Denver oilman Marvia Davis was reported enroute to New York last night and an 11th-hour solution of baseball's Bay Area problem, for 1978, could be at hand - "unbearable" 10-year Oakland lease or no.
Something seemed to be stirring earlier when the president of the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, Robert T. Nahas, said, "This may be the week of final decision" - that meetings among Oakland, San Francisco and baseball officials were intensifying. The baseball brass, Nahas said, "are all very anxious to work out anything that will leave only one team in the Bay Area . . . All kind of alternatives have been discussed."
One was moving some Giant games across the bay, but San Francisco Mayor George Meseone was saying no. That, and Davis' withdrawal in frustration last week of his $12.5 million offer to buy the A's from Charies I. Finley, seemed to mean Finley would be forced to stay - and lose money - another year. Then Commissioner Bowie Kuhn and National League President Chub Feeney met Tuesday with Nahas, and Davis reportedly was going to see American League President Lee MacPhail in New York.
All this with the pronouncement of San Diego owner Ray Kroc ringing in Kuhn's ear: "I told some of the owners recently that unless we buy up Kuhn's contract, we're doomed." Kroc was irate over the veto of Finley's sale of Vida Blue to Cincinnati, the McDonald's man barking, "I wish somebody would explain to me the difference in paying $1.75 million to the Oakland A's or to Joe Lipschitz, agent . . . (Kuhn's ruling) is plain crazy' . . .
The jury in Bubba Smith's $2.5 million damage suit against the NFL and game officials Ed Marion (head linesman) and Bob Lastra (sideline-marker attendant) failed to reach a verdict and the judge in Tampa has declared famed phantom fumble (non) call in the recent Denver-Oakland playoff, the six-member panel had benefit of a slow-motion film rerun - and still couldn't agree whether anyone could be blamed for Smith, until then an All-Pro class defensive end, smashing into a downs marker during a 1972 exhibition and suffering a knee injury that he contends wrecked his football career. NFL lawyer Daniel Burton argued that the officials never had a chance to move the marker out of the way because Smith made contact with Pittsburgh's Franco Harris, fell over him and hit the pole; and that Smith's career was not destroyed.
Bob Feller, the Hall of Fame pitcher for the Cleveland Indians now director of sales-sports for Hilton hostels, says it's all a misunderstanding, the charge that he flew a plan last week without the owner's consent. Feller was arrested Monday. Dr. Richard Artemus' small craft had been taken from Cuyhoga County Airport, near Cleveland; the old fireballer said he rented it to fly to Pennsylvania, got stranded in Harrisburg by the severe weather and couldn't return on time - "no way to fly back, the airports were closed." Free on $5,000 bond, he gets to tell it to the judge Feb 13 . . .
Jim Simons was about to putt, before a gallery of several hundred watching his group yesterday in the pro-am prelude to the Hawaiian Open that begins today, when -
Another guy made a heck of an approach to the 18th green at Anialae Golf and Country Club.
A guy in an airplane.
Course marshal Wilfred Goodman said the pilot, David Morais, circled the course in a Cessna 150, approached the 18th from the east and came to a stop on the lip of a sand trap 50 yards from where he touched down. The nervous flier told police he was returning from a fish-spotting expedition in the rented plane when there were vibrations, sounds of explosions and the smell of hot oil.
Breach of entiquette excused. Competition was halted only briefly while the plane was pushed off the fairway . . .