Baltimore's Mr. September; Landry's crackdown; Borg ready to come back?
Notes and jottings around the sports scene: Eddie Murray's hot September has been one of the big factors in Baltimore's runaway lead in the American League East. The switch-hitting first baseman is batting .349 with six home runs and 17 runs batted in so far this month, topped off by a homer in each game Wednesday night (his 29th and 30th of the season) as the Orioles swept a doubleheader from Detroit to all but wrap up the title.
This is nothing new, however, to close observers of Murray's career. The Sporting News ran a check on Eddie recently and came up with the information that he is one hitter you don't want to fool with in September and early October. Murray's overall statistics during that period for his six major league seasons include a .336 batting average, 40 homers and 153 RBIs. Those are MVP figures.
After a recent competitive tour of the Orient, during which the US Women's Volleyball Team played well below expectations, coach Arie Selinger has re-evaluated his training program. The role conditioning plays will be increased , and overall Selinger will ask his players to be more aggressive. While the world-champion Chinese team, according to most experts, remains the favorite in the '84 Olympics, others say Japan has the volleyball talent gap between the two countries just about closed.
Insiders claim it's only a matter of time before Bjorn Borg becomes a serious pro tennis player again. They say Borg is over the burnout period in his life and that he badly wants the US Open title, the only major championship he has failed to win.
One reason the Dallas Cowboys have looked so formidable in the early stages of the National Football League season is that Head Coach Tom Landry ran a much tighter training camp than he has in past seasons. Landry also let it be known that not all of his veterans could count on holding their jobs just by showing up. Then there is all that pertinent information that Tom feeds regularly into the Cowboys' computer. Dallas just doesn't miss much when it comes to knowing ahead of time what the opposition is going to do offensively and defensively.
Regardless of trades, the college draft, and free-agent signings, does anyone really believe that the four division winners won't be the same in the National Basketball Association again this season? That would be the defending world champion Philadelphia 76ers in the Atlantic Division; the Milwaukee Bucks in the Central; the San Antonio Spurs in the Midwest; and the Los Angeles Lakers in the Pacific.
Not many National Football League coaches stray beyond what everyone else is doing, but head coach Mike Ditka of the Chicago Bears turned his back on convention last year when he started rookie Jack McMahon at quarterback. ''I believe that some rookies can play regularly in this league, even at quarterback ,'' Ditka told reporters. ''Of course they must have the talent to adjust and you just can't send them out there with standard preparation. You have to develop a learning plan for them. But as a coach, you have gut feelings about certain players, and we liked McMahon's potential right from the start.'' In fact, Jack was named 1982 NFC Rookie of the Year. Said McMahon: ''I'm not one of those people who think you can learn sitting on the bench. You can practice all day and watch films of opposing teams all night, but you don't learn until you actually get into a game.''
The way Tommy Lasorda handles his duties as manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers is probably unique in the history of baseball. Lasorda has succeeded in making two jobs out of one. Tom has added a new dimension to managing that translates out to public relations executive at the field level.
Before and after games, Lasorda is available for interviews, autographs, impromptu clinics, and on-camera appearances. And Tommy is relentless and convincing in the way he praises and promotes everything about the Dodgers. If Los Angeles owner Peter O'Malley ever decides to get rid of Lasorda, which isn't likely, he's probably going to find himself torn between wanting to fire the manager and wanting to keep the PR executive.
Any losing NFL franchise that needs rebuilding will probably be able to approach Head Coach Don Shula of the Miami Dolphins by the end of this season. Shula and Miami owner Joe Robbie reportedly can't agree on much of anything these days.
When fire destroyed the home of center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar of the Los Angeles Lakers, it also burned up all of his UCLA jerseys, souvenirs from three NCAA championship teams. Figuring that the Bruins might still have a jersey or two of his in one of their trophy cases, Kareem asked the school if he might have a couple. The fact is UCLA didn't have any, but found a couple of old No. 32 Bill Walton jerseys, then had the numbers changed to 33 before delivering them to Abdul-Jabbar.
It won't happen for another year, but those who promote the pro golf tour should be able to get some future mileage from the name Chris Perry. Chris, a two-time All-America golf selection at Ohio State, is the son of former major league pitcher Jim Perry and the nephew of Gaylord Perry of the Kansas City Royals.