Strike another "major league" franchise from the capital area scene. And yet another may smother before it sees the light of day.
The American Professional Slo-Pitch Softball League is out of the blocks for its second season, still with 12 teams - but the Easter Division champion, playoff runner-up Baltimore Monuments (of Bowie) have fallen the wayside, replaced by a Philadelphia entry.
"They're sitting out a season, you could say," said Bill Byrne of Columbus, Ohio, who honchoed the APSPSL into existence and was its president the inaugural year - and now is trying to do likewise for the Women's Pro Basketball League.
Previously confident a Washington-Baltimore franchise was in the making as part of a 12-team WBL to start operation next fall, Byrne after a visit here to check on prespective investors sounded much less sure - even if Joe Wheeler did get into the act delving into possibilities.
"We just don't know," Byrne said after meeting with representatives of four interested groups and telling each that besides a $50,000 membership fee they must have $250,000 in annual operating fees and "three years staying power." Several NBA owners not including Abe Pollin - have put out feelers, according to Byrne, about bringing the women's game into their spheres; he led off with Seattle's Sam Schulman. Byrne and WBL have slated an announcement in Chicago on Thursday of a half-dozen more charter members to join Des Moines and St. Louis. Wash-Balt? "We just don't know" . . .
So there will be no Boom Boom Hutcherson or Big John Copenhaver or Johnny Dollar belting 'em out for pay at Rips Stadium. While those do it on the sandlots (or elsewhere in APSPSL?), at least four women's basketballers - from Maryland's AIAW runner-up squad - will keeper sharp in high-leve summer competition: Tara Heiss and Betsy Bailey were chose from among 167 trying out in St Louis from 34 states to the 12-member U.S. national team to tour the Orient in June-July; training starts May 29 at U.S. Olympic Training Center, Squa Valley, Calif. Kris Kirchner will be off to Europe again with another U.S. team. Krystal Kimrey will do Europe with the Athletes in Action women's team . . .
Heiss, a senior, could be looking anxiously toward the pros; the underclass others have a new teammate from, small world. Columbus: 5-6 point guard Lynn Callander who averaged 19 points, seven assists in leading Walnut Ridge High to state runner-up status. Terp Coach Chris Weller checked her out at one of three Cole Field House tryout she conducted this sprint . . .
Abe Pollin, again - the Centre man announces for his hockey Capitals a European connection: Arne Stromberg, coach of the Swedish national hockey team for the past 11 years, has agreed to help coach and scout for Washington's NHL team. First fruits of General Manager MaxMcNab's Prague trip, and ought to lead to more . . .
Trouble franchises are, again, synonymous with Roy Boe. Now, the embattled owner of NHL's N.Y. Islanders and NBA's (so far) N.H. Nets has been ordered by a New York justice to pay a cable-TV frm $4,139,750 in damages. Seems he gave exclusive rights to Islanders and nets to a Long Island firm in 1975, then didn't split with them as agreed when he negotiated pacts with three other cable outfits.
The Dallas Cowboys did a double-take on the weekend when Joe Gilliam showed up at free-agent tryout camp in Texas Stadium. Gilliam said he's been living with his brother in Dallas for six weeks, declaring, "I have been drug-free for over a year. I want to play football. I know I have a contribution to make to the game." Cowboy scouting chief Gil Brandt ventured that Gilliam's chances with the 'Pokes' are slim "because we have three quarterbacks"; the onetime Steeler starting QB said if nothing NFL pans out, "I will get a job and go to work" . . . Harry McCall, fullback out of Fort Hunt H.S. '74 now out of U.T.-Chattanooga, has been signed by the Miami Dolphins for a free-agent shot, reports his high school coach, Frank Crenet. The Federals' 1976 All-Met player of the year, Matt Weathers, ran at No. 1 tailback in Illinois' spring scrimmage and scored twice, Creneti informed, and another soph-to-be, Tommy Gibbons, got plenty of cornerback work in Notre Dame's spring drills . . .
The Washington RunHers Club and a cosmetics firm are proudly trumpting "the first major women's running event in the history of Washington, D.C.!" Its the Bonne Bell 10,000 meters Sunday May 28, around East Potomac Park and Hains Point. They're looking for upward of 2,000 contestants - casual joggers as well as top competitors welcome to enter right up to the eve of the race. Contact Hanely Roughton, 4307 Birchlake Ct., Alexandria, 22309, or dial toll-free 800 - 321-9885. And warm up with a clinic 1 p.m. Saturday, May 27, at Stouffers Hotel in Arlington . . . Another amateur tennis event on deck, the fourth annual Equitable Family Challenge. The local segment of the event that starts at 256 sites begins June 1 at Skyline Racquet & Health Club, Falls Church, and the best mother-son, father-daughter, mother-daughter and father-son combos among upward of 100,000 (if entries match last year) make it through July districts and August sectionals to finals at the U.S. Open site, Flushing Meadows, N.Y., Sept. 6-9 . . .
Died: Jole Ray, top U.S. miler 1915-25, three-time Olympian, twice owned the world mile record with a best of 4:12 at age 32. A longtime Gary, Inc., steelworker, he expired in Benton Harbor, Mich, at 84.