Cincinnati Reds pitcher Mario Soto pleaded innocent to a charge of simple battery, only a few hours after he allegedly punched a waiter at an Atlanta discotheque. According to police reports, Soto punched John Sarbacker, a waiter at the Limelight, twice in the face after the two exchanged words. Soto had gone to the bar with teammates following his complete-game 2-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves Tuesday night.
Soto was arrested at 12:45 a.m. Wednesday and ordered to report to Atlanta Municipal Court later Wednesday morning. There, he entered a plea of not guilty, asked for time to see his attorney and was told to come back to court June 14, when the Reds will again be in town to play the Braves.
Sarbacker said he suffered a bloody nose and a swollen lip. The arresting officer reported that Soto had been drinking but was not drunk.
The All Blacks, New Zealand's national rugby team, will tour South Africa this year, defying an appeal by the government, according to the New Zealand Rugby Football Union.
The South Africa government called the decision a victory for those who believe sports should be kept separate from politics. But a South African group opposed to the white-minority government's racial separation policies condemned the tour, calling it an immoral acceptance of the evil system of apartheid.
New Zealand's last rugby tour to South Africa, in 1976, sparked the black African boycott of the Montreal Olympics, and the reciprocal tour by South Africa's Springboks to New Zealand in 1981 was marked by some of the worst civil disorder in the country's history.
The field on which Red Grange galloped to football history will be covered with a new artificial turf and topped in winter and early spring with a plastic bubble.
Work has started on transforming Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Ill., from an aging football stadium into one of the most modern college facilities in the country. The first step was to replace the 10-year-old artificial turf, which relied on surface runoff for drainage, with the latest in artificial turf.
The most striking part of the project will be an inflatable plastic bubble that will cover the entire football field, though not the seating area, in winter and early spring so the Illini can use the stadium for bowl-game preparation and for early spring practice dates. The old brick and concrete stadium was built in 1923 and was dedicated the day before Grange raced for four touchdowns in the first 12 minutes to lead Illinois to a 39-14 win over Michigan.
Guard Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls and center Akeem Olajuwon of the Houston Rockets were unanimous choices to the NBA all-rookie team selected by the league's 23 head coaches. Others named were center Sam Bowie of the Portland Trail Blazers, forward Charles Barkley of the Philadelphia 76ers and forward-center Sam Perkins of the Dallas Mavericks.
The United States lost, 11-1, to the Soviet Union in the first round of the World Hockey Championships in Prague, Czechoslovakia. Right winger Sergei Makarov scored four goals for the Soviets.
In other games, Canada defeated East Germany, 9-1, helped by a goal from the Kings' Dave Taylor; Sweden beat West Germany, 3-2, and Czechoslovakia defeated Finland, 5-0.
Hungary became the first European nation--other than defending champion Italy--to qualify for the 1986 World Cup soccer finals in Mexico by downing Austria, 3-0, in a Group Five qualifying match in Vienna.
Switzerland established a commanding lead in Group Six by drawing, 2-2, with the Soviet Union, but a Group One game between Albania and Greece was postponed because of the death of the Albanian leader Enver Hoxha.
Uruguay earlier this month became the first South American nation to qualify for next year's tournament.
Manchester United clinched a place in the English F.A. (Football Assn.) Cup soccer final by beating league champion Liverpool, 2-1, in a replay.
Manchester will meet Liverpool's neighbor, Everton, the current English league leader, in the final at London's Wembley Stadium on May 18.
World Boxing Council heavyweight champion Pinklon Thomas will defend his title June 15 against Mike Weaver, a former World Boxing Assn. champion, in a city to be determined. The 12-round fight will be promoted by Don King in either Indianapolis, Atlanta, Cleveland, New York's Madison Square Garden, Vancouver or Montreal.
A race horse stabled at the Charles Town Races complex in West Virginia died of rabies Saturday and five people who may have come in contact with his saliva will be treated for the disease. A track spokesman said that the 2-year-old thoroughbred probably picked up the virus outside the track, and there is almost no chance it spread to other horses.
For the third time this season, the San Antonio Gunslingers did not receive their paychecks as scheduled, but General Manager Roger Gill said they were in the mail. The first time the United States Football League team was due paychecks, the checks bounced. The second time, the Gunslingers didn't have the money to cover the payroll and owner Clinton Manges had to secure a $10.5-million loan.