DAWN OF THE AGE
One of the first hard steps toward cleaning up water pollution has been taken by the state of Maine. Gov. Kenneth M. Curtis announced a two-year, $60 million program that would, he declared, "take care of more than one-third of the municipal water pollution in Maine." Expenditures on water pollution had been averaging$5 million annually. Federal funds would comprise 55% of the $60 million, with the state and local communities providing the rest, but because enough federal funds are not yet available, Maine is "prefunding" 30% of the federal share. The prefunding is possible because of a $50 million water-pollution bond issue approved by the voters last fall. Almost half the money will be spent on the construction of water pollution abatement plants. A state official said that industry had been responsible for most of the water pollution, but that the major offenders were complying with a plan to halt all waste discharges into rivers by 1976.
As Maine goes, so goes the nation, we hope.
The legalizing of off-track betting in New York State, which other states may choose to emulate, has revived interest in the Andros Plan, a suggestion by a Californian named George Andros that his state skip off-track betting and instead legalize on-track betting when the horses are not running. That is, even though the horses have gone on to another track, the horseplayers would turn out as usual, watch piped-in tote-board figures and see closed-circuit telecasts from the distant tracks (both before and during the races) and make their bets at the old familiar windows.
No betting parlors would have to be built, staffed and maintained, and no new and expensive electronic gear would be required (beyond the hookup with the other tracks). The same people would run the operation, thus relieving the state of the problem of going into the betting business, and yet the state would still take its standard cut from the action.
Former California Governor Pat Brown liked the idea, and at one time the proposal was on its way to the state legislature, but after Ronald Reagan defeated Brown the Andros Plan went into limbo. Now an effort is being made in California to revive it.
MASHIES vs. NIBLICKS
Two New Yorkers, Charles White and Connie Seredin, have labored and brought forth the International Professional Golf League, a far-out concept that has become the subject of lively conversation on the golf tour. The IPGL is being formed, says White, because: 1) many pro golfers would welcome a permanent base with guaranteed income, a retirement plan, limited travel and opportunities for "star status" in an adopted community (e.g., Ron Santo is from Seattle, but Chicago is where his name sells pizza); 2) most golf fans never see live golf competition except on television, and even on TV they are increasingly unable to identify with the players because of the abundance of faceless—meaning what's the name of the guy who won this week?—regulars on the tour; 3) many businesses and advertisers (28, according to Seredin's last count) want to sponsor professional golf but can't because there simply is no room on the PGA schedule of events.
White and Seredin say the new league would remedy all this by establishing golf teams in various cities. Each team would have six golfers and would play 60 times a year (30 home-and-home match-play "games") between April and October. Like other team players, the golfers would be paid salaries (between $40,000 and $60,000); no prize money would be available except when teams divided playoff and championship purses. Letters outlining all this went out to touring pros, says Seredin, and, "We got enough back to prove there are guys out there who are interested." The PGA hierarchy has taken no official stand except to express "surprise" that it was not asked for advice.
The IPGL expects to have a final organizational meeting within the month, at which final financial commitments, locations of franchises and procedures for player procurement will be determined. Eight sites seem certain—New York, Chicago, Toronto, Detroit, Atlanta, Phoenix, Florida and New England—and there may be more.
"There are no instructional booklets on how to organize a league," says Seredin, "and so we've been doing this quietly for two years. But in another month the IPGL will be so big it won't be possible to keep it quiet."
WIN, PLACE AND SPLASH
Sportsmen now planning their spring schedules should note that the first annual International Lobster Racing Championship is officially set for May 22. No, not in Maine or any of those obvious seaside places. This event will be staged in downtown Cleveland, a location that does not seem kooky at all when one considers some of the other aspects of the meet.
Veterans of the sport have discovered that lobsters stubbornly resist training and are never really "up" for more than one or two races, reports Nancy Vickerson, a public-relations lady who is running the show. Therefore, it has been decided that the owners will eat the entire field right after the race. After all, it saves the terrible expenses of stabling and feeding those critters. And no need to worry about a winner's circle and the garlands of roses. Conveniently, the championship race will be conducted on the street just outside Fisherman's Cove, a fancy seafood restaurant which Miss Vickerson represents—and there, just across the finish line, will be the bubbling pot.
OUT TO PASTURE
Hank Bauer, in "retirement" since Charles O. Finley fired him as manager of the Oakland Athletics (with a year to go on his contract), offered the following comments to Baltimore Sports-writer Lou Hatter the other day. On the salary checks still coming to him from his Oakland contract: "I walk to that mailbox on the first and 15th of each month, when the check is due from Charlie O. If it's a day late, I phone." On idleness: "I didn't miss baseball all spring, until the games started. Since then, I've been climbing the walls." On managing again: "If another offer came along, I'd have to consider it. But I really don't care that much about managing again. These kids today—you can't tell 'em anything." On what kind of job he'd like: "Right now, I think I'd rather be a coach again."
Thor Heyerdahl is going to make another effort to cross the Atlantic from Africa to Central America in a papyrus boat. His attempt last year failed (SI, April 20) when his craft, the Ra, began to fall apart in heavy seas 800 miles short of land. This year's boat, Ra Two, was built in Morocco instead of Egypt, and its artificers were four Bolivian Indians, rather than Africans from the Lake Chad area. Ra Two follows the same general lines as its ill-fated predecessor, but it is smaller, lighter and, hopefully, stronger. To avoid the winds and waves of the hurricane season, Heyerdahl will leave soon, two weeks earlier than last year's May 25 departure.
In a rather startling switch of environments. Ned Harkness, the immensely successful hockey coach at Cornell the past seven years (SI, Jan. 2, 1967), is leaving to become coach next season of the Detroit Red Wings. John Wilson of the Los Angeles Kings, who coached hockey at Princeton some years ago before moving into the professional game, remarked that Harkness would have to take a rather different approach with his professional athletes than he did with his Ivy Leaguers. "In college," Wilson said, "you coach at a team level. You appeal to the team as a whole, teach it as a whole. In the pros, you have to appeal to individuals, coach different players in different ways. Ned will have to approach his players as grown men who are working at their profession, instead of as boys playing a sport as a pastime. And where he had to get his college team up for only 30 games a season, at most, he'll have to keep his professionals at a competitive level for 76 games, plus the playoffs."
Wilson also pointed out that much of Harkness' success in college hockey (he had 14 impressive years at RPI before moving on to Cornell) was the result of his recruiting ability, which won't do Ned much good in the NHL. "Still," Wilson granted, "he certainly has done a great job on the collegiate level, and no one can say that he won't do the same with the pros."
During the Masters at Augusta after Sam Snead and Takaaki Kono were paired in the first round, a wag remarked: "They got along very well because neither speaks English." This recalls Snead's performance on a Bromo-Seltzer commercial about five years ago. "On the Day of Atonement ah cain't hardly eat," he said. That sounded appropriate enough and made Sam very popular with his Jewish fans. What they did not know was that he really was saying, "On the day of a tournament."
A lady had just hit the Exacta for $148.80 at Pimlico and was idly admiring the lovely ticket in her hand when an unpleasant teen-ager suddenly raced by, grabbed the precious bit of cardboard and fled. There went the $148.80, you would think, but Mrs. Ruth Zieglheafer had bought some losing tickets, too, and they saved her day. She had wheeled the No. 3 horse with all the other horses in the race and, though the winning 3-2 combination was gone, she had all the other tickets in her purse. Track authorities checked the numbers, and, since all Exacta tickets are numbered chronologically, it was simple to determine what the number of the winning ticket was. Mutuel cashiers were alerted, and when the thief attempted to cash in the next day he was taken into custody, and Mrs. Zieglheafer got her $148.80.
The island of Sardinia has its problems: 5,000 without homes in the capital, Cagliari; towns without drains or cemeteries: thousands of children in the Cagliari area who can't go to school because they start work at the age of 10.
But all Sardinia, and much of the rest of the soccer world, was exultant on April 13 because Cagliari shut out Bari 2-0 to clinch the Italian soccer championship, the first time the trophy has gone south of Florence and Bologna.
Among the mob in the stands at Cagliari, the police spotted two wanted criminals and pounced on them. But Gigi Riva, Cagliari's left winger, supported their plea for enough mercy to let them see the rest of the game. Afterward they were taken away in handcuffs.
THEY SAID IT
•Gerald Micklem, former British Walker Cup player and one of Britain's leading golfing figures: "It is time something was done about the slow play of Americans. What they do in their own country is their own affair, but American tourists play the game all over the world now, and everywhere they go there are complaints of their keeping people waiting on the course. With so many people waiting to play the game, this could become a real menace."
•Mike Kilkenny, Detroit pitcher, on the difference between pitching in the minors and the majors: "If you make a mistake in Montgomery, it's a single. If you make a mistake in Toledo, it's a double. If you make a mistake in Baltimore, it's a home run."
•John Plumbley, Rice golf coach, on his team's erratic driving: "When the squirrels and birds see us on the tee they start scattering. We've set back the mating season in Texas 90 days."
•Jacques Cousteau, underwater explorer, on the current practice of using chemicals to sink surface-oil spills: "Imagine how clever of mankind, when he has a big slick of poison on top of the water, to add something to it that will make it sink slowly and kill everything in its path, all the way to the bottom."