If the public were polled on which manager will be fired first this year, Lou Piniella most likely would be the winner, but Marty Noble of Newsday, handicapping the field, rates Tony LaRussa of the Chicago White Sox as No. 1.
Noble: "Change seems to appeal to vice president Ken Harrelson. If the Sox start slowly, LaRussa may not appeal to him. LaRussa has been seen brushing up on his law books again, and Doug Rader has been hired as third base coach, against LaRussa's wishes."
Among others in Noble's Top 10 are the following:
--John McNamara, Red Sox. "Why is this man repeatedly hired? What has he done to warrant the jobs he has had?"
--Gene Mauch, Angels. "Some call him The Genius. Some call him The Myth. His team is going nowhere, but he may be. Joe Torre is watching from the booth."
--Jackie Moore, A's. "With Andujar and Kingman on his roster, Moore may ask out before he's asked out."
If you've been wondering what's wrong with the Golden State Warriors, this is from the Nov. 24 edition of USA Today: "Pardon Golden State Warriors Coach John Bach if he is a bit giddy. He has good reason.
"He finally has a good team--and he knows it."
Bach is then quoted as saying, "I have to be careful not to overcoach now."
Trivia Time: What do Nate Archibald, Ernie Bonham and C.E. (Claude) Thornhill have in common? (Answer below.)
Wrote Tony Kornheiser of the Washington Post after Billy Olson bombed out against Sergei Bubka in the pole vault at New York: "After mentioning his sinuses, his sore buttock, his nosebleeds, his dry and cracked skin, the pressure behind his eyes, the lousy heating in his hotel room and the hamstring he pulled on his last attempt at 18-4 1/2, Olson said he was not making any excuses."
Add Vault: Former record-holder Joe Dial says his conversations with Bubka always get around to the same subject.
"He wants to know about millionaires," Dial said. "I guess he thinks everyone in America is a millionaire. He asked me if I was a millionaire. I said, not hardly. He was sure Dwight Stones was a millionaire. I said, no; Carl Lewis, yes."
Trivia Answer: All had the same nickname, Tiny. Bonham pitched for the New York Yankees in the 1940s. Thornhill coached the Stanford Vow Boys in football in the 1930s. Archibald got the nickname because he was small; the other two, just the opposite.
Mickey Duff, manager of middleweight contender John Mugabi, on the fighter's spending sprees: "He has a black belt in shopping."