Uniform name ban is major-league joke

Phil Jackman

August 11, 1993|By Phil Jackman

Reading Time: Two Minutes.

Talk about being ridiculous, those wowsers over at Major League Baseball Properties are sending out letters to amateur leagues informing them they no longer will be permitted to use the names of big-league teams on their uniforms. . . unless, of course, they're purchased from manufacturers licensed by MLBP.

"It's to protect the major-league clubs' rights to their valuable trademarks," says a spokesman. It sure sounds like a grab for the ol' folding green, doesn't it?

* Jimmy Connors is kidding himself big time if he thinks, "The Champions tour has the potential to do for tennis what the Senior PGA has done for golf." Over-35 types and players up into their 40s don't maintain conditioning or their games at anywhere near the level the over-50 golfers do theirs and mostly just go through the motions.

* The AC Milan team taking on Torino in the final of the Italian Super-Cup Championship at RFK Stadium Aug. 21 is probably the best soccer team, considering no less than seven of its players are the captains of their country's World Cup squads.

Italy's best player, Franco Baresi, and Dutch superstar Marco Van Basten have led Milan to the cup the last two years, but Torino looms as no patsy, coming off an Italian League title. They're expecting about 30,000 for the 2:30 p.m. match.

* Among the myriad of anniversaries being celebrated by NFL teams this season are the gloried 75th of the Green Bay Packers and the 60th of the Detroit Lions and, get this, the 10th of the bungling Indianapolis Colts and their skulking into the night.

* TBS is doing a whopping six hours of coverage of the PGA Championship from Inverness in Toledo, Ohio, each of the next two days beginning at noon. If that's not enough, the cable will then go from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday and 10:30 to 1 on Sunday prior to CBS coming on with its 10-plus hours of coverage. The putts viewed over the course of the four rounds should number in the hundreds of thousands.

* Things are obviously booming at the NFL Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. A fifth building is being added to the complex and it will be the biggest by far, adding 30,000 square feet of floor space. NFL Films is producing a cinemascope introductory film for the new edifice.

* This guy Buddy Bailey, who manages the Red Sox's Triple-A team in Pawtucket, R.I., comes off as a no-nonsense kind of guy. Boston traded Phil Plantier for San Diego's Jose Melendez after last season and it has gotten virtually nothing out of Melendez. After watching him get hammered by Ottawa the other night, Bailey said of Jose, "He just hasn't pitched well here [or words to that effect].

Sometimes when a big-league pitcher comes down for rehab, he throws to get his work in instead of pitching to help a team win. But I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he's still hurting."

* Obviously Julio Cesar Chavez believes all the talk of how beneficial it is to train at altitude. The unbeaten (87-0) super lightweight champion, in preparation for his challenge to Pernell Whitaker's welterweight crown Sept. 10, is working out in Muella, Mexico, which is at 11,300 feet. If he loses, maybe he can #F challenge Whitaker to a race up Mount Everest. The bout will be at the Alamodome in San Antonio, which is about four feet above sea level.

* For you ball fans too young to remember Tex Hughson, be assured the big right-hander who died the other day at age 77 was one whale of a chucker in big games. He never lost a 1-0 game, winning seven of them, and he and Boo Ferriss were nearly an entire staff while the Red Sox were taking the American League pennant in 1946.

"I don't think Tex ever threw a changeup; he'd just stand out there and fire away," Ferriss said of his roommate. In five full seasons and pieces of three others, Tex had a 96-54 record and an earned run average of 2.94.

* What does it say for the development system of the Washington Capitals when the club goes out in the off-season and picks up guys in their mid-30s, Dave Poulin and Keith Acton? Farm hands on the late, lamented Skipjacks used to rail about the Caps opting for European players consistently without their even being given a chance.

* Isn't it about time for another series of stories insisting the baseball is juiced up? After all, IBM just came out with the breath-taking disclosure that 34 home runs exceeding 450 feet have been smitten already this year while just 10 were struck all last season. Homeric hoists are up 30 percent for the year and all these blasts can't be blamed on the staffs of the Florida Marlins and Colorado Rockies.

Prediction: As the years go by and more and more is made of lengthy home runs, baseball will have its version of the three-point shot, affixing a value of two runs to a homer that travels more than 425 feet. This innovation will come just about the time the playoffs are boosted to 16 teams.

* The Elizabeth Arden WTA Challenge in Washington Aug. 25-28 certainly doesn't want for a field. Besides Gabriela Sabatini (5), Mary Joe Fernandez (7), Arantxa Sanchez Vicario (7), Jana Novotna (8), Pam Shriver and others in a United States vs. the Rest of the World format, the gals will be tuning up for the U.S. Open, which starts two days later.

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