You have to grasp the distinction between "shaving" and "dumping" if you want to keep up to date with the jargon of sporting corruption. If you "shave" you win or lose by more or fewer points than you are supposed to win or lose by—to the greater benefit of the gambler who has bought you. If you "dump" you deliberately lose a game you could have won.
The current depressing basketball scandals have produced muted apologists who seem to be drawing a moral distinction between the two activities. After all, the argument runs (scuttles would be a better verb), as long as you are going to lose, does the margin of defeat really make any difference?
We can think of so many harsh things to say about this unsporting nonsense that we think we'll just draw ourselves up to our full height and leave them unsaid.
April 10, 1961
'MOPPIE' GO HOME?
There is only one boat race these days where the first boat home wins. That is the Miami-Nassau Powerboat Race, a delight in an age when there are more classes, restrictions and rules than there is fun in boating. Last year's SPORTS ILLUSTRATED report on the race aroused so much enthusiasm that Dick Bertram's winner, Moppie, was hardly dry before Bertram was showered with money from people wanting "Moppie copies." (Bertram promptly went into business.) As a result, this year's race, departing Miami April 12, has over 30 non-Bertram boats out to make a name by thrashing Moppie and her copies.
In spite of Moppie's superior design, there is a gawky-looking long shot that might do it. It's the RX-1 (see below) designed by Phil Bolger of Gloucester, Mass., who says, "My fault is I like radical designs." RX-1 is a real queer one, a marriage of a flat wide stern to a knife bow, with a winglike flare to keep the bow from sinking too far. Bolger, who has designed the well-known Out O'Gloucester 30, says his new boat will plane on the flat stern like a modern high speed hull and cut through the waves like an old rumrunner. RX-1, built by Out O'Gloucester, and one similar hull, being built for R. P. Pearson, were both designed by Bolger to win this particular race. He is confident.
"Half of the Miami-Nassau is whether the crew and hull can take it. And I have sat on the RX-1 when she was cutting through a chop, going like blazes. I won't say I couldn't have used a pillow, but it didn't drive my spine through my brain, either. In really rough water my design may have to slow down to five knots, but Moppie will have gone home."
Whether Moppie or RX-1 goes home, we hope this kind of dramatic, uncomplicated racing will thrive and that out of it will continue to come new and better boating designs.
Golfers disagree violently over the respective merits of the small British ball (1.62 inches in diameter) and the large American ball (1.68). British golfers are allowed to play either size. American duffers, officially restricted by the USGA to the American ball, will occasionally try to sneak the British one onto the course in the hope that it will improve their scores. "I'll play the small ball every chance I get," is the reaction of many American professionals who play it in tournaments outside the U.S. "It's harder to hook or slice, it stays straight in the wind, and it flies miles farther."
"Nuts to the small ball," announces a member of the opposing school. "It doesn't sit up high enough on the fairway, it won't bite on the greens, and I'd just as soon try to putt with a marble."
Heretofore there has been agreement on only one point: that the little ball will go some 15 or 20 yards farther on a drive because it develops less air resistance in flight. But this seems an exaggerated estimate, according to tests recently made with a driving machine by the Dunlop Sports Company Ltd. of Great Britain. On a hard drive the machine sent the little ball 259 yards, the big one 257. Into a contrary wind the little ball went 239 yards, the big one 230. With the machine geared down to a good amateur range (that of, say, a 4-handicap player) the British ball outcarried the American 210 yards to 209. Into a strong opposing wind (the ultimate test) the small ball carried 215, the big one 210.
These tests, of course, were made under ideal conditions with a squarely hit shot guaranteed every time by the machine. Since the British ball is smaller, the real-life golfer has a hard time hitting it as squarely as the American ball. The small edge in distance might therefore disappear completely.
"Yes, but he'll hit the little ball straighter, because it reacts less to spin and air resistance," says one, "and get the distance right back again."
"But then he'll get to the green and three-putt it," claims another.
There are two things, however, that the little British ball clearly can't do: make a Hogan out of a hacker, or a hacker out of a Hogan.
SALLY ON THE SPOT
José Cruz Salsamendi is a heavychested, handsome 37-year-old bachelor who is both player and matchmaker at Miami's famous Dania Jai Alai frontón. Salsamendi is known to Dania's older and more quiet patrons as Sal and to the newer and noisier fans as Sally-Baby. Recently Salsamendi showed up in New York to help promote New York Jai Alai, of which he is the secretary.
"We hope to open our new, big $750,000 frontón in July," said Salsamendi in hesitant but expressive English. "Yes, yes, there will be no betting, at least not at the start. We hope to have 850 performances a year. In the afternoons we hope to get the women and children; in the evenings we hope to get the men. Our frontón will seat 2,600 people, and there will be room in our parking lot for 500 cars. Our average price will be about a dollar a person, and we can make money with that. In April the Florida jai alai season ends, and I will pick up players from Tampa and Miami and get them to come to New York. I will have about 140 to barter with and will get about 40, but I will have to barter hard with them because they draw between $600 and $2,000 a month. [The world's finest draw about $3,000 a month.] They know, however, that after April there are not too many frontóns available for them to play in and draw good money from. We are going to put up extra courts and teach college students and youngsters to play. We hope to form an American jai alai team which will play in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics."
Whether the beautiful and fast sport of jai alai can actually be successful in New York is a large question. And, Sally-Baby, without the stimulant of pari-mutuel betting, it is a question that may get a very quick answer.
A MAN WHO...
When and if Senator Estes Kefauver's proposal for a national boxing commissioner becomes law the Administration will come up against the tricky proposition of picking the right man to oust the racketeers.
It is tricky because those who put the commercial welfare of prizefighting before its integrity already have been making suggestions. The names of Gene Tunney, Jack Dempsey and Rocky Marciano have been proposed, and quite seriously. More plausible nominations undoubtedly will be made as time goes by, but most of these nominees will have the single qualification that they never, never would do anything to hurt a promoter's gate.
Well, we have some nominees of our own. First choice is John G. Bonomi, the tough and dedicated young lawyer who brilliantly directed the Kefauver subcommittee's investigation of the sport and successfully served District Attorney Frank Hogan of New York in a like capacity. And our second choice is yet another tough and dedicated young lawyer—Jack Urch, executive officer of the California commission, who, since he took over the job, has done so much to revive confidence in prizefighting in a state where it was on the verge of being banned. There are others—Harry Falk of the California commission also comes to mind—who have proved themselves in the fight for clean boxing.
Just let's have no more talk about making the national commission a public relations post for ex-heavyweights or a haven for needy politicians.
TROUBLE IN THE NEW CORRAL
Trainer Hirsch Jacobs, the only American trainer ever to saddle 3,000 winners, last week found himself in the middle of a surprising investigation. One of Jacobs' horses, Keep Ideals, had won a race at New York's Aqueduct race track on March 23, and after the race a saliva test on the filly proved positive—i.e., Keep Ideals had been stimulated.
The New York State Racing Commission and Aqueduct's stewards found, after examining the evidence, that Jacobs was not responsible for the doping of Keep Ideals. Although the investigation still continues, one thing seems to have come clearly out of the Jacobs case. Ever since Aqueduct, the $33 million "dream track," was constructed trainers have been saying that too much money had been spent on keeping the public happy and not enough on planning and building the stable area. Trainers said the barns were too small, that there weren't enough of them and that this created a cramped area and one very difficult to police.
By not holding Jacobs responsible (and for years it has been the rule that a trainer is responsible for the racing condition of his horses) officials seemed to be saying that "anyone" could dope a horse at Aqueduct. Perhaps anyone could—and can. There already is a strong rumor that another doping scandal is about to break in racing—and at Aqueduct. The New York Racing Association had best put some more Pinkertons into the under-protected Aqueduct stable area even though they are expensive ($18.50 per day per man). The track may thus lock its stable doors before another race is stolen.
•Because of his high income tax bracket, Floyd Patterson will not fight either British and British Empire Champion Henry Cooper or top-rated Sonny Liston this year. He may meet two "ranked" heavyweights between now and December, neither of whom will hurt him physically or fiscally.
•A thorough investigation by Dr. Leonard P. Schultz of the American Institute of Biological Sciences indicates that sharks are less likely to attack swimmers in light-colored swimming suits than in dark ones. Schultz says the contrast of black suit on white skin attracts sharks.
•The proposed new municipal stadium for the Houston National League baseball club will not be completed for the 1962 opener. The Houston team will play its games in Busch Stadium, which in past housed minor league clubs; the capacity is being increased from 12,000 to 22,000.
•Madison Square Garden, concerned about basketball scandals and having trouble booking teams for next year, will try for customers with an eight-team college hockey tourney. Already invited are St. Lawrence, Clarkson, Army and Boston College.