THE IOC LOSES A RIGHTHAND MAN BUT MAY GAIN AN INSECT REPELLENT
Shortly after his 1980 election as president of the International Olympic Committee, Juan Antonio Samaranch paid a sly compliment to administrative assistant Monique Berlioux: "Madame Berlioux is my righthand man." Well, she's not any longer. Last week at the 90th session of the IOC in East Berlin, Berlioux resigned as director, having lost a protracted power struggle with Samaranch. Whereas Samaranch's immediate predecessors, Avery Brundage and Lord Killanin, had paid only infrequent visits to IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, the Spanish diplomat had relocated there after his election. He fought with Berlioux over matters large and small, and their feud became so heated that some observers even tried to make something of the fact that Samaranch favors Barcelona, his birthplace, as the site of the '92 Summer Games, while Berlioux, an Olympic swimmer for France in the 1948 Games, prefers Paris. Last week the IOC's nine-member executive board leaned on Berlioux to quit. She did, with tears in her eyes. It's expected that Samaranch will allow no other individual to enjoy the power Berlioux did and that her job will be divvied up into several less powerful positions.
Other developments in East Berlin:
•Mindful of the profits turned by the 1984 Winter Games in Sarajevo ($10 million) and by their summer counterpart in Los Angeles ($215 million), half a dozen cities have lined up to volunteer to host the 1992 Winter Games, and six others are vying to hold the '92 Summer Games. As is customary, the IOC's members were royally wined and dined by representatives of would-be host cities. Sofia, Bulgaria, which covets the '92 Winter Games, put on a $50,000 buffet. Grandiosely capitalist Brisbane, Australia, a Summer Games contender, flew in Aussie lobsters, kiwi fruit and its charming lord mayor, Sallyanne Atkinson, and brought in caterers from across the Wall in West Berlin to serve a $1.9 million luncheon feast. The IOC members shamelessly stuffed themselves at such events, unmoved by criticism that the organization shouldn't be accepting lavish favors from its suitors. The committee will allow the ardent courting to continue until October of '86 before making its choices.
•In a progress report on the '88 Summer Games, Lee Yong Ho of the Seoul Organizing Committee said that agreements on the scheduling of events had been reached with 22 of 23 sports federations (the International Amateur Athletics Federation, the governing body of track and field, will announce its timetable next month) and that finals will be held in many events at noon or even earlier. Denying that the early starts are designed merely to accommodate rich U.S. TV, Lee insisted, "It's also in the interest of sports to show the Olympic Games to as many people in the world as possible." But consider this: An 11 a.m. event will air live at 10 p.m. in New York but in the middle of the night throughout Europe. Consider also that the original dates for the Seoul Olympics were the last week in September and the first in October but were moved up a few days so they wouldn't conflict with the U.S. major league baseball playoffs. Then again, the Seoul organizers are hoping for U.S. TV-rights payments of $550 million, which figures to be six times the combined haul of TV rights from all other countries.
•The IOC signed an exclusive merchandising contract with International Sports, Culture and Leisure Marketing of Lucerne, Switzerland. Instead of dealing with a score of different national organizing committees, you can now negotiate directly with ISL to become the Official Olympic Insect Repellent. Some 40 sponsorships for products ranging from soft drinks to rented cars will be peddled during each Olympiad by ISL. "In the past," said ISL executive vice-president J√ºrgen Lenz, "each sponsor had to deal with organizing committees directly. This mess had to be sorted out." The IOC rarely sorts out messes just for the sake of sorting out messes. It received a million dollars from ISL for the basic contract, and at least $14 million more is due by 1989. Berlioux and Samaranch butted heads over the ISL deal, too, with Berlioux invoking the spirit of Olympic patriarch Pierre de Coubertin and objecting to formalizing the commercialization of the Games. Berlioux having lost again, one observer noted, "De Coubertin is dead, Samaranch is alive."
•Robert Helmick, a Des Moines lawyer who is president of both the International Swimming Federation (FINA) and the U.S. Olympic Committee, was elected to the 89-member IOC. The word was that former USOC executive director F. Don Miller was passed over because he opposed sharing L.A.'s Olympic profits directly with other countries, and that former LAOOC head Peter Ueberroth, who favored such a profit distribution, was bypassed because of his supposed "hostility" toward the USOC.
TIME TO SETTLE
Baseball's collective-bargaining agreement expired last Dec. 31, and negotiations on a new one are lagging. With talk of a possible strike in the air—the Major League Baseball Players Association is considering a boycott of the All-Star Game on July 16 and says it may set a strike date for August—the two sides remain deeply divided on one critical subject: the financial state of the game.
The owners say they're losing lots of money and that soaring player salaries are the reason. That's why they say they're "exploring" an NBA-style cap on team salaries, an innovation that would put a crimp in free agency. That's also why they've refused to pay more than the recent $15.5 million of TV revenues a year to the players' pension fund even though those revenues have increased from $87 million in 1983 to $155 million this year. Claiming that player payrolls accounted for only 24% of all expenses in 1976 but 46% last year, Lee MacPhail, president of the Player Relations Committee, says, "All the [extra] TV money was spent paying salaries. Where do the players think more money will come from?" MacPhail has put baseball's losses at $42 million last year and projects those losses reach $155 million by 1988.
But the Players Association says that these claimed deficits are largely paper losses created in part by the ability of purchasers of baseball teams to depreciate players, an advantage most other businesses don't have. Union chief Donald Fehr also accuses the clubs of creative accounting in cases in which they own the TV stations that broadcast their games. In those instances, he says, the TV rights are drastically undervalued and don't show up on the profit side of team ledgers. "Are owners in such bad shape when they're signing players to $2 million contracts and selling teams for $50 million?" asks Fehr.
Our message to both sides: Get off it. First the players. The public isn't going to cotton to the idea of you manning picket lines when you earn, on the average, around $350,000 a year. And with that kind of loot to salt away for your old age, how come you need to look to the bosses for hefty pension payments? Now the owners. Forget it with your salary caps and other schemes to protect you from your own generosity. If you can't afford big salaries, don't pay them. If you can, stop griping.
Five months without a contract is long enough. Let's settle.
Call Me Buckie is a 9-year-old show horse—and you can also call Buckie lucky. A couple of years ago Buckie, a quarter horse gelding, began having mysterious fainting spells and was brought to the University of Pennsylvania's veterinary hospital. Diagnosis: a heart block. Remedy: a pacemaker, in this case the least sophisticated human model around, which barely cranked up his horsepower.
Buckie became the first horse to be saddled with a pacemaker. But while the pioneering treatment saved his life, Buckie still couldn't get his batteries revved to do much more than walk. Then last February the widow of a horse lover donated her late husband's state-of-the-art pacemaker to the hospital.
Six weeks later the $6,000 device was placed in Buckie's right atrium. Though he still can't exercise flat out, he can trot, canter and jump hedges. Last month he was put through his paces at the Devon Horse Show, where he attracted a lot of attention. "His style still needs a little work," says Virginia Reef, Buckie's veterinarian. Which may be possible to fix, now that he can put his heart into it.
THE SHORT END OF THE STICK
Everyone remembers Eddie Gaedel, the 3'7" pinch hitter who batted once for Bill Veeck's St. Louis Browns in 1951. Wearing number ‚⅛, he walked on four pitches and was lifted for a pinch runner. Gaedel's contemporary counterpart is Brian Bujduso, a 4'11" freshman at Andrean High in Merrillville, Ind. Cut from the junior-varsity team, Bujduso talked varsity coach Dave Pishkur into letting him be the team's student manager.
Pishkur liked Bujduso's enthusiasm, gave him a uniform and let him work out with the team. Midway into the season, Bujduso was called on to bat with the bases loaded. Pishkur gave him very specific instructions: "Take, take, take, take. It's take all the way." Bujduso walked on five pitches.
He pinch-hit five other times, drawing two free passes. But Bujduso never got an official at bat. The other times he was removed for a pinch hitter after looking at two strikes. Bujduso was a paragon of patience: He didn't swing once at the 27 pitches he saw.
Of course, Gaedel had a more compelling reason not to swing than Bujduso. "Eddie," Veeck had warned, "I'm going to be up on the roof with a high-powered rifle, watching every move you make. If you so much as look as if you're going to swing, I'm going to shoot you dead."
HIS MAIN SQUEEZE
Reggie White, the Memphis Showboats' 284-pound defensive tackle, earned notoriety two weeks ago when he pulverized Doug Flutie, breaking the New Jersey quarterback's collarbone. White received less notice for what happened last week when his wife, Sara, complained of a twinge in her shoulder. White made like a chiropractor and tried to squeeze the pain away. Sara ended up at the doctor's office with a badly bruised rib.
SAM Q. WEISSMAN
THEY SAID IT
•Billy Martin, New York Yankees manager, after witnessing a tantrum by Seattle Mariners skipper Chuck Cottier: "He has to learn to control himself."
•Pete Rose, 44-year-old player-manager of the Cincinnati Reds, on longevity: "Doctors tell me I have the body of a 30-year-old. I know I have the brain of a 15-year-old. If you've got both, you can play baseball."