When He Gets In Ring, He Shows True Colors

Steve Johnston of Denver will fight Ronald Wright of St. Petersburg, Fla., in Wednesday night's light-welterweight title fight at the Olympic Festival in St. Paul, Minn.

"I told my grandmother and mother that I ain't losing no more fights," Johnston said.

His grandmother and mother have been following his fight career--inside and outside the ring.

Said Johnston: "In my neighborhood a little while back, I was wearing red, which is the Bloods' color, and the Crips didn't like it. But I said, 'You can't tell me what to wear,' and I fought them.

"The next day, I'm wearing blue, the Crips' color, and I fought the Bloods in the city park.

"It's important not to back down . . . but I do get tired of it sometimes."

Add Festival: Princeton's Pete Carril, coach of the East basketball team, favors keeping NBA players off the U.S. Olympic team. But he told Chuck Schoffner of the Associated Press that he'd just as soon not debate the issue.

Said Carril: "The world of sport is very insignificant. I don't think losing to a foreign country in the sport of basketball is a sign of decadence. I think greater signs of decadence are present in other factors, such as the low productivity of our industry, the quality of our water, our increasing debt, the fact that we can't walk in many of our cities, the fact we've got a tremendous drug problem.

"When you look at it from that standpoint, how important can it be that you beat everybody in basketball at the Olympics?"

Trivia time: Who was the oldest player to appear in an All-Star game?

Gone fishin': John Nelson of Associated Press notes that of the 10 highest-paid major league players, only two--Jose Canseco and Will Clark--will be in the All-Star game.

Dave Stewart and Nolan Ryan could have made the American League team but needed the rest. The other six are Joe Carter, Eric Davis, Mark Davis, Mark Langston, Don Mattingly and Robin Yount.

Mutterers' row: Fifty-six years ago today, in the 1934 All-Star game, New York Giant pitcher Carl Hubbell struck out the heart of the AL lineup--Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons, and Joe Cronin--in succession. But the AL came back to beat the National League, 9-7, at the Polo Grounds in New York.

Who's counting: According to the Associated Press, "The American League is trying for its first three-game winning streak in the All-Star game since 1946-49."

Check local listings: The Cleveland Indians probably wouldn't mind if ESPN blacked them out for the remainder of the 1990 season. This year, the Indians, six games out of first place, are 0-7 on ESPN, with a rainout and a snowout.

Tabloid trivia time: Joe Gergen of Newsday, writing from Wimbledon last week, noted that when England's soccer team qualified for the World Cup semifinals, the London Daily Mail asked this question:

"What do England's three semifinal rivals have in common? They have all won the World Cup, but they all lost to us in wars."

High hopes: Randy Johnson's Seattle Mariner teammates have nicknamed the 6-foot-10 pitcher "Big Unit." When asked why he wears a coat and tie on the road, he said, "You never know when you might meet Mrs. Unit."

Trivia answer: Satchel Paige. In the 1953 All-Star game at Cincinnati, Paige, 47 years 7 days old, pitched the eighth inning for the AL, giving up two runs. The NL won, 5-1.

Quotebook: Ben Johnson, asked who would win the Olympic 100 meters at Barcelona in 1992: "Who do you think? Me."

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