The fighting Mets! Pitcher Craig Swan, 6-3, 215, had the temerity to exchange blows with Frank Howard, the 6-7, 300-pound Met coach, outside Shea Stadium after the team returned from St. Louis Sunday night, about an hour late. Seems Swan groused about team travel arrangements--the Yankees go charter, the Mets commercial--argued with Manager George Bamberger and soon was into it with Bamby's lieutenant, Howard. No evidence of hard punches, but Swan's shirt and tie were ripped off.

"If he wants a charter flight," concluded Bamberger, "let him charter it."

Swan last night: "I've been verbally spanked. It's all behind us."

Further credibility for Cracker Jack Old Timers Classic: Touchdown Club teaming with Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association to host celebrity lunch July 7, Sheraton Washington, bringing in several stars due in RFK July 19. Luncheon proceeds to Bob Addie Scholarship Fund in memory of our late, great colleague soon to be recognized at Cooperstown; tickets available via TD Club. Classic umpire Tom Gorman to speak; acceptances from Aaron, Spahn, B. Robby, Monte Irvin and special guest, yes, Hondo!

Stee-rike! Stan Landes, for 18 years a Gorman colleague on National League umpiring staff, is heard from: in Milwaukee. Now a county welfare office file clerk, Landes is going on a hunger strike. Landes, dismissed by the NL in 1972--he cites his umpires union organizing activity--says baseball has stiffed him out of a pension increase he should have gotten in 1980. He says he will consume only water until he receives a satisfactory response.

Landes begins his fast at an estimated 330 pounds.

New soccer coach at George Washington: Tony Vecchione, 26, George Mason U. assistant and former American U. all-star goalie, replacing Georges Edeline. After nine mostly good GW years (70-39-9), Edeline has taken a community development position with Atlanta's No. 1 soft-drink firm . . . At the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Minneapolis, 27 of them signed a resolution urging Congress pass that bill to prevent teams from abandoning cities that built their stadiums. And if D.C. wasn't among the signees--mayors of Steubenville, Ohio, and Farmers Branch, Tex., were, with Oakland, Chicago, etc.--baseball-empty RFK speaks for itself.

Ed Garvey went before National Labor Relations Board in New York and insisted NFL union needs wage and TV contract data for negotiations with owners (to resume here July 7). Hearing continues today . . .

Marvin Hagler-Thomas Hearns is definitely off: Top Rank Inc. announces a Hagler middleweight title defense against previous victim but No. 1 contender Fully Obelmejias, July 15, Italy (HBO); plus Davey Moore's first WBA junior middle defense, against ex-champ Ayub Kalule, July 17, Atlantic City (ABC); plus WBA lightweight champ Ray Mancini's initial defense, vs. ex-champ Ernesto Espana, July 24, Warren, Ohio (CBS) . . .

But watch out for retroactivity. WBA featherweight champion Eusebio Pedroza's New Jersey decision over Juan LaPorte Jan. 24 has just been reversed by State Boxing Commissioner Joe Walcott. Reviewing tapes, Walcott upheld LaPorte's protest that referee Guy Dutras should have penalized and ultimately disqualified Pedroza for flagrant fouls. So LaPorte is the winner--but probably not champion. That's up to World Boxing Association, based in Panama, Pedroza's homeland.