He wasn't the villain, protests BC's Abrams

March 24, 1994|By Phil Jackman

Reading Time: Two Minutes.

You have to love the reaction of Danya Abrams, the Boston College player who made a chopping motion worthy of Chuck Norris that rendered Derrick Phelps of North Carolina senseless and with a concussion Sunday at USAir Arena: "It kind of hurts me for people to think I'm the bad guy because of this. I went over to help him up and see if he was OK."

Yeah, that makes it all better, kid.

* With his latest stunt of switching sides in a proposed move of a minor-league team from Albany, N.Y., to Norwich, Conn., George Steinbrenner retains his title as the biggest phony in baseball. Connecticut is building a $6.5 million stadium for the Yankees' farm team and this was fine with old George and the Eastern League until New York Gov. Mario Cuomo put the heat on Steinbrenner. "It's not in the best interests of baseball," George is arguing.

* That Oklahoma City ballclub that just captured its third NAIA basketball title in four years is the same school that was a perennial at the "Big Dance" in the mid-1960s under one of the funniest coaches who ever drew up an inbounds play, Abe Lemons. The Chiefs made the regionals twice.

* No sooner are you a dozen words into the latest news release from the Washington Bullets than you're subjected to what a dynamite job the woebegone 19-47 ballclub is doing selling tickets. While averaging 15,091 fans per game, the team has posted 17 sellouts, the USAir Arena being filled to 80 percent of capacity. Thing is, once you buy a ticket, they make sure you show up sooner or later with an exchange program that never quits. The team might even come and pick you up at the house if you insist.

While on the subject of Wes Unseld's men, who host the Boston Celtics tonight (7:35), the team is tied for the NBA lead in blowout losses with the Dallas Mavericks with 32. Washington closed a huge gap with an 0-5 western swing which saw them lose by an average of almost 27 points.

* The fights will be lively (if not competitive) on the ESPN-Top Rank card Sunday (9 p.m.) with China-chinned Tommy Morrison (39-2) taking on Bryan Scott (13-0) and Todd Foster (31-2) going against Mark Hammon (28-10). Foster, recall, was the Olympian who just missed.

* In case you were wondering, never in the 10-year history of the 64-team NCAA tournament has a No. 16 seed won a game while just two of 40 No. 15 seeds have prevailed. Of course, they've always gone against the iron (No. 1s and No. 2s), which poses the suggestion: Why not block seed the top 16 with all other teams tossed into a blind draw.

* Ooops! You just missed a home run-hitting contest conducted at RFK Stadium in Washington today in conjunction with the Cellular One Baseball Classic April 2 between the Detroit Tigers and Milwaukee Brewers. The top four "sluggers" able to clear a 23-foot "Blue Monster" standing 265 feet from home plate will be back to take on Cecil Fielder and Greg Vaughn when the big leagers come to town.

* PGA Senior tourist Don January says, "It's always good to see Arnold Palmer in an event. It means I'm not the oldest one in the field." There's a two-month difference in the age of the sexagenarians.

* "The Politics of Glory," a book detailing the machinations and politics of players making it into baseball's Hall of Fame, figures to be must reading for fans this summer. "No event during baseball's year is so certain to be cheered and booed, analyzed and argued about, than the annual vote by the baseball writers," states the author, and he's right. OK, now that Phil Rizzuto is in, what about Nellie Fox?

* Caesars Palace in Las Vegas will be celebrating its 100th championship fight April 22 when Evander Holyfield puts his 67 percent heavyweight title on the line against Michael Moorer on pay per view. The first one pitted Roberto Duran against Esteban De Jesus on Jan. 21, 1978. Good grief, isn't Duran still fighting?

Holyfield's purse will make him the first fighter ever to amass $100 million in the ring. Not bad for a "blown-up light-heavy" who didn't even win a gold medal in the Olympics.

* Television ratings for the NCAA tourney, resuming with regional semifinal action the next two evenings, are down and CBS is looking for a panacea. Unfortunately, that means the network will be pushing Purdue star Glenn Robinson as though he won an Oscar the other night while viewers simply want to see the best and most competitive games after regional considerations are fulfilled. And, oh yeah, those meaty segments provided by the sideline reporters are a must, too.

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