In Buffalo, let there be lightJim Kelly's pass completion...

Off the beat

June 09, 1991

In Buffalo, let there be light

Jim Kelly's pass completion average, already pretty good, may get even better next season.

The Erie County (N.Y.) legislature approved a $90,000 authorization to refurbish the lights at Rich Stadium, home of the Buffalo Bills. It's the first upgrade since the NFL club moved into the place in 1973.

There had been complaints about poor lightilng from the Bills, taelevision people and fans.

"We were at the L.A. game (in October) taking light readings and one of the players came over and asked when we were going to turn on the rest of the lights," recalled county Public Works Commissioner John Loffred.

Loffredo sad the networks complained the loudest, but he said fans also noticed it had become more difficult to follow the football on long passes.

He was wrong, so sue him

During the 1989-90 NHL season, Cliff Fletcher, then general manager of the Calgary Flames, said this regarding his team's trade of right wing Bret Hull to St. Louis: "When we traded him, we figured he'd score 150 goals over the next three years. We knew what we were giving up, but we have no regrets. We have a Stanley Cup."

A lot has changed since then. The Flames have lost in the first round of the playoffs each of the past two years. And Hull has scored 199 goals in the past three seasons.

Last week, Fletcher was named president and general manager of the TorontoMaple Leafs, the worst team in the NHL. Hull led St. Louis to the second-best record in the NHL this season and was named the league's MVP.

Slaney back on track

Middle-distance runner Mary Decker Slaney is back on the track...and so is her legendary feistiness.

Slaney, it will be remembered, was the teen-ager who flung a baton at a Soviet runner during an indoor meet in the Soviet Union. Given the Cold War relations at the time, the incident was considered dicey diplomacy.

Then there was Slaney's performance at the 1983 World Track and Field Championships, where she won two gold medals. In the final of the 1,500 meters, Slaney got into it with another Soviet runner as they raced side-by-side to the finish line. The Soviet woman lunged for the tape, falling face first and emerging with cuts and bruises. Slaney won. Asked at a banquet that night if she felt bad for her rival, Slaney said: "Hell no. You can bet she wouldn't have felt bad for me if I fell across the finish line."

The next year, Slaney tangled with Zola Budd in the 3,000 meters at the Los Angeles Olympics and blamed Budd for her fall. Even after replays seemed to indicate that the fall was Slaney's fault, she was unrepentant.

This season, after numerous operations to repair damage to her Achilles' tendons, Slaney, 32, finished second in the first race of her comeback and an impressive first in the Bruce Jenner meet two weeks ago.

In the 1,500, Slaney was battling for the lead with PattiSue Plumer on the final stretch when Plumer made a move to pass. Slaney threw an elbow and knocked Plumer off stride.

The quote

Los Angeles sakers center Vlade Divac of Yugoslavia, comparing crowds in the United States and Europe: "The crowds in Europe are crazier than here. They throw everything on the floor there, even chairs. Winning on the road is easier here, even

in Chicago."

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