Pete Rose and Billy Martin. Billy Martin and Pete Rose. Last week it seemed that the world of sport was besieged by the ebullient Rose and the protean Martin, the only sounds being the relentless crack of Pete's bat, Billy's anguished voice faltering in his tearful farewell, the crack of Pete's bat, the roar from the Yankee Stadium crowd rejoicing at Billy's triumphant return, the crack of Pete's bat, the crack of Pete's bat, the crack.... Had everyone else taken the week off?
In a sense, yes. There were no major golf tournaments (Rod Funseth winning at Hartford instead of faltering in the final round proved that), no big tennis matches (let's hear it for Harold Solomon, who won the Louisville International), no super horse races, no championship fights and only one—are you ready, America?—exhibition football game.
So what were the big names up to? As is shown on this and the following pages, each in his own way was getting his act together for big events that lie ahead—even if it meant lying down on the job.
This is a training camp? Sure is, says Muhammad Ali, who approaches his Sept. 15 title rematch with Leon Spinks in what he calls a "relaxed" style. The divan at his Pennsylvania cabin is for naps, the boots are for running and the phone will warn him of Angelo Dundee's arrival—when he'll have to get to work.
All shined up with places to go, Affirmed paused for a portrait before trailering away to this week's Jim Dandy at Saratoga—one of possibly two prep races before he meets Alydar in the Travers. And one might interpret that look as one of confidence: Affirmed worked five furlongs in 59[1/5] and seemed sound as ever.
He checked in with his new team at 207 pounds, his playing weight, but O. J. Simpson conceded he wasn't in playing shape as the San Francisco 49er camp opened. Although he hauled in some Jim Plunkett passes, plans are to start him slowly in exhibitions. Meanwhile, "It isn't Mr. Simpson," he told awed rookies, "it's O.J."
Wimbledon rackets packed, Bjorn Borg sped away to a Baltic hideaway. After resting—"absolutely no tennis for two weeks"—he will attack the U.S. Open later this month and then go for the grand slam in Australia. His Swedish fans feel it's a cinch. "Just have them send the cups home to him," reported a Stockholm newspaper.
Resting up for this week's PGA Championship—"My game right now is in good shape"—Jack Nicklaus and sons struck a few Hathaway shirt ad poses, looking smooth (fore) and showing why (aft). As for his PGA prospects; "You've been working all year," he said, "and if you don't have it now, you're not going to get it."
For Henry Rono, the best way to prepare for the Commonwealth Games was by winning the 10,000 and the steeplechase in Algiers. He emerged in "bubbling form" for the steeplechase and the 5,000 in Canada, plus the 10,000—he holds world records in all three—if Kenya's appeal for a schedule change is upheld.