago. Said Crowe of Bailey, who will attend Indiana next fall, "He's the only one I've ever mentioned [in the same breath] with Oscar."
•The Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., remains under fire for the manner in which it selects inductees. Former NBA commissioner Larry O'Brien and Indiana coach Bob Knight have asked not to be considered for induction because they object to the secretive and politicized voting by the Hall's 24 anonymous electors (SCORECARD, Jan. 29). Last week the Worcester (Mass.) Telegram & Gazette reported that the real reason former great Bob Cousy resigned as the Hall's president on Feb. 26—he cited personal reasons—was that he disapproved of the handling of this year's voting. The paper reported that after no players received enough votes for induction, the Hall's executive board, in an unorthodox move, had the 24 electors vote again on a smaller group of nominees. This time three players, Elvin Hayes, Earl Monroe and Dave Bing, got enough votes. Fortunately, all of them deserve enshrinement, but why doesn't the Hall do itself a favor from now on and bring its electoral process, including the names of its voters, out into the open?
•Charlie Finley, who struck out 20 years ago when he tried to sell the major leagues on using orange baseballs, has scored with his newest idea, a fluorescent-yellow-striped football (SCORECARD, Oct. 23). The Finley ball has been approved by the National Federation of State High School Associations rules committee for use in any U.S. high school game. Finley's next goal: getting colleges and the NFL to use his easy-to-see ball.
STEINBRENNER AND SPIRA
Baseball commissioner Fay Vincent said last week that he's looking into the relationship between New York Yankee owner George Steinbrenner and a self-described gambler named Howard Spira. Spira, who's 31 and unemployed, was indicted by a grand jury in Tampa on March 23 for allegedly threatening to injure Steinbrenner and Yankee outfielder Dave Winfield and attempting to extort money from Steinbrenner.
Steinbrenner has admitted giving Spira $40,000 in January, explaining at first that the payment was a gift "out of the goodness of my heart" and later that he had paid Spira to prevent him from revealing embarrassing information about Yankee employees.
Spira says that Steinbrenner paid him in exchange for damaging information about Winfield, with whom Steinbrenner has long feuded. Spira contends that Steinbrenner "framed" him on the extortion charges and that the Yankee boss still owes him $150,000 and a $50,000-a-year job at Steinbrenner's Tampa-based shipbuilding company as part of the deal. Though Winfield denies it, Spira says he once worked for the charity that Winfield founded, the David M. Winfield Foundation, and thus had inside information on both Winfield and the foundation. Steinbrenner, who under his contract with Winfield has to contribute $300,000 to the foundation annually, has often raised questions about the way it is run.
Spira, who has a reputation as a publicity hound, has in recent weeks approached various news organizations trying to peddle what he characterized as damaging information about Steinbrenner. His motives are subject to question, as is the accuracy of his information. Nevertheless, if Steinbrenner paid for information to use against one of his players, he should be disciplined by the commissioner for conduct detrimental to baseball. Moreover, his admission that he paid Spira hush money raises the question of just what it was he wanted hushed. Given all this—and the fact that Spira is a self-proclaimed gambler—Vincent's investigation should be swift and thorough.
SO LONG, DOC
Last week's NCAA men's swimming championships in Indianapolis were the final meet for legendary Indiana coach Dr. James (Doc) Counsilman, 69. "I don't have the energy it takes," he said last Thursday as he sat by the pool. "I have arthritis in both my ankles. The kids should have someone more energetic walking up and down the deck yelling at them."
Counsilman, who has been slowed by Parkinson's disease as well as arthritis, watched his Hoosiers finish 17th in the NCAAs, one of their poorer showings in his 33 years of coaching the team. But he retires with an exceptional list of achievements. As a swimmer in the 1940s, he won two national AAU butterfly titles and captained Ohio State to two NCAA championships. He coached two magnificent U.S. Olympic teams ('64 and '76) and guided Indiana to six straight NCAA titles ('68 through '73) and 23 Big Ten crowns. In all, Counsilman coached 48 Olympians, including Sullivan Award winners Mark Spitz and John Kinsella.
But his greatest contributions to swimming were scientific. Counsilman, who holds a doctorate in human performance, disproved the long-held notion that a swimmer should pull his arms straight back through the water for greatest propulsion. By applying Bernoulli's principle of fluid mechanics, he determined that the optimal stroke is in fact a "sculling motion, same as a propeller." That conclusion revolutionized the way people swim. Counsilman's 1968 book, The Science of Swimming, has been translated into more than 20 languages; it is a bible of the sport.
In 1979, Counsilman became, at 58, the oldest person to swim the English Channel. "I practiced a year, swimming in a local lake," he says. "To get used to cold water, I would go into the bathtub with ice cubes." Counsilman found inspiration in the oddest places: He got an idea for pool overflow gutters after seeing how ridges at the bottom of Japanese urinals affected the flow of water. His other inventions included the first practical pace clocks.
Counsilman plans to continue his swimming research and to update The Science of Swimming. "I have an enlarged curiosity," he says. "I think it will keep me busy."
THE ARBITRATION EDGE
Avg. '89 salary: $163,000
Avg. '90 salary: $280,000
The 10 players who came closest to the three-year cutoff for arbitration got much less than...
JUST MADE IT
Avg. '89 salary: $192,000
Avg. '90 salary: $531,000
...the 10 three-year players with the least service who went through arbitration
THEY SAID IT
•Pete Incaviglia, Texas Rangers outfielder, arguing that baseball players aren't overpaid: "People think we make $3 million and $4 million a year. They don't realize that most of us only make $500,000."
•Jerry Glanville, Atlanta Falcon coach, on his recent bout with pneumonia: "I thought maybe I was going to become a general manager, because I kept wanting to take a nap."