Home run production is higher than ever, so Richard Justice of the Washington Post asked around the major leagues if the ball is juiced up. Some answers:
--Detroit outfielder Pat Sheridan, after hitting the Tiger Stadium light tower in batting practice: "I think the balls are made by Titleist now."
--Kansas City Manager Billy Gardner, bouncing a ball on the ground: "See that? If there were a carrot near it, the ball would eat it."
--Milwaukee pitching coach Chuck Hartenstein: "We won't have to buy balls this year. We just put 'em in the ball bag, and let 'em multiply."
In the war of words between Orlando and Miami, which were bidding for NBA franchises, Orlando General Manager Pat Williams came up with these zingers:
--"When I approached the checkout counter of a Miami store, the clerk said, 'Cash, check or stickup?' "
--"The crime wave in Miami is down this month. They're running out of victims."
Trivia Time: Who were the New York Yankee pitchers that traded wives in 1972? (Answer below.)
Houston's Phil Garner, on his days with the Pittsburgh Pirates when the club had nine different uniform combinations: "We never knew what we were going to look like. One day, we'd look like bumblebees. The next day, you couldn't see us. Then we'd look like a bunch of taxicabs running around the field."
Sadaharu Oh surpassed the records of Babe Ruth and Henry Aaron by hitting 868 home runs, and now another Japanese player is on the threshold of surpassing what some thought was the most unassailable record of all--Lou Gehrig's 2,130 consecutive games.
According to the New York Times, Sachio Kinugasa of the Hiroshima Carp is due to play his 2,131st game June 7. He started the streak in 1970.
Kinugasa, 40, son of a black father and Japanese mother, is a slick-fielding third baseman with a lifetime average of .271. He's hit 491 home runs, which means he'll surpass another Gehrig mark. Gehrig hit 493 before illness forced him out of the game at 35.
The Denver Post said the word was that none of Joe Barry Carroll's Golden State teammates talked to him after Game 5 against the Lakers, "grumbling that he had quit on the team."
Speculating that Coach-General Manager George Karl will try to trade Carroll in the off-season, the paper said: "As evidence, consider this scene: After Game 3, a Warrior loss at Oakland, Karl, after everyone was gone from the locker room, walked to Carroll's locker, tore the door off the locker stall and walked out. The door was replaced before the team's next practice session."
Michael Andretti made his golfing debut last week on the Speedway Golf Course at Indianapolis. He shot a 70--for the front nine.
"That's it," he said, heading for the clubhouse. "That's probably my first and last game of golf."
Trivia Answer: Fritz Peterson and Mike Kekich. Peterson, still married to the former Mrs. Kekich, is selling real estate in Jupiter, Fla. Kekich, divorced in less than a year, married again and is vice president of a medical supplies firm in Albuquerque, N.M.
Wayman Tisdale of the Indiana Pacers, on Steve Alford's chances of playing in the NBA: "I think he's a very good player and if he can go through four years with Bobby Knight, hey, I love the guy."