HERE WE GO AGAIN
The Olympic Games are still taking a beating. Avery Brundage, the 81-year-old president of the International Olympic Committee, was blasted by Johann Westerhoff, a 53-year-old Dutchman who last January abruptly resigned as secretary-general of the IOC because, says Westerhoff, "Brundage cannot tolerate strong people around him...he wants to do everything himself. So he looks for dependent, servile people." Then Adidas and Puma, the feuding German track-shoe manufacturers (SI, March 10), got together for the first time in 20 years to announce that neither of them would produce the all-white, trademark-free track shoes that amateur athletes are henceforth supposed to wear, or else. And, finally, the Supreme Council for Sport in Africa warned that proposed West German participation in the "racist" South African Games in Bloemfontein represented a grave threat to the 1972 Games in Munich—in other words, if the West Germans competed in South Africa, black Africans might not go to Munich. The West German entry eventually withdrew. SANROC (the South African Non-Racial Open Committee for Olympic Sports) was also calling for an African and West Indian boycott of next year's Commonwealth Games in Scotland if British athletes did not pull out, too.
HELL ON ICE
Football referees occasionally get wiped out on running plays, and baseball umpires take their share of foul tips, but their lives are serene compared to that of a hockey official. This season's casualty list in the NHL includes: Linesman Neil Armstrong, 19-stitch cut across back of hand; Linesman Pat Shetler, splinter in eye from broken stick; Referee Wally Harris, broken collarbone; Referee Vern Buffey, severe leg injury, torn rib cartilage; Linesman Matt Pavelich, broken ribs; Referee Dave Newell, injured tendon in foot; Linesman George Ashley, cut hand; Referee Bill Beagan, back injury; Linesman Malcolm Ashford, severe bruises.
And this list does not include the indignities suffered by Referee Bob Sloan, who was punched by Boston Center Phil Esposito, and Referee Bruce Hood, belted by Los Angeles General Manager Larry Regan.
March 31, 1969
BID AND ASKED
National Industries has dropped its bid to gain control of Churchill Downs. The conglomerate, which was trying to buy at least 50% of the 383,292 shares outstanding, had upped its offer to $37.50 a share in the face of opposition from the Kentucky Derby Protection Group, which included several members of the Churchill Downs board of directors. The Protection Group offered to buy up to 100,000 shares of the stock at $35 and in a full-page ad in the Louisville Courier-Journal had urged stockholders not to sell to the conglomerate.
The board of directors, which, as a group, originally held only about 12% of the stock, comes out of the dispute in a much stronger position, but it was an expensive victory: after National Industries' withdrawal, the over-the-counter stock dropped to $22 bid, $25 asked.
WELL, YOU'RE ANOTHER
John Hadl, whom Joe Namath called the best quarterback in the American Football League, becomes a free agent on April 1. Hadl played out his option with the San Diego Chargers last season, and chances of his signing again with the Chargers seem remote. Relations between Hadl and Charger President Eugene Klein are bitter, to be gentle about it. Klein said recently, "John is an excellent quarterback, but he is no Joe Namath by any stretch of the imagination." Hadl retorted, "I may not be a Joe Namath, but then he's no Sonny Werblin." Klein said, "With the offense we have, any reasonably good quarterback can spur us to a championship." Since the only quarterbacks the Chargers have at the moment are Marty Domres, a rookie, and Jon Brittenum, a two-year veteran who operated the sideline telephone last season, Hadl declared, "It's obvious Klein knows nothing about football. If he thinks he can win without a quarterback, he might be right—but he'll be the first to do it."
All this leaves Commissioner Pete Rozelle with a headache: if Hadl signs with another team, Rozelle must decide how the new team will compensate the Chargers for a quarterback who in 1968 led the AFL in touchdown passes, yards gained passing, completions and—well, nobody's perfect—interceptions.
AND WHAT DIVOTS!
Emergency rules in effect on golf courses in England during World War II, according to a copy of The Golfer's Handbook that recently has come to our attention included the following:
1) Players are asked to collect bomb and shell splinters to save these causing damage to the mowing machines.
2) In competition, during gunfire or while bombs are falling, players may take cover without penalty for ceasing play.
3) The positions of known delayed-action bombs are marked by red and white flags placed at a reasonably, but not guaranteed, safe distance.
4) A ball lying in a crater may be lifted and dropped not nearer the hole without penalty.
5) A ball moved by enemy action may be replaced as near as possible to where it lay, or if lost or destroyed a ball may be dropped not nearer the hole without penalty.
6) A player whose stroke is affected by the simultaneous explosion of a bomb or shell, or by machine-gun fire, may play another ball from the same place. Penalty, one stroke.
Let's have no more complaints about caddies rattling clubs, shall we?
Reports from Japan indicate that the Japanese are getting tired of recruiting shopworn white ballplayers from the U.S. and are concentrating on black ones instead. Names like Dick Stuart, Kent Hadley, Johnny Logan and Marty Keough have disappeared from Japanese rosters, but Willie Kirkland, Carl Boles, Dave Roberts, George Altman and Lou Jackson are riding high.
The original reason for the Japanese move toward Negro players was the feeling that black baseball players were less expensive than the whites, but now it is simply that they have performed better in Japan. "If you want to know the truth," said a Tokyo sportswriter, "I think many white players are impudent. They think they still are great because they once played in the majors, but they don't help the attitude of our younger players. The black players are a little cute, in addition to being good. They are more relaxed. They are better liked."
CALL FOR A SIGHTING
A man named Ed C. Forsythe of Boulder, Colo. has invented a 10-yard marker for football that would do away with delays that occur whenever officials call for a first-down measurement. Forsythe's marker consists of two upright poles that are held in place magnetically precisely 10 yards apart on a subterranean steel bar that travels on underground rails. If, as so often happens, players or officials collide with the uprights, the poles will fall harmlessly to earth. They can be popped back into place exactly where they were before they fell.
A telescopic sight is fixed at eye level on one pole. If any part of the football can be seen on or past the hairline in the sight, it is a first down. Forsythe expects that a second sight, installed lower on the upright, could be linked to a TV camera, thus letting the audience in on what the official sees when he looks through his scope.
Forsythe estimates that the entire system could be installed for about $3,000. He hopes to get the Denver Broncos to put one in their field as a demonstration model. John Waldorf, supervisor of officials for the Big Eight and chairman of the NCAA Football Rules Committee, said his group was interested in taking a look at anything that would speed up the game, especially since the rule calling for time-outs on first downs is extending the elapsed time of games. But, Waldorf warned, "it will be a good long look because we don't want to clutter up the sidelines."
THE BUREAUCRATIC MIND
We mentioned a few weeks ago (SCORECARD, March 10) that a basketball referee in Ohio had called a technical foul on a high school team for dunking the ball in practice and that the game therefore began with a foul shot. Now Dwight Pelkin of the Sheboygan Press reports that at a high school tournament in Wisconsin the Onalaska squad appeared in uniforms whose numbers did not correspond with those in the official scorebook, which is a rule violation. The officials called five consecutive pregame technicals on Onalaska—one for each of the five starting players—and seven more technicals during the game, one for each substitute. We are happy to report that, even though their opponents sank 10 of the 12 free throws given them as a result of this official deepthink, Onalaska won the game, breezing, by 23 points.
BLOCK DOWN ON SAM
The superesoteric jargon of pro football has always fascinated us, which is why we were delighted to receive the following report from Bill McGrane, public-relations man with the Minnesota Vikings:
Pro football is awash with all sorts of catchy little "in" terms: they're hitting us in the crease...block down on Sam...Willy on the short side...go to the dump if they blitz. Receivers no longer "go out for a pass." Instead they square-out or wheel, hook or comeback, drag or curl. They even Z-in.
My favorite "in" term is flare-control, even though I have absolutely no idea what it means. One day this winter I asked our assistant coach, Bob Hollway, about it. The question prompted an instant, coachlike reflex. Hollway leaped to the blackboard, a piece of chalk magically appearing in his hand.
"Now," he said, "in a given set, let's say backs-divide...."
I shifted uncomfortably.
"You understand backs-divide, don't you?"
"What about sixty?"
Hollway began a new, patiently. "Flare-control has to do with the offensive backs assignments as pass receivers or blockers on a given pass play. It tells them, by signal, their assignments as decided by the quarterback."
"Oh. Then it's strictly an offensive matter, huh?"
"Well, yes, it's implemented by the offense, but it's of great importance to the opposing defense, too. You see why, don't you?"
"It can govern what you do?"
"Right!" He beamed. He whirled to the blackboard once more, nimbly x-ing and o-ing all over the place. "So let's say we're in Under with Willy on the Short Side and a Force on Y, Now, say their flare-control is Slot...."
Lost again, I gambled: "They'll hit you in the crease!"
He didn't even flinch. "They might try, but Sam has him for 12 yards with help coming deep in the rotation. Now...."
Silently, I fled. But winter is over now, and I find myself thinking again of flare-control, and how I'll watch for it. Maybe it isn't really so tough after all. One of these days I'll even ask about "flex."
THEY SAID IT
•Tom Haller, Los Angeles Dodger catcher, on the new dimensions of Dodger Stadium, where home plate has been moved forward 10 feet to give hitters a better home-run shot: "I like the outfield fences being closer, but that means they've added 10 feet behind the catcher. I think some guys are going to be surprised at how many at bats they'll lose fouling out near the screen or in front of the boxes down the lines."
•Anatoli Tarasov, coach of Russia's national ice hockey team, on seeing Gordie Howe of the Detroit Red Wings play: "Gordie Howe would not even make my fifth forward line—if I had one. He would have been all right for my team at 30, but not at 40."