The biggest fraud working sports for television is Jimmy the Greek, a common gossip monger. CBS-TV peddles him as an "insider," knowing full well his attraction is his reputation as a big-time gambler. Pandering of the worst kind . . . When Johnny Bench is named to the All-Star team after hitting only .230 and spending a month in bed with a bad back, maybe baseball will take the vote away from fans. The players know best . . . "Twas remarkable how the Alexandria Dukes let Mickey Mantle Jr. slip quietly into the night after they so loudly trumpeted his arrival. Can't sell tickets to a good-bye.
Pat Fischer is an extraordinary man. Proof came not in the little guy's survival against the NFL behemoths, but in his utter domination of them. How did he accomplish it? There is a clue in the following dialogue.
Trying to play with a bad back, Fischer was beaten on a pass pattern by a St. Louis receiver early last season. No pass was thrown in Fischer's direction, so no harm was done. But a substitute came onto the field, and Fischer had played for the Redskins for the last time.
Reporter, after the game: "Pat, how are you feeling?"
Fischer, still in uniform, sitting at his locker, silent in a room full of celebration: "What?"
Reporter: "Your back bothering you? I saw you take yourself out of the game."
Fischer, angrily: "You saw me do what?
Reporter: "I thought your back must be hurting if you asked to come out."
Fischer, biting off the words. "I did not take myself out. They sent a man in."
The reporter walked away, a wiser man. Pat Fischer may be beaten, but he does not quit. In retirement now, the little guy deserves our thanks for the example.
The NCAA's punishment of Kansas State is an example of all that's wrong with the college's governing body. Kansas State was forced to forfeit 19 football games because a player accepted discounts at a clothing store. The suspicion is, Kansas State was guilty of other violations and so the forfeitures were ordered - but since when does suspicion replace proof? . . . The last thing a rational parent should do is send his son to a summer football camp that advertises contact drills . . . Now that the National Hockey League has ordered its referees to stop calling penalties so closely, we soon may see a true-blue death on the ice. Wow-eeee. These hockey people are looney.
Has the NBA fined Elvin Hayes for his caustic criticism of referee Earl Storm during the championship series?
Hayes was angry after Seattle beat the Bullets at Capital Centre in game three. He said the SuperSonics probably cheered when they found out Strom would work the game because, Hayes said, everybody knows Strom favors the road team. You've heard of "homers," Strom was a "roader," according to Hayes.
Hayes' outburst came shortly after NBA Commissioner Larry O'Brien had been quoted saying he would not put up with players' public criticism of the zebras.
Incidentally, the Hayes-Strom affair prompted a statistical study by Harvey Pollack, the 76ers' publicity man. Pollack went over 902 regular-season games and 51 playoff games.
With Strom working, the visiting team won 43 percent of its games. Pollack said that was the highest percentage of any referee in the NBA.
Does that support Hayes' complaint? Or does it mean Earl Strom is the best of them all, for he least is swayed by the hometown crazies?
Speaking of fines, the United States Auto Club should tap the purse of Janet Guthrie. If she wants to risk her life, swell. But driving with a broken wrist compounds that risk, further endangering her competitors, too. The Indianapolis 500 is no place to tease fate . . . Prediction: The NBA will make the three-point shot part of regular-season play and will also pick up the red-white-and-blue basketball . . . The best part of "The Kid," Pete Axthelm's book on Steve Cauthen, is the story of the jockey's father, Tex, who took all the hard knocks in 20 years of trying to make a living with horses. Somehow, the father's life became the kid's experience, saving him two decades of pain.
At a victory party, Kevin Grevey was kidding when he said to Dick Motta, "Now, don't draft any white guards." The Bullets were serious when they drafted Roger Phegley, a white guard . . . Wes Unseld will keep on playing. Relatively free of injuries, Unseld had one of his best years at age 32. He'll look at that tall pile of money and say he feels like 22 . . . Muhammad Ali says we shouldn't misinterpret his kind remarks during his recent visit to Moscow. He loves the U.S. best. In Moscow, he said, "I can get no big juicy cheeseburger. And I missed having ice." Take that, Solzhenitsyn.
No one questioned the split decision for Larry Holmes over Ken Norton in their heavyweight fight two weeks ago. It was close and a decision either way would have been satisfactory.
But it seemed inevitable Holmes would win any close fight. That's because it was a Don King promotion, and King, once Holmes' manager, is still seen as Holmes' benefactor.
So you have the fight promoter on Holmes' side. You have a fight promoter who wines and dines the Nevada boxing commission, which appoints the judges. You begin to wonder.
Then, at ringside, you see a man wildly cheering for Holmes.
The man is the commission physician, whose duties may call for him to decide if Norton, say, is unable to continue. And he's cheering for Holmes.
Then, when the bell rings ending the fight, the promoter King immediately says to a friend, "Larry won."
Sure enough, five minutes later the decision goes to Holmes.
No arguments here. Just wondering.