STRENGTH AND WEAKNESS
Law enforcement officials in San Diego said last week they had broken up a ring that controlled 70% of the U.S. black market in anabolic steroids. In a federal indictment arising out of a two-year investigation by the FBI, the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Customs Service, 34 people were charged with smuggling and distributing steroids. Two of those indicted are sports figures: David Jenkins, who ran on Great Britain's silver medal-winning 4 X 400-meter relay team in the 1972 Olympics, and Pat Jacobs, an associate strength coach for the University of Miami athletic department. Jenkins, who was expected to plead not guilty, is the alleged mastermind of the operation. Jacobs, arrested on Thursday, was unavailable for comment. He was, according to assistant U.S. attorney Phil Halpern, "like the number 20 defendant."
The fact that Jacobs, who was actually the number 19 defendant, worked with the No. 2 football team in the country should raise new concern about athletes' use of anabolic steroids. Miami athletic director Sam Jankovich maintained, "This athletic department is committed to no drug abuse within its program." However, a member of last year's football team told SI that he and "a lot" of his teammates used steroids. Miami conducted drug tests last year, but the player said that teammates tried to mask steroid use by methods both questionable and surefire. "The guys would put motor oil on their hands, then piss on the motor oil." he said. "Or they'd take in bottles with someone else's urine."
Whatever the efficacy of Miami's testing program, it is clear that the NCAA's testing program, implemented before last season's bowl games, is not enough. In an interview last week with SI, University of Michigan weight and conditioning coach Mike Gittle-son disputed the NCAA's contention that its program had resulted in a decline in steroid use. "The NCAA should be testing for steroids right now," Gittleson said. "This is the time when kids are really involved in weight training. If anything, bowl-game testing is a boost for steroid use, because the kids who use them can set their cycle accordingly.
"It irritates me that the NCAA says there is a decrease in steroids just because so few kids tested positive before the bowls. That's not the case. Steroids are a bigger problem than ever."
While former Brave Bob Horner is making an impact in Japan, four players and a coach from the Tokyo Giants' farm system are interning this season with the Miami Marlins of the Class A Florida State League. At week's end, pitcher Masahito Watanabe was 1-0 with a 3.57 ERA in 23 innings, relief pitcher Hideharu Matsuo was 3-0 with a 1.48 ERA, first baseman Shuji Inagaki was hitting .275. and outfielder Mamoru Sugiura was at .277.
Watanabe seems to be adjusting to American life quite well. Whenever he sees an attractive woman in the stands, he says, "Oooooh, looking sweet!" Asked what other English phrases he has picked up. Watanabe replied, "Muy bien."
PRIDE OF THE CARP
Speaking of Japanese baseball, a sacred record will be broken on June 7 when, barring any unforeseen circumstances, Hiroshima Carp third baseman Sachio Kinugasa will play in his 2,131st consecutive game, surpassing Lou Gehrig's incredible streak. Kinugasa, who keeps a videotape of the 1942 Gehrig movie biography. Pride of the Yankees, at home, has played through a multitude of injuries, and he remains a feared slugger and an excellent fielder at age 40. Although Kinugasa can't match the Iron Horse as a hitter—his lifetime batting average is only .271—he does bear the remarkably similar nickname of Tetsu Jin, or Iron Man.
THEY DRIVE BY NIGHT
Mark Twain once wrote, "Golf is a good walk spoiled." Well, now you can have a good walk spoiled at night, thanks to the Nitelite Golfball, a translucent ball illuminated by a replaceable Cyalume chemical lightstick. The 1½-inch cylindrical stick, which is inserted into a hole in the middle of the ball, lasts as long as six hours.
The Nitelite ball is the brainchild of father-and-son sports inventors Nelson and Corky Newcomb of Mirror Lake, N.H. The Newcombs, who have also come up with Nitelite tennis balls, fishing lures and footballs, think the golf ball will really catch on.
They have good reason to think so: Nitelite golf tournaments will be lighting up the sky all over the country this summer. A series of scramble events to benefit the American Cancer Society have been planned, culminating in the Nitelite Nationals in October at the Doral Hotel and Country Club in Miami. In addition, the Tournament Players Association, which refers to itself as the "Triple-A of the PGA," will hold a Nitelite tournament on June 3 in Champaign, Ill. Says Corky New-comb, "Clubs in England, Germany and Japan have expressed interest. We had one guy. Bill Ridge, get into the Guinness Book of World Records by playing 504 straight holes in 24 hours at the Bob-O-Link Golf Course in Lawrenceburg, Ky."
Although the Nitelite travels only 80% as far as a conventional ball, it has one great advantage: It's tough to lose. The ball has become especially popular with teaching pros who are too busy to play during the day. "A lot of pros tell me they're stopping traffic on the roads near their courses at night," says Corky. He also says no UFO sightings have been traced to a Nitelite golf ball. Yet.
ONE GIANT LEAP
If Soviet long jumper Robert Emmiyan were called Bob, and if you were to say his name quickly, it would sound very close to Bob Beamon. Last Friday night in Tsakhkadzor, located in the Armenian highlands, Emmiyan did come very close to Beamon, leaping 8.86 meters, or 29'1". That jump, a mere inch and a half short of Beamon's monumental leap at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, is the second-longest in history. Tsakhkadzor's altitude is high—6,534 feet—but not as high as Mexico City's 7,392 feet, and the wind behind Emmiyan was not as strong as the one that helped Beamon.
The 22-year-old Emmiyan, who comes from the Armenian city of Leninakan, says he dreams of competing against Carl Lewis, who held the previous No. 2 mark, 28'10¼". Emmiyan is 5'10", unusually short for a long jumper. That's not the only unusual thing about him. According to the Soviet news agency Tass, Emmiyan likes climbing in the mountains, "which, by the way, he is inclined to consider as rest. Together with his coach, Mkrtych Karapetyan, he ascended the 3,500-meter Dzhardzhur Pass. They hunted, spent nights with shepherds in Alpine meadows." Tass also reports that on hikes. Emmiyan takes a cassette player and classical music tapes, an English-language textbook and a jar of his mother's special mixture of honey and nuts.
If Emmiyan does surpass Beamon's mark, spending nights with shepherds and eating honey with nuts could become part of many training regimens.
Nike, the footwear and apparel company, and the Soviet national tennis teams have come to an endorsement agreement. Nike gets the chance to introduce its products in the Soviet Union. The Soviet players, who began wearing Nikes this week at the French Open, get money for their training program and for travel expenses, not to mention free shoes. It appears that the sneaker is on the other foot.
HER F CE IS F MILIR
The B/C all-stars basketball camps have seen a lot of talent come and go over the past 10 years: Dominique Wilkins. Mark Aguirre, Ralph Sampson, Vanna White, Chuck Person. Jeff Malone, Steve Alford.... In case you didn't notice, one name seems out of place on that list. Actually, for a long time nobody noticed that the model who appeared on the camp's posters wearing a B/C All-Stars T-shirt was none other than the Wheel of Fortune hostess.
It all started in 1978. Bill Bolton, a former assistant at Ole Miss and Florida State, was trying to get B/C off the ground. "Quite frankly, I was looking for a way to spice up our posters and calendars," says Bolton, who this summer will run camps in Carnesville, Ga., Rensselaer, Ind., and Gettysburg, Pa. "Young kids are more likely to hang up a calendar if it's got a pretty girl on it." So Bolton went to an Atlanta modeling agency, and of 100 or so photographs he perused, the one of White caught his eye. "When T met her, she was very shy but very nice," says Bolton. "Took the pictures myself—I had my wife with me. Vanna, who was a brunette then, was really in her prime. Course, I'm not saying she's exactly over the hill now." Spoken like a true basketball coach.
The posters and calendars with White on them were a hit, even though she had yet to become a household name. Says Bolton, "I guess you could say that Vanna and I went on to bigger and better things."
Vanna dressed a little differently in 1978.
THEY SAID IT
•Gene Mauch, Angels manager, on owner Gene Autry's desire to get into the World Series: "You have to bear in mind that Mr. Autry's favorite horse was named Champion. He ain't ever had one called Runner-Up."
•Boxer James (Quick) Tillis, on his first day in Chicago: "I put my suitcase down, looked up at the Sears Tower and said, 'Chicago, I'm going to conquer you.' When I looked down, my suitcase was gone."
•Richie Ashburn, the Phillies broadcaster, noting that 300-pound John McSherry was umpiring that day at second base: "He makes a great hitting background."