THE BOWIE-MARVIN SHOW
It is possible, even probable, that one or both sides in baseball's labor dispute broke faith in making public the details of their disagreement. It is arguable that one side is absolutely in the wrong and the other just as much in the right, and an impartial study of all the facts might prove this to be so. Nonetheless, both sides should understand something else: the petty dispute about manners and the major dispute about the contract are not entertaining. Bowie Kuhn and Marvin Miller may think of themselves as leading characters in a fascinating human drama, but they are wrong. They are discussing business and, however vital business is, it is dull to a fan seeking fun and entertainment.
It would be so much more sensible if the gentlemen would knock it off and stay in their secluded conference room until things are settled, quietly and quickly. Two months from now, when spring training gets under way, the followers of their once-preeminent sport will want to read about such pleasant trifles as promising rookies and optimistic hopes for a pennant, not about protracted negotiations, generous concessions and broken promises.
Merry Christmas, fellows. And a merry spring, too.
WHERE THERE'S SMOKE
Chief Justice Warren Burger handed down an out-of-court decision last week that has cigar and pipe smokers clamoring for an appeal. The Chief Justice wrote a vigorous letter of protest to Secretary of Transportation John Volpe about the cigar and pipe smoke he encountered during a train trip he made between Washington and New York on the Metroliner. Volpe hopped to, and before you could cry "Oyez, Oyez," the smoking of cigars and pipes in Metroliner club cars was banned. But not cigarettes, which raises all sorts of Constitutional and sporting questions. There are more cigarette smokers than cigar and pipe smokers, true, but is it fair that the majority be allowed to spread its smoke while the minority is summarily squelched? You might argue that cigarette smoke is less offensive than cigar and pipe smoke. Not to cigar and pipe smokers, it isn't. The ban is patently a discriminatory one.
Moreover, it strikes a blow at certain smoking traditions in sport. Take, for only one instance, the Boston Celtics' Red Auerbach. Auerbach is famous for his cigars. They are his trademark. Now, when he travels on the Metroliner with his Celtics, must he be banished to a distant men's room while cigarette smokers who never won nine NBA championships in 10 seasons blow rings around Chief Justices?
AS SHE IS SPOKE
During the American League pennant playoff last fall Gonzalo Marquez of the Oakland Athletics produced a game-winning hit. Because Marquez is from Venezuela and his command of English uncertain, the bilingual Bert Campaneris was pressed into service as interpreter.
"Campy, ask him how many pitches he fouled off before he got his hit," a reporter said.