Mighty fine that the Bullets begin accepting mail orders today for the NBA All-Star Game to be played Feb. 3 in Capital Centre -- but come on, pro basketball headquaters, you're rushing things by simultaneously starting the fan voting for the teams.
How in the name of LaRue Martin can anybody appraise any player as an all-star on the basis of, what, 10 games out of 82? Oh well, presumably you perspicacious fans will wait 'n' see who are the true bloomers come January, then vote. As for those tickets, though, haste might be in order. Seats go for $17.50, $14 and $10, orders filled first-come first-served.
That's NBA All-Star Game, c/o Washington Bullets, Capital Centre, Landover, Md. 20786; check or money order must accompany order -- and must include $2 per order for postage and handling . . .
If ABC Television were of a vindictive nature, it might be a cold day in Costa Rica before Louisiana State gets back on a national football telecast. That's "day," as in 11:50 a.m. (Central time) when the network wanted to show LSU versus No. 1 Alabama; not "night," as in what Tiger Athletic Director Paul Dietzel refused to switch from -- heresy of heresies -- on Nov. 10.
Jim Spence, ABC Sports senior v.p., says Dietzel's declaration this week that he wasn't changing the scheduled 7:30 CST kickoff time and video could take it or leave it (it's leaving it), constitutes a reneging from an earlier promise of accommodation. Never, says Dietzel; they must be talking about last week's Florida State-LSU game that was changed from night to day for television.
Dietzel notes that (1) LSU had to refund $60,000 to ticketholders for the Florida State game who couldn't make the day hour, and only got $42,000 as its split of the NCAA revenue (after divvying with the rest of the Southeastern Conference) and a change for Alabama could cost $150,000 in refunds; (2) team, players and rooters want the night game; (3) "We switched Alabama games in 1973 and 1977 from a night to day and we lost both games."
Baseball swap: Richie Hebner, after 11 NL years (including world champion status with Pittsburgh 1971), goes to Detroit; for their RBI leader, N.Y. Mets get Phil Mankowski, a third baseman yet to hit near Hebner's lifetime .276, and journeyman outfielder Jerry Morales . . .
Norm Bulaich, his jaw broken in three places and surgically pieced back together, says he is returning to the NFL retirement into which he had submerged before surfacing in a Miami Dolphin hour of desperation a few weeks ago. Big Boo withheld comment on what he might do in light of the Supreme Court allowing a player to be sued for foul play on the field of combat. But Coach Don Shula said he planned to call league HQ today and blow the whistle on Green Bay safety Steve Luke. Shula accuses Luke of delivering a forearm smash Sunday (there was no penalty call) after Bulaich had fumbled; the big Fullback agreed, "It was an intentional blow to my head. The ball was gone" . . .
And, what timing, George Atkinson is back in the league; the 10-year Oakland Raider defensive back has been picked up by Denver . . . Current Raider linebacker Ted Hendricks is under NFL investigation following reports he has ties to organized crime. Hendricks vows he is clean, and told league security as much, despite reports that a couple of underworld figures are involved with the Kendall, Fla., country club owned by Hendricks. Name of the club? Crooked Creek.