Every major tennis tournament has its quota of upsets, but one always seems to stand out in the crowd. Bill Scanlon's defeat of John McEnroe is sure to achieve that status at this year's US Open. The top-seeded McEnroe was attempting to regain the crown he held from 1979 to 1981 when Scanlon toppled him earlier this week in an emotional fourth-round match 7-6, 7-6, 4-6, 6-3.
Scanlon, coincidentally, happens to be coached by Warren Jacques, the same person who tutors Kevin Curren. And Curren, as many may remember, pulled off a major upset of defending champion Jimmy Connors at Wimbledon this year - in the fourth round, as well. Scanlon, the 1976 collegiate champion, hasn't been heard from much recently, but unbeknownst to the casual tennis watcher he has risen from a career crisis and 120th ranking to No. 17 on the present charts.
Scanlon was encouraged by a 7-5, 7-6, 7-6 loss to McEnroe at Wimbledon, where he felt the difference between the two players was only a handful of important points.
This time as many people cheered McEnroe's defeat as Scanlon's victory. For all his professed efforts to change his tune, John doesn't really seem willing to make serious strides in improving his surly court behavior. It's one thing to argue with an umpire or linesman, quite another to demean and belittle these officials, which he did on more than one occasion before his Open defeat.
Those who know John well are quick to talk of his likeable private side, but that's a side the public doesn't see and McEnroe doesn't shed any light on in a razor ad he does that only promulgates the wrong kind of image. Otherwise, McEnroe actually exhibits a number of admirable qualities. He is patriotic and team-oriented, (witness his Davis Cup participation) dedicated, and intelligent. But unlike Jimmy Connors, who is every bit as competitive, John never brings any levity to his profession. If he'd only smile occasionally and quit chewing out officials, he might win over a flock of new fans. Red-hot Blue Jay
The Montreal Expos could still wind up in the playoffs, but dreams of an all-Canadian World Series have evaporated now that the Toronto Blue Jays have fallen out of contention in the American League East. Their slide has included a fair share of heartbreaking losses, two in the ninth inning and five others in extra innings, this after previously winning nine straight extra-inning games.
A battling spirit has impressed fans, though. Attendance is up nearly half a million over last year, and if there hasn't been as much to cheer about on the team level recently, at least Jesse Barfield has supplied some fireworks.
After slumping earlier in the season, the second-year outfielder went on a home run binge last week. He had three two-home run games and seven circuit clouts altogether. Throw in a pair of triples and 13 runs batted in and you have perhaps the hottest streak of the year. And it may not be over yet, considering he came up with his seventh game-winning RBI of the season Tuesday night against California. About all he's changed is his position in the batter's box, moving back off the plate.
Barfield's long-ball potential was no mystery. Last year he set a club rookie record with 18 homers, the first of which was a pinch-hit grand slam. This season he has 21 home runs. Model T of ski tows
Automation came to American skiing in 1934, a fact not lost on Woodstock, Vt. , which spawned the country's first ski tow - and probably the first ski conveyance of any kind - 50 years ago. To celebrate this golden anniversary, Woodstock is planning a three-month celebration next winter.And why not? The tow was the ''wheel'' in skiing history, the product of Yankee ingenuity that made the sport more feasible and enjoyable for the masses. No longer did skiers have to trudge up to come down, or traverse carriage roads to a run's apex.
Parts from the original tow, which was powered by a Model T Ford truck, were found in a barn outside of town this summer. If all goes as planned, the tow will be reassembled and put in running order for one final sentimental journey up the cow pasture at Gilbert Hill. Woodstock's own Bill Alsup will undertake the reconstruction. Alsup is in the ski lift manufacturing business, but has also raced in the Indianapolis 500.