Good soldiers, allCuba's Defense Minister General Raul...

Off the beat

August 11, 1991

Good soldiers, all

Cuba's Defense Minister General Raul Castro, elated at how Cuban athletes are sweeping up gold medals at the Pan-American Games, has compared them to the communist island's armed forces.

"They come from behind, stand tall when the going gets tough and win all of their battles," the 60-year-old brother of president Fidel Castro told reporters Thursday night after watching Cuba's baseball team thrash Puerto Rico, 16-2, in a qualifying game.

Cuba's athletes had won 65 gold medals on the seventh day of competition in the August 2-18 games Friday, ahead of the U.S. with 44 and Canada with six.

The Cubans success has put them in a position to possibly replace for the first time arch-rivals the United States as the Games' leading gold medal winners.

Mr. Softy

The late Paul Brown was a tough taskmaster, but he had a soft side. You might have had to hang in there, but he had one.

"He laid you bare naked in front of the whole world," said former Cleveland quarterback Frank Ryan of Brown's film sessions. ". . . He'd stop the projector and put the lights on and look right through you, telling you how badly you had screwed something up. Everyone hated those sessions. . . .

"One of the most wonderful days of my life happened a few years after I stopped playing. I was in Washington then, and he was bringing the [Cincinnati] Bengals in to play the Redskins. I called him to try to meet him at the hotel.

"I got him on the phone and said, 'This is Frank Ryan.' He said, 'You mean my Frank Ryan?' That meant so much to me. It touches me to this day."

Final edict

Neither Bengal Coach Sam Wyche nor his players paid a condolence call or attended Brown's funeral services. "That was one of the last things he said," Wyche said. "In no way is training camp to be disrupted when he died. We'll honor that request."

A familiar look

Alex Karras is coming out with a comic novel featuring some characters that may seem familiar to fans of ABC's "Monday Night Football."

Karras, a former Monday Night color commentator, writes in "Tuesday Night Football" of two men who many say could easily pass for Howard Cosell and Frank Gifford.

Haywood Grueller is "a pompous, verbose, toupeed announcer who can't deliver a simple, declarative sentence, although he can talk non-stop for 100 words or so," Karras writes.

And Lance Allgood, football's chief play-by-play announcer, is a "former jock and all-American boy who just can't say no to the endless parade of . . . women that follows him from city to city."

The quote

Eric Davis, after teammate Rob Dibble of the Cincinnati Reds was let off with a fine for throwing a ball at the Chicago Cubs' Doug Dascenzo: "Sometimes it's good not to punish people for every wrong thing they do."

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