SAILOR MEN IN BATTLE FAIR
The singing began shortly after the 12-car passenger train
rolled slowly out of Newark last Saturday afternoon. The
Army-Navy Express had originated that morning at 0715 in
Washington, D.C., teeming with top brass from both services and
bound for Giants Stadium and the 98th annual Army-Navy game. But
after the midshipmen's 39-7 triumph, their first victory since
1991, the train heading back to Washington had the feel of a
cruiser heading for R and R in Hawaii.
For nearly two hours Secretary of the Navy John Dalton stood
beaming by the electric keyboard in the front car along with
some of his highest ranking officers and their families, belting
out Navy standards like Anchors Aweigh, Navy Blue and Gold, The
Goat Is Old and Gnarly and that renowned sea chantey
Margaritaville. On his side of the train, Secretary of the Army
Togo West was reduced to a plaintive rendition of Second Hand
"We won the game," Dalton said, "and we're going to win the
party tonight, too." Dalton also won himself a cadet bathrobe,
the prize in the customary silly bet that's made among top brass.
While the official purpose of the Express is to get many of
Washington's highest ranking officers to the game, its
unofficial purpose is to serve as a moving bar. The train is
divided between the two services with the secretaries of the
Army and Navy at opposite ends; there's little mingling between
branches. On Saturday soldiers and sailors outfitted in tasteful
civvies served food and drink; musicians from each branch's band
were stationed throughout the train; and bunting and balloons
adorned the overhead luggage racks. The entire package--train,
meals and game ticket--cost $228. Even the bigwigs ponied up.
No one seems exactly sure when the Express started running,
though it dates back at least to the 1930s. This year's
rail-riding revelers knew the rituals well enough to apply the
word tradition to just about everything that happened on it,
from the predeparture Bloody Marys to the presentation of the
Secretary's Trophy at the end of the day.
At 1730 West made the long, long trek, passing through enemy
territory, to award the trophy to Dalton. "If we had to lose the
Army-Navy game," West said, "we'd just as soon lose it to you."
KEEP 'EM COMIN'
After Fresno State guard Chris Herren left the Bulldogs on Nov.
25 because of substance abuse, Bill McEwen, a columnist for The
Fresno Bee, criticized the school's commercial relationships
with beer companies. A few days later Coors and Fresno State
administrators decided to remove from the court an inflatable
tunnel shaped like a can of Coors's Silver Bullet beer, through
which the Bulldogs made their pregame entry. Ah, but in the
The first game after Herren's departure was sponsored by Miller
beer. And Fresno coach Jerry Tarkanian continues to do paid ads
By the end of next season--or maybe sooner--the Cleveland
Indians' John Hart will have either stamped himself (once again)
as baseball's most inventive general manager or dug a hole for
himself the size of Jacobs Field. On Monday afternoon, in a $30
million spendathon, he brought back one former Indian who was
nearly invisible during last year's postseason and added one
faded superstar who, it could be said, should have disappeared
years ago. Welcome back to Cleveland, Kenny Lofton, your leadoff
spot is waiting. And welcome, Dwight Gooden, we're not sure what
The blockbuster moves certainly put baseball back in the news.
Just before last season's opener, Hart traded centerfielder
Lofton, who had sparked a baseball renaissance in Cleveland, and
pitcher Alan Embree to the Atlanta Braves. Hart dealt Lofton, he
said, because he was afraid the basestealing defensive
specialist would sign with another team after the 1997 season,
and he wanted to be sure he got something in return. He did:
Outfielder Marquis Grissom (.262, 12 home runs) and designated
hitter/outfielder David Justice (.329, 33 HR, 101 RBIs) helped
Cleveland reach the World Series. Now Hart has gotten the
30-year-old Lofton back for three years at $8 million per.
Expensive but not outlandish by today's standards. (Somebody
give Willie Mays a cold compress.)
But does Hart get back the same player? Two seasons ago Lofton
was considered the game's premier leadoff man. While he hit .333
last year, he missed 39 games with leg injuries and stole only
27 bases in 47 attempts. In the postseason, when he hit .175, he
looked like the Lost Leadoff Man.
Gooden has seemed lost as well. Hart signed him to a two-year
deal worth $5.675 million, a mind-boggling sum for an
inconsistent 33-year-old who was banned for the '95 season for
substance abuse. Gooden may have some magic in him, as he did
when he threw a no-hitter at Yankee Stadium in May 1996. But
it's just as probable that he's washed up.
Hart may have made his shrewdest move in giving up Grissom and
righty Jeff Juden to the Milwaukee Brewers for righthanded
starter Ben McDonald and relievers Ron Villone and Doug Fetters,
who was then dealt to Oakland for pitcher Steve Karsay. In nine
seasons the 6'7" McDonald has yet to be more than the poor,
poor, poor man's Randy Johnson. But he has the potential to win
20. Don't bet against it happening on a team with Hart.
As a point guard at Grinnell (Iowa) High, Jeff Clement needed to
travel only a few miles to observe the bizarro basketball being
played at Grinnell College. Whereas his high school team played
hard-nosed man-to-man and worked patiently for the open shot,
the Division III Pioneers favored a style best expressed by the
title of coach David Arseneault's instructional video: Running
to Extremes. They pressed nonstop, aimed to squeeze off a
three-pointer every 12 seconds and expended so much energy
gambling and gunning that Arseneault turned his lineup over
minute by minute, like a hockey coach. In 1994-95, Clement's
senior year in high school, Grinnell set an NCAA record by
averaging 115.4 points a game. "It was electrifying to watch,"
Clement says, "but it crossed my mind that I wouldn't be able to
play that way." Nevertheless, he signed on with Arseneault and
And he hasn't stopped. Last season, as a sophomore, the 5'10"
guard, who averaged 13.5 points a game as a high school senior,
poured in 22.3 a game and set an all-divisions mark with 16
threes against Monmouth (Ill.) College. That record stood until
Dec. 3, when Clement cashed in 17 treys (on 38 tries) while
scoring 58 points in a 137-108 home win over Clarke College of
Dubuque, Iowa. (He took one two-pointer and missed it.) At
week's end he was averaging 32.0 points a game. "Jeff just gets
the ball, sees the basket and shoots," Arseneault says of
Clement, a gifted athlete who fires up baskets righthanded and
plays a lefthanded centerfield for the Pioneers in the spring.
"It's pretty cold-blooded."
When Arseneault arrived at Grinnell in 1989, he installed his
hyper system to keep kids from dropping off the Pioneers because
they never played. He now goes 20 deep--on overnight away games
in the Midwest Conference, of which there are two, he's limited
to 15--and seldom does anyone play more than 20 minutes. Against
Clarke, Clement was on the floor for all of 24 and twice asked
not to go back in because he was too winded. "Toward the end of
the game my knees were shaking," Clement says. "And then I just
felt, Wow, this is great."
DEBARTOLO STEPS DOWN
Eddie DeBartolo resigned as head of the San Francisco 49ers on
Dec. 2 after it was revealed that he had become a secondary
target in a federal investigation of former Louisiana governor
Edwin Edwards. The wide-ranging probe--undercover FBI agents
even served as the crew on a plane that Edwards chartered for a
return trip from Colorado this year--seized at least $450,000
from the offices and safe deposit box of Edwards and his son,
Stephen. Of that sum, $400,000 had allegedly been sent by
DeBartolo last April, in cash, to retain Edwards's services as a
consultant on a proposed $194 million riverboat casino to be
based in Bossier City, La.
As of Monday it was unclear what charges, if any, could be
brought against DeBartolo. Edwards's lawyer, Mike Fawer, says
the $400,000 payment was made to his client, but he would not
specify when it was made or what it was for. Edwards held no
public office at the time the money was allegedly paid, so
DeBartolo cannot be charged with bribery. "DeBartolo never asked
me or intimated or suggested that I do anything improper, out of
line or unethical," Edwards told the Baton Rouge Advocate. On
Monday, DeBartolo's lawyer, Jack Martzell, declined comment to
SI on the alleged payment.
Vowing he would return as soon as possible to the team he has
owned for 21 years, DeBartolo, 51, said last week, "They don't
have anything on me. I'm innocent." Why, then, did he leave the
helm of the 49ers before he was even indicted? The likely answer
lies in his desire to protect Candlestick Mills, the DeBartolo
Corp.'s $525 million stadium and mall project in San Francisco.
Debate before the June 3 referendum on the complex was stormy,
and the vote was close--it passed by just 1,500 votes--and there
have been allegations of election improprieties against the
city. By stepping down DeBartolo hopes to separate his legal
troubles from the squabbling over the project. The 49ers and
Candlestick Mills are now under the control of DeBartolo's
younger sister, Denise DeBartolo York, a 50% owner of the Niners
who last week became their chairwoman, and 49ers president
As DeBartolo's involvement with the Niners has diminished in
recent years, Policy has filled in capably and has even been
mentioned as a potential NFL commissioner. Rumors that DeBartolo
wasn't getting along with Policy, and that he would have phased
Policy out if the stadium vote had failed, were denied by both
men. At a press conference last week Policy already looked every
bit the man in charge. Noted one 49er, "It's amazing how unable
he was to contain his enthusiasm."
DAN QUAYLE LIVES
While presenting Pat Summitt, coach of the five-time NCAA
champion Lady Volunteers basketball team, with a civic award
last week, Knoxville mayor Victor Ashe noted that "in her 23
years at Tennessee, she has won three NAACP championships."
GOLF A LA CART
PGA, meet DMV. Casey Martin, who suffers from
Klippel-Trenaunay-Weber Syndrome, a congenital circulatory
condition, in his lower right leg, was granted a temporary
injunction against the PGA Tour that allowed him to ride in a
golf cart for last week's PGA tour qualifier in Haines City,
Fla. The PGA says walking is part of the game, but Martin, 25,
says he deserves a shot at his dream despite being legally
handicapped. Driving hasn't been this big a Tour issue since the
advent of the metal wood.
Martin's six-round score of 425 was not good enough to make him
one of the 38 golfers who earned a Tour card, but he plans to
compete on the Nike tour, where PGA Tour rules prevail, so the
cart debate is only now getting revved up. If Martin gets to
ride, would players with other medical conditions? If so, Tour
veteran Blaine McCallister says, "there are going to be a lot of
guys coming down with some serious back injuries."
Most purists say stamina is part of the game and cringe at the
thought of traffic jams on the Tour fairways. "I hope that the
Tour remains walking only," says Scott Verplank. (Verplank was
one of about 15 competitors, out of 168, who took advantage of
the PGA's ruling that allowed anyone to ride at the qualifier;
to allay concerns over the unfair advantage of shade and
shelter, the carts' roofs were detached.) "Nothing against
Casey, but everybody's got problems. I've got diabetes; I've had
three elbow surgeries. Nobody said it was fair."
Martin has his backers. McCallister, who played the first 36
holes at Grenelefe Resort with Martin, calls him an inspiration.
Bradley Hughes, an Australian pro, points out that the cart is
"just getting him from A to B, it's not hitting the shots for
him." Adds Dave Stockton Jr., "I understand the PGA Tour is
about walking, but Casey has a birth defect."
Still, it was Stockton who illustrated the inherent cart
dilemma. As he analyzed his third-round 66 last Friday, he
talked about how tired he was after finishing his second round
that morning and how he was looking forward to resting his
"barking dogs." Perhaps a cart would have helped Stockton.
But for Martin it's not about help, it's about necessity. "I
probably have a certain number of steps left in my leg," he
says. "It's either ride a cart or I'm done."
Price, in dollars, that three men allegedly demanded from John
Henry Williams, son of Ted Williams, for the return of two of
his dad's stolen league championship rings.
Jail time, in years, each of the men nailed by an FBI ring sting
could get if convicted of possession of stolen property.
Horses in Sunday's $60,000 Bayakoa Handicap at Hollywood Park
won by Sharp Cat, the first "walkover" at a major track in 17
Average salary, in dollars, of designated hitters in 1997, tops
among American Leaguers.
Royalties, in dollars, earned by the 19 schools whose
cheerleading uniforms are worn by University Barbie, which
debuted in August.
Iranian fans who welcomed their team home after it qualified for
World Cup competition.
Female fans among those 70,000 who defied a ban on public
mingling of sexes.
BACK UP THE VAN!
On Nov. 25 Michel Petit was signed by the Phoenix Coyotes,
giving him the distinction of being the NHL player who has
appeared in the most uniforms. He is herewith joined by the most
peripatetic athletes in the three other major professional sports.
Longest Shortest Managers/ Van
Name Teams Stay Stay Coaches Miles
Tommy Davis, 10 L.A. Dodgers Kansas 14 15,697
Outfielder, 1959-67 City Royals
1959-76 Sept.-Oct. 1976
Michel Petit, 10 Vancouver Edmonton 21 14,827
Defenseman, Canucks 1982-87 Oilers
1982-still Sept. 1996-
active Jan. 1997
Tim Kempton, 9* Phoenix Cleveland 10 11,377
Forward-Center, Suns Aug. 1992- Cavaliers
1986-still Jan. 1994 April 15-
active May 3, 1994
Tillie Voss, 10 Chicago Dayton Triangles 12 3,789
End, 1921-1929 Bears 1929
*Does not include three seasons in Italy and another in France.
Just in time for Christmas, an Indiana-based company has created
the Coach Bob Knight Bookends, retailing at $134.95 a pair. The
General is busy these days, so we decided to gather some
appropriate material for his self-bookended bookcase.
The International Ski Federation considered Nagano's 5,512-foot
downhill ski run too short for the Olympics. But
environmentalists argued that if the start were moved higher up
Mount Karamatsu, the run would encroach on a national park zone.
A compromise was reached on Dec. 1, when the starting gate was
raised 279 feet (115 feet lower than the ski federation had
The new start, which is located just below the park, adds about
15 seconds to the run, making it comparable to previous Olympic
downhill courses, where times have averaged 1 minute, 40 seconds.
With that solved, Nagano officials can concentrate on another
problem: lack of snow.
Two factors affecting the snowfall in Nagano:
1 El Nino has caused milder weather than usual this year; the
slopes at Nagano are barely dusted.
2 Nagano (at about the same latitude as Richmond, Va.) is
farther south than any previous Winter Olympics site.
Organizers are praying for snow. If their prayers fail, the army
will truck it in. What everyone wants to avoid is having to make
snow; that would upset the environmentalists again. The
machinery can disturb the feeding grounds of the Gifu, a sacred
THIS WEEK'S SIGN THAT THE APOCALYPSE IS UPON US
A Seattle-based company has issued a set of six Roy Firestone
Buffalo Sabres forward-enforcer, reacting to a recent string of
penalty-filled games that prompted renewed death threats against
him: "It's nice to be getting those again."