Joe Holman couldn't wait to turn the tables on the host of sports and media folk who heaped laurels and applause on him in person and by message at the Touchdown Club tribute yesterday to the capital's pioneer press agent and helpmeet Marie.
First thing the 77-year old wonder did when he got the mike was to single out everyone from Z (Duke Zeibert) to A (Sid Alpert) for the kind of good words that have helped him sell tickets to every kind of event conceivable.
Best thing Holman did was promise this was no retirement party. And when the TD Club, for whom he has boosted so many luncheons, presented him with a new typewriter, he volunteered, "I hope I can live up to it. I'll try like hell."
Everybody in the packed dining room had to agree with emcee Tom Hurney that "Joe has got at least 20 more good years" and root that he gets them.
Gary Matthews, Atlanta's man on the NL ALL-Stars last summer, is up for trade, and the Braves weren't whistlin' Dixie this week when they promised a big shakeup. In the wake of the bombshell optioning of Bob Horner to Richmond, the West Division cellar club has benched Matthews and replaced him in left field with Jeff Burroughs -- who had been told, preseason, he could expect to warm the bench this year.
"Gary will pinch hit and wait for a trade," Manager Bobby Cox said of the man who batted .304 with 27 homers, 90 RBI last year to mollify any lingering pain in owner Ted Turner's persona over the suspension he served in 1977 for "tampering" when he wooed Giant free agent Matthews before he was fair game.
Horner, meanwhile, wavered a bit and pondered showing up in Richmond by today's deadline to avoid suspension without pay . . .
Joe Pisarcik has been traded -- to the Philadelphia Eagles, who so gleefully scooped up his famous last-minute fumble and ran it back to beat the Giants one memorable November afternoon in 1978. Philly also remembers that rugged but injury-bugged Pisarcik threw 20 completions for 274 yards against them in last season's opener, ere losing his New York starting job to Phil Simms. For a medium-round 1981 draft choice to the Giants, they'll give him a shot at backing up Ron Jaworski. More competition for Maryland's Mark Manges in his bid for that job . . .
As Ken Beatrice, the ESPN cable-TV people and the NFL zero in on next week's draft, preliminary wheels turn: Mike Nelms, 25, ex-Baylor, 1979 leader of the Canadian league with 106 punt runbacks and of CFL East with 10 interceptions, signed by the Redskins, along with fellow free agent Vollon Dickson, a San Diego State wide receiver who flunked trials with Pittsburgh and Dallas . . . Oakland linebacker Phil Villapiano traded to Buffalo for receiver Bob Chandler in a swap of nine-year veterans . . .