As Billy Martin was meeting with the media before Monday night's game at Texas, a writer informed him that he had made Page 1 in the New York newspapers.
"There was an $8-million rob
bery in New York," the writer said, "and you were still bigger news."
Said Martin: "I didn't get the blame, did I?"
Ray Floyd didn't mention any names, but he made certain in the Houston Open that he wouldn't wind up in a watery grave as did Curtis Strange in the Masters.
Leading Payne Stewart by two strokes coming to the last hole, Floyd intentionally overshot the green and took a bogey.
"I was taking too much club on 18 because I had a two-stroke lead," he said. "I struck with the 2-iron because the purpose was to clear the water. That was the only way I could lose. I was not going to lose the tournament. I felt if Payne makes birdie, we go to a playoff."
As it turned out, it was Stewart who went in the water.
You could excuse Pat Riley if he was unmoved by Portland's excuse that it was exhausted from its series with Dallas and the travel to Los Angeles to meet the well-rested Lakers Saturday.
Last year, after overcoming Phoenix in a tough six-game series, the Lakers traveled all day Saturday to meet well-rested Boston Sunday in the opening game of the championship series.
So what happened? Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who almost missed the game with a migraine headache, scored 32 points and the Lakers won, 115-109.
Said Boston Coach K.C. Jones afterward: "L.A. probably set up their game plan on the plane and their defense in the restroom."
Wait a Minute: If you're ranking all-time horses, trainer Charlie Whittingham says: "Affirmed would have to be among the top three or four on anybody's list."
Maybe, maybe not. In a recent poll of experts at Santa Anita, rating horses who had won stakes at the track, here were the top 10: 1. Round Table; 2. Swaps; 3. Seabiscuit; 4. John Henry; 5. Spectacular Bid; 6. Affirmed; 7. Noor; 8. Cougar II; 9. Silver Spoon; 10. Ack Ack.
Citation doesn't make the list, never having won a stakes at the track. Here is The Racing Form's list of Great Horses of the 20th Century, in alphabetical order: Affirmed, Citation, Colin, Count Fleet, Equipoise, Exterminator, Forego, Kelso, Man o' War, Nashua, Native Dancer, Secretariat, Swaps, Sysonby and Tom Fool.
Of Sunday's game between Utah and Houston, Dan Issel of Denver said: "I really didn't care which of the two teams we played against. But, as a fan, when I saw Akeem Olajuwon hit Billy Paultz with that sucker punch, I was up in my chair rooting for Utah the rest of the game."
When Denver faces Utah, Issel and Paultz will be renewing an ancient rivalry. They first met in the playoffs when Issel was playing for the Kentucky Colonels and Paultz for the New York Nets in the ABA. In the 1971-72 Eastern Division semifinals, the Nets upset the Colonels in six games. The Nets were coached by Lou Carnesecca.
Sam Bowie of the Portland Trail Blazers, on Kareem Abdul-Jabbar of the Lakers: "He's scored more points than anyone in the history of the game. If you're waiting for me to stop him in this series, you're gonna wait an awful long time."