He Gets Back Into the Swing

Dar-ryl ... Dar-ryl . . . Dar-ryl.

The New York Mets’ talented and turbulent right fielder, Darryl Strawberry, is already in postseason form. Strawberry, the National League’s top home run hitter last season, walked out of the Mets’ camp Thursday in Port St. Lucie, Fla., because of a contract dispute after taking a swing at teammate Keith Hernandez.

The trouble began as Strawberry sat between catcher Gary Carter and Manager Davey Johnson for the team picture on camera day at the park.

Suddenly, Strawberry exchanged words with Hernandez, sitting on the other side of Johnson. The two jumped up and pointed fingers and Strawberry swung at Hernandez before they were restrained by teammates.


Add Strawberry: His problems center on the demands of him and his new agent, Eric Goldschmidt, to renegotiate and extend a five-year contract signed in 1985 that pays the right fielder $1.4 million this year, with an option for $1.8 million in 1990.

More Strawberry: Johnson said he was kind of surprised that Strawberry and Hernandez got into a fight because they usually get along and he was kind of sorry it happened with so many media types around.

“Unfortunately, it happened on camera day so you got some good shots,” Johnson said.

Last add Strawberry: He said that the problem is less the money than his status and pride as the team’s leading hitter.


Uh, huh.

Trivia time: Five other Mets make more money than Strawberry. Who are they?

This was the 55th spring training for Birdie Tebbetts, a Baltimore Orioles scout.

“One difference between when I came up and now is that I look out here and I don’t see any fat guys . . . but I haven’t seen (Bob) Horner yet,” Tebbetts said.

Horner, by the way, is not only expected to make the team, he may get as many as 500 at-bats and hit anywhere from fourth to sixth.

But back to Birdie’s fat story: “Years ago, if a player came to camp overweight, they would have a big stove in the back of the clubhouse. They would get it real hot. The player would put on all his clothes, then put blankets on himself, go in there and sweat it off.”

Bad Barry update: In a Tulsa newspaper telephone poll, 76% said that Oklahoma football Coach Barry Switzer should not resign. And 77% said the same thing in another poll by a Tulsa television station.

Trivia answer: Hernandez, Gary Carter, Dwight Gooden, Ron Darling and Kevin McReynolds.


How hard is Sugar Ray Leonard training for his rematch against Thomas Hearns? According to Wallace Matthews of Newsday, so far not very hard, but then the fight is more than three months away.

Leonard did some leg training after the Tyson-Bruno fight: He danced at a disco until about midnight at a Las Vegas nightclub and had sipped a pink concoction through a straw between rounds.


From Larry Holmes on Mike Tyson’s decision to drop manager Bill Cayton and join forces with promoter Don King, Holmes’ former nemesis: “You don’t get off the horse that brought you over the bridge to get on another horse. Especially not that horse. I know that horse too well.”