Troubled by New York's seeming indifference to the world's serious state, JamesReston, the distinguished Washington correspondent of the New York Times, lastweek sought an explanation. He found New Yorkers did care—and very much so
Q.—I've come toNew York to see whether anybody's paying any attention to what's going on inWashington.
A.—We sure are.The Yankees have one more game there and if they don't win it, they'rethrough.
Q.—Yes, but Imean—
September 19, 1954
A.—And they'dbetter win the last three with Washington at the Stadium too.
Q.—I meanWashington in general. The big things that have been happening down thererecently. What do you really think of Washington?
A.—Strictly asecond-division club. Nothing's happened down there since Walter Johnson. Theycan't hit and they're weak down the middle. If Stengel hadn't given themPorterfield, they'd be in the cellar.
Q.—Let me bespecific. I'd like to ask you about some of the things of world importance thatare being widely discussed where I come from. For example, the policy ofcoexistence.
A.—It's for thebirds. That's exactly what's wrong with Stengel. He's been coexisting withCleveland too much. Nine times, in fact. He even coexists with Washington. Lastyear he beat 'em fourteen times and lost only six. This year he's beaten themonly eleven times, less than he's beaten any other club in the league, whileCleveland's beaten them seventeen times. See what I mean? This"coexistence" is the bunk. Stengel should leave it to the Orioles.
Q.—What do youthink of the Dixon-Yates deal?
A.—I didn't evenknow they'd been traded.
Q.—What do youthink of Eisenhower?
Q.—Is there muchtalk about the "massive retaliation" policy around here?
A.—Talk about it!The Yankees invented it! In the old days, when anybody scored one run on them,"murderers row" retaliated with five. That's what we've been waitingfor here in New York—massive retaliation, especially against those bums inCleveland!
Q.—What do youthink of McCarthy?
A.—As I say, hewas a great manager. One of the best the Yankees ever had.
Q.—I don't supposehe ever coexisted with anybody, did he?
A.—Never! And hedidn't wait to re-taliate, either. He taliated!
Q.—Have you everheard of "united action"?
A.—Not since BillyMartin went into the Army. There's absolutely nothing united in the Yankeeinfield around second base, and Stengel puts so many players on the field thatthey get most of their action running on and off the field.
Q.—What do youthink about the problem of the Reds?
A.—I don't carewhat happens in the National League. Cincinnati has always been a problemanyway.
Q.—I get theimpression you're interested in baseball. Don't you ever worry aboutpolitics?
A.—Once in awhile, but I never seem to get anywhere. The thing I like about baseball isthat everybody starts even, and at the end of the day you know who won.Politics—you never know who's ahead.
Q.—Here isIndochina partitioned, the EDC rejected, the Communists running all over Asia,and France in a mess, and you don't care?
A.—Sure I care,but what can I do about a country that partitions Indochina, rejects the EDCand abolishes the female bosom all in six months?
A.—Where is thePresident?
Q.—He's in Denver,but—
A.—He hasn't givenup golf, has he?
Q.—No, but hesays—
A.—I know, but healso says this Cold War may go on for a lifetime. That's all you get—onelifetime to a customer. Am I to abandon Stengel until Dulles civilizes theRussians? Poor Casey is having a hard enough time as it is.
A QUESTION OFTIMING
Q.—I admire yourlocal pride but why Stengel? What about the Giants and the Dodgers?
A.—Bush-leaguers.They play the kind of ball the Russians invented. Winning the American Leaguepennant is like winning a Democratic primary in the South. After that, theRepublicans are easy.
Q.—So you areinterested in politics?
A.—I time myinterest. When things are really bad, and it looks like a war or a depression,I pay attention. Occasionally, when I'm determined to be gloomy, I read JoeAlsop, but most of the time I just try to coexist with Casey.
Q.—And theRussians and the French, the EDC, and the British, Senator McCarthy and SenatorWatkins—when do you plan to worry about them?
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HERE'S THE STRETCH...
One of these figures seems about ready to drill a high,hard one down through the middle. Actually, they are pre-Columbian figurinesfrom Colima, on the west coast of Mexico.