BASEBALL'S efforts to field teams of strike-breaking replacement players shows early signs of falling apart. The Baltimore Orioles are opposed to assembling such a team, and in Canada, immigration laws relating to labor strikes would force the Toronto Blue Jays and Montreal Expos to put together two teams each - one for games in Canada composed of non-American replacement players and another for games in the United States.
If the replacement players are hired, Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston won't direct them, since doing so might jeopardize his relationship with the striking regulars. Finding someone to fill in for Gaston is no problem, according to Toronto General Manager Gordon Ash. He told the New York Times ``We have 50,000 managers every night here. I'm sure one of them will be available.''
Eastward, ho, for Rams
PRO football's Los Angeles Rams may be moving to St. Louis, but thinking of them in a different city won't be easy - just as it wasn't when the Raiders switched from Oakland to Los Angeles, the Colts left Baltimore for Indianapolis, and the Cardinals departed St. Louis for Phoenix. There is some precedent, however, for the Rams' locating in the Midwest. They began there - in Cleveland - in 1937, before moving to Los Angeles in 1946.
Baseball's Dodgers and Giants are often cited as the pioneers in the Far West migration of pro sports. But the Rams were California's first major-league team. In fact, they won a National Football League championship for Los Angeles in 1951 (its first and only), seven years before the Dodgers arrived from Brooklyn or the New York Giants settled in San Francisco.
Moving the Rams was not particularly popular in the league at the time, since teams traveled by train and it was a very long trip from the East. At least in football, though, there is only one game a week.
Super Bowl I flashback
THE original Super Bowl in 1967 was something of an afterthought. About one-third of the 94,000 seats at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum went unsold, and not because tickets were overpriced. They went for $6, $10, and $12, compared with $200 and $300 this year.
Tickets went begging because too many were available (including 25,000 for day-of-game sales), and the game's outcome was a foregone conclusion. As anticipated, the NFL champion Green Bay Packers easily handled the Kansas City Chiefs of the American Football League, 35-10, in the AFL-NFL World Championship Game, as it was known. The game was mostly a curiosity that first year, but the prize money has been good from the beginning. The Packers got $15,000 per man, the Chiefs $7,500 - the largest single shares in team sports at that time. Echoes from a defunct football league
REMEMBER the now-disbanded United States Football League, the operation not even Donald Trump's millions could prop up? The league has resurfaced conversationally in discussions of Steve Young's career. Young, San Francisco's superlative quarterback and great-great-great-grandson of religious leader Brigham Young, began with the USFL's Los Angeles Express.
He is not alone, however, among former USFL players who made good. There's also Reggie White, an all-pro defensive lineman with the Green Bay Packers who began with the USFL's Memphis Showboats. Two players from Trump's New Jersey Generals have also enjoyed success: Quarterback Doug Flutie is the biggest star in the Canadian Football League. General running back Herschel Walker, now with the Philadelphia Eagles, did something in 1994 never before accomplished in the space of one NFL season: He turned in plays of 90 yards or more as a runner, kickoff returner, and pass receiver. Touching other bases
* The National Hockey League season has finally commenced, and though a labor dispute delayed the startup for several months, seeing hockey again has lifted fans If a season must be disrupted, the NHL has shown the way: Don't start until you know you can finish. Major-league baseball, on the other hand, offended many of its fans in 1994 by pulling the plug on a season in progress.
* To what do the San Diego Chargers owe their name and lightning bolts - a public utility? No, that is not among the explanations given for selecting Chargers in a name-the-team contest years ago. One theory holds that the team's original owner, hotel tycoon Barron Hilton, was seeking publicity for a new charge card. The other versions suggest that Hilton envisioned a hard-charging steed or a lightning-charged team.