Martinez is welcome relief--at Towson St.

The Inside Stuff

March 21, 1991|By Bill Tanton

Mike Flanagan and Jim Palmer aren't the only former Orioles pitchers to resurface on the baseball scene this spring.

Tippy Martinez, a reliever with the O's from 1976-1986, is a volunteer coach with the Towson State baseball team.

There's a special reason for Martinez's involvement. His son, Jacen, is the Tigers' second baseman. Over his first nine games, Jacen, who transferred to Towson this year from a junior college in Arizona, was hitting .278.

Tippy, at 40, is only a year older than Flanagan, but Martinez has no plans to leave the coaching staff of fourth-year Towson skipper Mike Gottlieb to try a big-league comeback.

Tippy, Jacen, Gottlieb and the rest of the Tigers are wrapping up their annual spring trip through the South. They'll be back home Saturday to play a noon doubleheader against East Coast Conference rival Central Connecticut.

Flanagan, incidentally, played it smart, spending most of the '89 season quietly rehabilitating his arm after Toronto released him. Most people thought he was finished.

Flanagan showed everybody. In 12 innings with the Orioles this spring, he has allowed no earned runs. Only six American League pitchers thus far have worked three times without allowing an earned run. Flanagan is one of them.

Although Mike came to camp as a non-roster invitee, it looks as if he'll come back to Baltimore as a regular member of the club for which he has won 139 games.

Things couldn't have worked out better. Flanagan and his family still live here.

* The boxing fiasco in Las Vegas this week, which ended with a wild melee in the ring and referee Richard Steele thrown to the canvas, kicked and accused of being in promoter Don King's pocket, is not so unusual for this sport.

"Boxing has been like this forever," says Al Flora, an ex-fighter and former promoter who's now a member of the Maryland State Athletic Commission.

"Back in the old days, when we had real 'champeens,' " says Flora, "the fighters' managers were controlled by Madison Square Garden.

"The only thing that's different now is the money. A fight like Tyson-Ruddock takes in $100 million. When it gets to that point, the game needs to be federally controlled, just like the stock market is controlled.

"All title fights should be regulated by the government," Flora says. "What we need is for somebody like a U.S. Senator with some guts to step in and take charge."

Flora admits it's "a bad scene" when a referee (Steele) is a pit boss at the Golden Nugget, which like the Mirage is owned by Steve Wynn. The Tyson-Ruddock fight was held at the Mirage.

Another unbelievable aspect of the fights this week is that fat and old looking Roberto Duran, who had to quit with an injury against Pat Lawlor, is asking for a rematch. He'll probably get it, too.

Duran should have stuck to his word when he said no mas against Sugar Ray Leonard 11 years ago.

* The local squash community -- all three dozen members of it -- is still buzzing over the senior championship won by our own A.C. Hubbard and Jim Zug in the Baltimore Invitational doubles tournament here last weekend over some of the best teams in the country. Senior players are age 40 and up, and the winners are seldom very far up. Hubbard and Zug are in their 50s.

* Terry Truax impressed more people with the basketball coaching job he did this year at Towson State, after graduating four starters including Kurk Lee, now of the New Jersey Nets, than he did a year ago in taking the Tigers to their first NCAA tourney.

Even so, Truax is much less than a sure thing to get the job at Old Dominion, where he's inquiring. Word is circulating that intermediaries have called ODU on behalf of two better known coaches who would be interested, both of them major surprises. One is Terry Holland. The other is Lefty Driesell.

* With the featured college lacrosse game of the weekend being played 350 miles from here (Johns Hopkins at Syracuse, 7:30 p.m. in the Carrier Dome), some stick fans -- and many who are drawn to indoor lacrosse for the same reason people pay $39.95 to see Tyson-Ruddock -- will visit the Arena to watch the Baltimore Thunder against the Philadelphia Wings.

In a recent article on indoor lacrosse in the Wall Street Journal, writer Frederick Klein was fascinated to learn that first-year players in the Major Indoor Lacrosse League earn only $125 a game. Wrote Klein: "Roger Clemens loses more than that behind his sofa cushions."

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