THE CASE FOR KEEPING
"We see that we can corrupt and destroy our lands, our rivers, our forests and the atmosphere itself—all in the name of progress and necessity.... We see that there is another course.... Despite all of our wealth and knowledge, we cannot create a redwood forest, a wild river, or a gleaming seashore. But we can keep those we have."
Thus Lyndon Johnson to Congress last week in a special message on conservation. Ever the Southwesterner appreciative of water, the President emphasized the noxious condition of our rivers. "Every river system in America [suffers] some degree of pollution," he somberly admitted, then proposed a massive program to free "all of America's rivers"—repeat, all—from pollution. He proposed the creation of eight new national recreation areas, support of hiking trails, preservation of historic sites and passage of the Wild Rivers bill. A badly located and undersized Redwood National Park mars the program; otherwise, the President took the words right out of our mouth.
There they are, Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale, teamed up to ask the Dodgers for equal three-year contracts totaling $1 million, or $166,000 apiece per year. General Manager Buzzie Bavasi refuses to listen to their demands. "There are 38 other players on this club that are just as important to me," Bavasi says. Walter O'Malley coyly adds, "I wish the boys well. They are entitled to get everything they can get out of Buzzie. Their problem is what Buzzie can get out of me."
What are K&D really worth to the Dodgers? In terms of standings, the Dodgers are world champs with them, second-division bums without them and their 49 wins. A second-division finish means at least a 300,000 attendance drop, and at $4.50 per fan that is a loss of $1.35 million. What's more, Koufax draws an extra 10,000 fans when he pitches, and he starts 20 times at home. So there is another $900,000, making the total loss $2.25 million, not counting road receipts.
Walter, give Buzzie the money.
PLAYING IT COOL?
Do pro football players want to join the Teamsters Union? Tackle Bob St. Clair, recently retired from the 49ers, says yes. "It's unfair to ask players what they think of joining," St. Clair says. "They know management wouldn't approve of the Teamsters, so they play it cool and tell reporters everything is fine the way it is. The union would be invaluable when it comes to pensions. And it would give disabled players better protection. Pro football has never taken care of the cripples, those guys who go around with trick knees and pulled tendons. Look at me. I suffered torn Achilles tendons in both heels. I must be 25% disabled. All I'll get is a pension when I reach 65. If we had a union, I'm sure disabled guys like me would be getting compensation."
Football Coach Dave Nelson of Delaware is one of the superior strategists of the college game. Other coaches seek him out the way market investors used to sidle up to Bernard Baruch. Nelson, secretary of the NCAA Football Rules Committee, would like to restore excitement to the punt return. He says fans rarely get a boot out of a return nowadays, because of the way a kicking team lines up in a spread so players can rip downfield to cover the ball. Moreover, the receiving team will not field a punt headed for the end zone, preferring a safe touchback and possession on the 20. "This," says Nelson, "is a nothing maneuver that puts people to sleep."
To put the kick back in punt returns, Nelson makes two suggestions: "One, forbid the punting team to cross the scrimmage line until the ball does. Two, limit the depth of the punter's position to 10 yards."
Nelson points out that punters now are kicking from 13 and 15 yards back. "With a punter only 10 yards back," he says, "the kicking team would be reluctant to spread its formation and go down under the ball, because the team would need more players to protect the kicker. At the same time, the receiving team couldn't stack the line to rush the punter, because it would become vulnerable to a surprise run or pass."
To fans weary of the fair catch or the sight of a punt bounding into the end zone, Nelson's suggestions make sense.
THE LEARNING POOL
Take our word for it, there is a Beige and Blue Pool Hall in Santa Cruz, Calif., and it woos village youth with a promotion unprecedented in the annals of hustling. It offers two free games for every A on a student's report card and one free game for every B. C, presumably, rhymes with T, and that stands for trouble. Professor Harold Hill was lucky he didn't encounter a poolroom like this when he hit River City in 1912.
One of the axioms of the modern outdoors is that anyone bitten by a poisonous snake should never take liquor. Well, apparently it all depends on the kind consumed. So says Dr. Herbert L. Stahnke, professor of zoology at Arizona State University, who has been mucking about in his lab with rats and Scotch and hypodermic needles. The doctor injected rats with venom and then gave them half-ounce doses of liquor. What did he find? That Scotch and vodka significantly lowered the number of deaths, whereas tequila and brandy increased the effect of the venom. Does Dr. Stahnke have any other observations to report? Yes, he does. "The rats got pretty stoned," he says.
THERE'LL ALWAYS BE...
Considerable indignation is being voiced in English angling circles over a recent American claim to have produced a maggot twice the size of any of Albion's. Maggot-producers, working under such impressive names as The Omega Maggot Factory, contend that the American creature, large though it may be, is no more than a common mealworm and is nothing like as attractive to fish.
Maggot-breeding in England is not a matter of hanging up any old meat and letting the flies get at it. The best maggots are fed on liver and bred from carefully selected strains of bluebottles. Thousands of fly generations have been carefully nurtured and ruthlessly culled to produce a master race, the English say.
There is more than a suspicion that some unscrupulous Americans would like to cash in on English know-how. Wilf Moore, doyen of Coventry maggot-men, says firmly: "They're not having my secrets. We showed them how to make penicillin and the atom bomb. We cannot be expected to tell them how to rear maggots."
A trademark of Utah basketball Coach Jack Gardner is a white handkerchief-he waves it at his players to suggest a time-out. In a recent game at Arizona, Gardner had special reason to signal—his team was three points behind and there was little time left. He waved, frantically. "Look, Daddy," a small boy near the press section was heard to say, "the Utah coach is surrendering."
Bill Russell recently accepted a Philadelphia Sports Writers award as "the outstanding athlete of 1965" and then questioned the pure athletic ability of other pro athletes. Russell said he or Wilt Chamberlain could "play football players; baseball players, anybody, in a sport that neither of us is paid for playing, and we'll beat them."
What provokes Russell to such ancient taproom argument is his conviction that the Boston Celtics in general and Russell in particular have never received proper national recognition. "We won the NBA title seven years in a row," says Russell, "but we never were named 'Team of the Year.' Ridiculous. It's about time they recognized the worth of basketball players as athletes. Take that Hickok Award [pro athlete of the year]. It's the biggest joke in sports. It never goes to a basketball player. And nobody's going to tell me that he [Sandy Koufax, the recipient for 1965] is a better athlete than me or Wilt Chamberlain."
Assemblyman David Friedland has introduced a bill to designate the chimney swallow rather than the eastern goldfinch as the official New Jersey state bird. "It has become apparent." said Friedland, "that the goldfinch is simply not equipped emotionally or physically to cope with the rising rate of industrial air pollution. On the other hand, our state is blessed with an abundant number of hale and hearty chimney swallows. These brave birds...appear to thrive upon polluted air."
THE TRUANT HERO
Surfer Paul Murray, 18, all-round good guy and star halfback at North Salinas High School, pulled a drowning clam digger out of the Pacific at Moss Landing, Calif. not long ago. Murray became a hero. His picture and a big story appeared in the Salinas Californian. A special Paul Murray Day was planned at school.
But then one North Salinas teacher got to pondering the fact that the rescue was made on a Thursday, a school day. It developed that Paul was absent from school "because of a strep throat." Hero Murray has been suspended from school temporarily for falsifying a reason for absence. Paul Murray Day has been deferred. "Suspension is automatic in such cases," explained Vice-Principal David Weakly, weakly.
DIG YOU LATER
Mock battles between Yanks and Rebs staged by Civil War buffs are colorful extravaganzas of bands, uniforms and weapons, almost as real as life. Sometimes just as real, says William Hater Jr. Hater claims, in a suit filed in Common Pleas Court in Cincinnati, that he was wounded in a battle reenactment. Hater wasn't even a combatant. He was part of a singing group providing musical background for a battle at Camp Friedlander, Ohio.
Without warning, he charged, and without provocation—save perhaps the strains of The Battle Hymn of the Republic then rolling across the battleground—the Second Kentucky Cavalry wheeled its cannon and discharged a (fireworks) volley into the noncombatants. The suit asserts that the swollen, stiff and painful condition of one scorched hand prevents Mr. Hater from returning to his civilian employment, gravedigging.
For four straight weeks otherwise un-ranked Dayton got one lone vote as the top basketball team in the country in the AP poll. That same voter cast undefeated Kentucky down as far as fourth place. Some southern poll watchers, acutely annoyed, cracked the AP's veil of secrecy to discover the culprit. He was Bill Jauss, a basketball writer for the Chicago Daily News. He admits he hasn't seen Kentucky play this year, but he remains skeptical of Kentucky's talent. "Five white kids and none of them over 6 feet 5," he says. "Forget it."
Angry protests and insulting phone calls have not fazed the 35-year-old Jauss. As an instructor in journalism at Northwestern University, he has assigned the class agnostics to report on a Sunday morning sermon, and his sports-hating girls to report on basketball games or wrestling matches, so he figures he is ready for anything in the way of back talk. When Loyola beat Dayton a fortnight ago, he nimbly switched horses to Loyola. He still likes Dayton, "But you can't take it away from a team [Loyola] that beats them on their home court." In this week's AP poll he ranks Loyola first, Dayton second, Duke third, Kentucky fourth.
THEY SAID IT
•Anthony Felice, World Boxing Association executive, asked if he thought professional boxing and wrestling should be governed by the same organization: "No, I think pro wrestling should be handled by the Theatre Guild."
•Paul Hornung, narrating in Chicago a film of a game between the Green Bay Packers and the Baltimore Colts: "There goes Taylor again. He was great in this game. If I didn't know better, I'd say he had money bet on it."