ANOTHER ROAD PICTURE
In a whole world chock-full of negotiations and demands, nobody is demanding or negotiating better than the professional golfers. The pros have informed potential sponsors that soon the summer tour will come to Your Town, U.S.A. for no less than $200,000. Why not? Jack Tuthill, PGA tournament director, says the golfers have received at least a dozen firm offers from potential sponsors, each one with $200,000 burning a hole in his pocket. The pressure is on faithful old family retainers like Hartford and St. Paul to match scratch.
It is not just money, either, that the golfers can command. The Lucky Open in San Francisco was voted out of the tour till funds were provided to build a $400,000 clubhouse. Lucky came back on the schedule. Now the pros unequivocally refuse to play the Spyglass Hill course, so cancellation of the Bing Crosby Pro-Am is seriously threatened. Larry Crosby, who manages the event, is already considering turning it into an all-amateur celebrity affair.
The pros might keep in mind, however, that the Crosby, with its far-reaching special appeal, draws the attention of many people to golf who are otherwise under the impression that the Masters is a cigar. And who knows? Because the Crosby is unique and generates such widespread general attention, maybe it encourages some people to raise $200,000 for a tournament in July.
June 2, 1968
BAN THE BEAN
Legislators think they need to legislate as much as pitchers think they need to brush back batters, so Dominic Leone, City Councilman of Baltimore, has just pitched a beaut of a law into the Baltimore hopper. He wants the City Council to approve an ordinance that would result in the indictment of any pitcher who hits a batter above the shoulders.
In a preamble to his proposed law, Leone says he is shocked at the "rash of beanball warfare now prevailing in major leagues," and he feels that organized baseball condones "such callous and vicious conduct." Hitting someone with a baseball, according to Leone, is a common-law offense of assault and battery. His law proposes to punish it in professional games only by a fine not exceeding $500 and/or imprisonment up to 12 months. Intent is not at issue. Bean 'em and off to court you go. Leone does not say whether a paddy wagon will be stationed at each ball park. Nor has he decided whether a pitcher who hits a batter should be arrested at once or allowed to finish the game.
We deplore intent to maim, but we doubt whether our overcrowded courts should be asked to handle the problem. Besides, with appeals it might take years to settle a pennant race.
Ted Nash, 34, is the freshman crew coach at the University of Pennsylvania. As an athlete, he won a gold medal rowing in the 1960 Olympics; as a man in a world that too often prefers to look the other way, he has recorded even greater achievements. Once, in Maine, a swimmer suffered a heart attack while, simultaneously, a nearby outboard flipped over and dumped a family of five in the lake. Nash first saved the swimmer and then swam off again to rescue the entire family, some of whose legs had been chopped by propellers. Another day he left his coaching launch and dashed to help a woman trapped in her car by an accident.
Last week Ted Nash leaped into the chilly Schuylkill River when he saw a man jump off the Market Street bridge. Nash went under at least 25 times, searching unsuccessfully for the man. Six hours later he still had not bothered to phone his wife about the incident. He wanted to speak only of a brave helicopter pilot, Paul Zill, who maneuvered his craft low between two bridges to check on Nash's own safety. "You must remember," Nash said, "it was "a failure. I didn't find the man. It was a total failure."
Did he think of his wife and two young boys when he was diving down one more time? "What if I were one of those terribly unfortunate people who didn't help?" Ted Nash said. "What would my family think of me then?"
ANY CAGE IN A STORM
The strait between Townsville and Magnetic Island in north Queensland, Australia is 5½ miles across and populatedby a quorum of marine menaces: sea stingers, stonefish, sea wasps, sea lice, sea snakes, giant devil rays and at least 30 kinds of shark. To further complicate matters, the strait is swept by southeast trade winds, by two major crosscurrents, by cyclones and, since 1924, by humans swimming across it in protective cages. Obviously, these cages may be called strait jackets.
The first one was a crude wire-and-wood affair. The cages now are constructed of such items as steel and poly-urethane foam, but the sea lice still get through to sting the swimmer, who also is likely to suffer lacerations while thrashing about in the enclosure. Most of the cages are only about 2½ body lengths long. It is all a rather chilling medieval scene, smacking of the treadmill. Not only does the poor swimmer always appear to reach out in vain for the front of his cage, but the coach, who rides along, invariably lies to his charge. "You. bull 'em a bit, like say there's only one mile to go when there's two," one cheerful mentor reports. "Otherwise, they'd never make it."
Nevertheless, there is no dearth of swimmers vying to be chosen for the six official cages that are allotted each May for what has become the annual race. This year one of the contestants chosen was a 14-year-old girl, Jocelyn Glen, and she set a new women's record at 2.09:03, but the overall winner was Rodney McLeod, who upset favored John Koorey. If Koorey had won the swim he had planned to go on next to the English Channel. Without the cage and sea visitors, that would seem like an amiable skinny dip by comparison.
AAU President David Matlin has confirmed the amazing report that the executive board will meet on July 27 to act on a resolution that the national headquarters be moved from New York City to, of all places, Las Vegas. The early line is 1 to 5 that the AAU will move, 7 to 2 that blackjack will not be named a sanctioned sport and 6 to 5 and pick 'em that nobody can possibly remain an amateur in Las Vegas.
In picking Proper Proof to win the California Derby, The Moth told readers of his racing selections: "Proper Proof is a colt that interests both The Moth and Jim Garrison, so—put down your peace feeler and get to the track." As the only tout on a college newspaper, The Moth picks 'em for The Daily Californian at Berkeley. "The Moth," he writes for his audience in self-deprecation, "combines the credibility of L.B.J., the sagacity of General Hershey and the veracity of Chancellor Heyns." However much his fans care for his picks, they tab his column in clever hands, blinders off. Who is this masked moth?
Beneath the black beard and mustache, The Moth is revealed as a nearsighted law student named Les Harrison. Once, in dim light, he saw a huge moth on his wall and began swatting it. It was not a moth but a hole in the wall. But from the melee a new Moth was created. A poverty worker with Vista last summer and a good student who "handicaps my professors," The Moth mixes strong political and equine opinions.
A typical Mothian preamble to his selections goes this way: "What a wonderful world it would be if everyone went to the racetrack. What lovely lessons could be learned. Like what happens when we go to the track and lose and it's only the fourth race. We go home.... It seems that the benevolent autocracy that guides our nation has not gained the wisdom of the racetrack.... Like when they run out of resources, the warm bodies of Negroes, Mexican-Americans and poor whites, they just dig a little deeper and send college grads and law students. Anyway, Moth has one more year of grace before leaving Golden Gate Fields for Vancouver Downs, so let's look at the races." Presumably, The Moth forgoes touting any entry that runs with a saddlecloth marked 1-A.
O SAY! CAN YOU SEE
A petition, signed by more than 120 Southeastern Conference track team members from all 10 schools, has been presented to SEC Commissioner Tonto Coleman. Very simply, the statement declares that the athletes will no longer compete at any event where the American flag is not flown. The ultimatum is in special reference to the SEC indoor meet that is held annually at Montgomery, Ala., the original Confederate capitol, where often only the Stars and Bars have been displayed.
Prime movers of the petition were Tennessee's star athlete Richmond Flowers, whose home town is Montgomery, and Jim Green, a Negro freshman at Kentucky. They were inspired to take action when they stood for the national anthem at this year's meet and suddenly realized "we didn't know where to look," as Flowers says. "It gave us a strange feeling."
Commissioner Coleman expects no difficulty in having the Stars and Stripes also flown next time in Montgomery. If so, it would be a rather timely concession. Alabama was welcomed back to the Union exactly 100 years ago this month.
THE BABY BULLS
The furor that recently arose during the San Isidro Fair in Madrid when a matador named Miguelín leaped into the bullring in his street clothes and casually stroked the warm nose of a supposedly ferocious bull named Ventilador, goes far beyond a conflict of personalities.
Miguelín's "rudeness," for which he got a night in jail, was at first thought merely an attempt to humiliate his more successful rival, El Cordobés, the popular hero of the corrida who was about to ventilate Ventilador when the interruption occurred. It was that, all right, but it had a more important purpose: to demonstrate the amiability of the animals which have helped Cordobés attain his reputation for bravery.
The ploy succeeded beyond Miguelín's hopes—it sent all of Spain into an absolute dither. For the first time it brought into the open serious questions concerning the quality of modern fighting bulls. Lay aficionados finally were ready to join critics in saying: they sure don't make 'em like they used to.
In an article in this magazine last summer (SI, July 24), Rutgers Professor John McCormick, a noted American bullfight authority, stated the issue directly: "The entire art is in danger of disappearance for lack of the essential animal." Many of the toros today are really novillos—3-year-olds—fattened on enriched feeds, who are known quite aptly as "apparent" bulls. However imposing they may appear, they are actually indolent, buckling in their own baby fat. They make one charge and then are content to watch the matador carry on about them with crowd-pleasing histrionics.
Bullfighters' scouts search the land for "comfortable" foes. El Cordobés has angered other toreros, Miguelín prominently among them, not only because he has received excessive publicity, but because he has a lock on just about all the chubby little bulls.
The art obviously is in more danger than are some matadors.
THEY SAID IT
•Pie Traynor, Pittsburgh third baseman and Hall of Famer, on low-scoring baseball games: "The ball is dead. There is no doubt of it. I seen it happen in the past. It goes in cycles—dead ball, live ball. This one is dead. You can even hear it. The crack of the bat sounds dead."
•Phil Roof, Oakland A's catcher, on the same subject: "Pitchers are smarter and stronger, and the slider has made them more effective. Batters don't work at hitting enough. Guys who are naturally line-drive hitters try for home runs. Some umpires are making the strike zone larger."
•Jim Parker, ex-Baltimore Colt tackle, on why he has no plans to unretire: "The other day a guy stole a bottle of whiskey in my place and ran out the door. I chased him for three blocks, but then my legs just gave out."