Despite anecdotes about Larry Bird, Arthur Ashe, and Pete Rose, veteran journalist Callahan's real hero is the sportswriter, that ''unmade bed'' who plays golf with athletes, drinks with managers, and always delivers the memorable quip. (He admits lifting his title from a late colleague's unwritten memoir.) Callahan casually recalls kidnapping golfer Nancy Lopez (to interview her) and fending off allegations that he slept with catcher Johnny Bench's wife. Winning and losing are secondary in the press box, he notes, since sportswriters are only ''rooting for our columns'' -- whatever outcome makes the best copy. Based on these locker-room tidbits, Callahan's cheering clearly paid off.