Raise an eyebrow toward Minneapolis-St. Paul and see new directions for old-fangled owner Calvin Griffith.
With magnanimity born of the prospect of a taxpayer-financed domed stadium that will house his Twins as of 1982, Griffith has handed Butch Wynegar, the catching pride of York, Pa., a five-year, seven-digit contract. Doggedly, once the free agency era burgeoned, Griffith resisted digging deep enough to keep Rod Carew, Larry Hisle, the late Lyman Bostock, Bill Campbell et al from skedaddling to money-money land. Doggedly, in turn, Twin fans avoided Metropolitan Stadium, all but 770,000 -- the year's major league low -- staying away in 1980. So Griffith assembled the media yesterday and:
Watching Wynegar sign, Our Calvin declared "our commitment" to Minnesota, after "a decision (on the new policy) not easily arrived at."
Wynegar, indubitably becoming the highest-paid Twin ever, but with shortstop Roy Smalley bargaining "intensely" in the wings, beamed as Griffith pinned a button on him: "TWINS TICKETS, 854-4040". . .
Football: Larry Peccatiello, Seattle Seahawk staffer, named Redskin linebacker coach as expected. . . Kevin Rutledge, in his suit against Frank Kush, testified in Phoenix that it really cost him after he was "harassed" into leaving ASU. Rutledge said he gave up a $3,000 scholarship then, after transferring, found it took $7,500 to get through his first year at Nevada-Las Vegas and couldn't come back for a second. . .
Pregame Tuesday, General Manager John Ferguson announced in Winnipeg that to recognize the freed hostages, the Jets would wear yellow ribbons in Cap Centre. "We sometimes tend to forget that hockey, like any sport, is secondary to the large issues that surround us," he said. Lovely. But if the Jets wore ribbons, they were invisible to rink-siders at the game. . .
Memorable Ray Oyler. Dead of a heart attack at 43, in Redmond, Wash. A fielding whiz, he short-stopped the Detroit Tigers to the 1968 pennant in a year when he hit .135 in 211 times at bat. Peak, .207; career, .175, maybe an all-time low for anyone who lasted long enough for 1,265 at bats. A low point: '68 World Series, Mickey Stanley brought in from the outfield to play short. A high: outset of the Seattle Pilots' one AL season, 1969: after seven games Oyler was batting .350.He became a local celebrity, ended the year at .165, but settled in the Seattle area. At the end, he worked for Boeing.