Ever since Walter O'Malley yanked his Dodgers out of Brooklyn and planted them in the greener pastures of Los Angeles nearly 35 years ago, Brooklynites have fought to hold on to mementos of their beloved Bums. Last week the latest round in the fight—Los Angeles Dodgers and Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. v. David Senatore, Richard Picardi and Kevin Boyle—came to a federal courthouse in New York City. Senatore, Picardi and Boyle are owners of an establishment they call the Brooklyn Dodger Sports Bar and Restaurant, which is located in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn. The Los Angeles Dodger organization would like them to call the bar something else.
The owners' first choice for a name was Ebbets Field, but that moniker was being used by a cafè in Hicksville, N.Y. So, says Senatore, they decided to name it after the denizens of Ebbets Field to "conjure up fond memories of the Brooklyn Dodgers."
Senatore points out that "we got lots of letters wishing us luck, including one from [L.A. Dodger owner] Peter O'Malley in September of '87." The bar opened on St. Patrick's Day, 1988, and the owners registered the name with the Patent and Trademark Office in Washington, D.C., the next month. It wasn't until March 1990 that the Dodgers filed a lawsuit accusing the owners of trademark infringement.
"These guys did a trademark search for Brooklyn Dodger," says Ronald Russo, the bar owners' lawyer. "As far as they were concerned, that organization was a memory." But Robert Kheel, the attorney for Major League Baseball and the L.A. Dodgers, says, "This is a simple, garden-variety trademark-infringement case. It's very important for us to protect our name and trademarks."
In the trial, both sides rested on May 21, but Judge Constance Baker Motley isn't expected to rule until July or August. If the judgment doesn't go their way, the bar owners are prepared: Brooklynites will then be able to quench their thirst at O'Malley's Folly.
The Pitcher King
This just in: Presley is alive and well and making records in his hometown of Tupelo, Miss. The strapping righthander led Tupelo High into this week's state Class 5A baseball championship series against Meridian High by throwing three of the Golden Wave's national-record-tying eight no-hitters, five one-hitters and 10 shutouts en route to a 13-1 record. Going into the three-game series against Meridian, he had pitched 85 innings, struck out 125 batters and walked only 11. His ERA was 0.24, and his fastball was clocked at 92 mph.
No, not that Presley. Elvis left Tupelo in 1948 when he was 13. These days his third cousin Kirk is king in Tupelo. And like his kinsman. Kirk, who's a junior, has had his share of hits. When he isn't pitching, he plays third base, and at week's end he was batting .388 with 31 RBIs.
Last fall he was the quarterback on the Tupelo football team, which lost the state championship game. Kirk completed 102 passes on 224 attempts and threw only three interceptions in 14 games. Indeed, with his sandy-colored hair and prowess on the baseball diamond and the football field, Kirk seems more like Elway than Elvis. Unfortunately, he also sings more like Elway than Elvis.
"My granddad and Elvis's granddad were brothers," says Kirk, explaining his link to the King. Kirk was two when Elvis died in 1977. In fact, when asked whether Elvis has affected his life much, the compendious Kirk replied, "No, I don't guess he has." Still, the King does pop up in family conversation every now and then. Kirk says that just the other night his father received a call "from a guy saying he was Elvis."
Eric and Derek Spielhagen are identical twins who play on the baseball team at the Woodberry Forest (Va.) School. The two seniors from Beeville, Texas, each batted .486 on the season with 17 hits in 35 at bats.
A Close Call
Early on the morning of May 21 the California Angels were traveling from New York City to Baltimore for a weekend series when one of their two buses overturned along the New Jersey Turnpike. Twelve players and staff members were hurt, none seriously, but Angel manager Buck Rodgers suffered a fractured rib, elbow and kneecap. He isn't expected to return to the dugout for at least a month.
Thankfully, the Angels were healthy enough to play their game on Friday night in Baltimore, but the accident raised a horrific question: What would happen if many players on a team were killed or severely injured? Here's how three major pro sports have answered that question.
•Baseball's American and National leagues have slightly different rules. If six or more players on an American League club are lost for at least 30 consecutive games, each of the other teams in the league must submit a list of four active players—a pitcher, a catcher, an infielder and an outfielder—to the league office. The weakened team would then choose players until it had selected five fewer than it had lost, replacing the lost players with others who play the same position.
If a National League team loses seven or more players for at least 60 days, the other teams must each submit a list of 12 players. The weakened team would then choose players until it had picked six fewer than it had lost. According to both plans, no team could have two players picked in an emergency draft until every other team had had one player selected.
•If an NFL team loses 15 or more players for the season, the commissioner could decide to cancel the rest of that team's schedule. If he did so, the team would choose replacement players in an emergency draft. Before the emergency draft, every team would be permitted to protect 34 players, and no team could lose two players in the draft until all the others had lost one. The weakened team would also get the first choice in the next year's college draft.
If the commissioner decided that the the weakened team should complete its season or if the team lost fewer than 15 players, the team would be granted priority on all waiver claims. In addition, if it was left with fewer than two quarterbacks, a special quarterback draft would be held. The other teams each could protect two quarterbacks, and after the season a drafted quarterback would return to his original team.
•If an NBA club loses five or more players, the league must hold a "disaster draft." Each team would freeze five players from its 15-man roster (including players on the active and injured list). The weakened team would then draft players until it had replenished its team.
Pro sports, in general, and the Angels, in particular, have been remarkably lucky: None of these plans has ever had to be implemented. "We're all going to be O.K.," said second baseman Bobby Rose, who severely sprained his ankle in the accident. "Even though people got hurt, it could've been much, much worse."
Let It Ride
In Las Vegas there was a betting line on the number of cars that would still be running at the end of the Indianapolis 500. The over-under number was 14½. Twelve cars finished the race.
Former Brooklyn Dodger pitcher Ralph Branca, who gave up the home run to Bobby Thomson that won the National League pennant for the New York Giants in 1951, and former Boston Red Sox pitcher Mike Torrez, who gave up a homer to Bucky Dent in a one-game playoff in '78 that lifted the New York Yankees to the AL East title, live within a mile of each other in White Plains, N.Y. Peter Gammons of The Boston Globe reports that the two pitchers also attend the same church: Our Lady of Sorrows.
The Brooklyn bar and restaurant has made its cross-country namesake Dodger blue.
Elvis (inset) spun hit after hit, but Kirk rarely allows one.
[See caption above.]
As devastating as the crash was, the Angels feel blessed.
They Said It
Dan Issel, new Denver Nugget coach, announcing that his role models are legendary Kentucky coach Adolph Rupp, who wore a brown suit to every game, and former Nugget coach Doug Moe, who was known for his sartorial slovenliness: "In honor of Coach Rupp, I will wear a brown suit at my first game. And in honor of Doug, I
will wear black shoes with it."
Jeff Hammerschmidt, a safety with the Frankfurt Galaxy of the World League, after talking to the mayor of Fischbach, Germany: "I don't speak German, he doesn't speak English, and I think I just agreed to marry his daughter."