"An intrusion into the biggest day of the Browns' year," Art Modell complained. The Indians initiated a $1.25 million lawsuit against their Cleveland Stadium landlord, Stadium Corp., owned by Browns' principal owner Modell, and "the announcement came at almost precisely the same time that we made our (first draft) choice. If it's a ploy concerning their wish for a new lease, it won't work." President Gabe Paul of the Indians, whose lease expires Dec. 31, says his team has not gotten its rightful share of concessions revenue and has not been able to examine the books to prove it . . .

Tal Smith's "no comment" on Houston Astros owner John McMullen's disparaging remarks ("despicable human being") about former general manager Smith has escalated into word from Smith's lawyer that "sometime this week" he'll sue, "The days are over that McMullen has a field day shooting off his mouth about Tal Smith" . . .

Oscar Gamble would sue, if he could, for freedom from the Yankees; please, George Steinbrenner, he begs, trade me! Unable to negotiate extension of his six-year contract and given no official at bats in two weeks, the sometimes-slugger says, "I'm in my option year . . . I need to play and put some numbers on the board." He sees New York punishing him for refusing a trade back to Texas last year for Al Oliver--who, dealt to Montreal instead, won a batting title while Steinbrenner burned . . .

Toronto Manager Bobby Cox lost his father to cancer Jan. 1, a brother-in-law (heart attack) two weeks ago and now his mother, 62, to cancer. Cox planned to direct the Blue Jays last night and tonight in Texas, attend funeral Thursday in Selma, Calif.