THE TURMOIL OF THE TIMES
The student council at San Diego State voted 12-10 to cancel a game next fall with Brigham Young. The football squad voted 51-0 to play the game. The question eventually will be settled either by a student referendum or by the school's president. Meantime, a football player and Navy veteran named Bill Pierson became a controversial figure on campus because he would not let the American flag be lowered during an anti-war demonstration. He stood by the flagpole for three hours, defying a group of protesters, none of whom chose to challenge him (Pierson is 6'3", weighs 250 pounds and has been drafted by the New York Jets). He said later, "I was born under that flag, I fought for that flag, and I'm going to college today because of what it represents. No one is going to desecrate it as long as I can defend and protect it."
Nonetheless, the flag was lowered to half mast the next day, whereupon Pierson criticized the college administration, saying, "There are a lot of us who are fed up with the silly business of an administration letting a small group of radicals push around more than 20,000 students. I have worked hard for five years to get my degree in business administration and I was due to graduate in June. Now we are told we are likely to lose credits because we cannot get in the required hours of classroom work. We are taking an academic whipping from a handful of people a lot of us have absolutely no use for."
Three thousand miles away, at Hobart College in upstate New York, more than 90 athletes (Hobart has 1,100 undergraduates) signed a petition suggesting that "collegiate sport has become an integral part of American life...and suspension of it would further serve the cause of awakening the American people to the folly of our present military expansion in Southeast Asia. The world of sport is not immune to the national student strike." Seventeen members of Princeton's varsity baseball squad issued a somewhat milder anti-war statement which they distributed to spectators at their games. It said, "There is much misunderstanding and perhaps indignation about what is occurring on the nation's college campuses today. We are interested in doing whatever we can to dispel these confusions. We would like to talk to you...."
May 24, 1970
WATCH ON THE WORLD CUP
News continues cheerful all over the place. Reports from Mexico say that Latin-American guerrillas, who have done such a brisk trade in kidnapping and occasionally killing prominent hostages, have their eyes on Pelé, Brazil's preeminent soccer star. Pelé is in Guanajuato, training for the World Cup matches that will be held in Mexico City in June. Mexican police have put security guards in hotels, training sites and other areas the athletes frequent, with special attention being paid to Pelé, who should be used to crowds by now.
BLEW IT AGAIN
Given two choices, the International Olympic Committee can be guaranteed, money-back, to make the wrong one. Offered four or more choices, as its 73 members were last week in Amsterdam, there is no way the IOC can fail to louse up at least two. Which is what this near-fossilized example of the two-generation gap managed to do. The IOC picked Montreal and Denver as sites for the 1976 Olympic Games when it should have picked Los Angeles and Vancouver.
Recriminations from an overconfident Russian delegation aside (it claimed that Moscow, a late bidder for the Summer Games, lost out to a North American conspiracy and a vote dictated by narrow-minded Western politics), the IOC named two obviously less well prepared cities to handle what are the world's most demanding sports organizational jobs. Montreal and Denver are wonderful places to visit but you would hardly want to run or swim or ski there when Los Angeles and Vancouver are available.
For the Summer Games, Los Angeles offered much the best facilities for both sporting venues and hotel accommodations, as well as a $40 million TV contract that could have done a lot toward filling the IOC's traditionally lean bank account. But LA's bid was perhaps too persistent, too characteristic of the high-pressure U.S. salesmanship that often irritates rather than convinces.
As for the Winter Games, Vancouver's actual site, Garibaldi, is 75 miles north of the city and isolated much in the manner of Squaw Valley, which was by a couple of space shots the last really good location for a Winter Olympics. There, in a radius of 2.5 miles, Garibaldi contains absolutely every facility for winter sports, including the Olympic Village. But Vancouver was a victim of Montreal; the site for the Summer Games was selected first and one nation is not going to get both Olympics in one year. So Denver, despite such flaws as its mile-high altitude and venues 40 miles apart, won by default.
The IOC has failed again. Who says the world is changing?
CASTLES IN THE AIR
The Phillies, the Pirates and the Reds all expected to move into shiny new stadiums this year, but it is beginning to look as though all three may be at the same rickety old stand until next season. A construction strike in Philadelphia that began May 1 has caused the Phils, who had hoped to play their first game in the new park on July 24, to print tickets for old Connie Mack Stadium for the rest of the season. "We still hope to get into the new stadium before the season ends," says a Phillie official, "but unless the strike ends soon our chances will be slim to none." The Pirates had May 29 as their latest target date, but construction of the Pittsburgh arena has been delayed by everything from political shenanigans to racial demonstrations to, not one, but a series of strikes (including that of the ready-mix concrete drivers, which stopped work on ramps, sidewalks and service roads). Originally, the stadium was supposed to be ready for Opening Day; now it is a question whether it will be finished before the football season.
As for the Reds, they not only expected to be in their new park by mid-summer, they planned on staging the All-Star Game there on July 14. Technically, it would be possible to put on the game even though the stadium will not be completely finished—but the Reds would have to move out again right afterwards and the effort and expense of training an entire stadium crew for one big show is prohibitive. Commissioner Bowie Kuhn says May 30 will be the day when the decision will be made whether to keep the game in Cincy or shift it to Atlanta. Right now, Atlanta has a lock on it.
IT'LL NEVER CATCH ON
If next winter you get tired of hearing skiers boasting about difficult schusses down precipitous slopes, tell them about Yuichiro Miura. Miura, a Japanese, skied down Mount Everest a couple of weeks ago, most of the way on one ski (he lost the other en route). He attained a speed of 93.6 mph during his two-mile dash (Everest's peak is nearly six miles above sea level; Miura started at an altitude of 24,418 feet) and was saved from plunging into a crevasse by small parachutes he was wearing as stabilizers.
What was that you were saying about Al's Run at Taos?
Most pro football fans had to wait until Friday, May 22, to see Ed Sabol's 1970 Super Bowl film on national TV but Kansas City fans—or an elite corps of them—got to see a preview last week. It was quite a show. Before the Super Bowl, Sabol and his son Steve got KC Coach Hank Stram to let them wire him for sound and do close-up filming of him during the game. The result is that Stram is the star of the production. He strides the sidelines like a conquering sea captain pacing the deck of his ship. He orders Len Dawson to keep using short passes because using them is "like stealing." When the Chiefs recover a kickoff, he says, "Here it comes, boys, the 65 toss power trap," in anticipation of the touchdown Mike Garrett promptly scores. At one point he comments, "Their defense is running around like a Chinese fire drill." At another he shouts, "Keep matriculating that ball down the field, Lenny." He berates officials, jaw to jaw, demanding, "How could all six of you miss that play?"
The Sabols had not asked Commissioner Pete Rozelle for permission to wire Stram, and at the premiere Rozelle said, "I guess they were afraid I'd say no." Would he have? "I don't know," Rozelle admitted. "I do know that wiring Stram added a dimension to the film."
Stram himself was thoughtful about the results. "There is a mystique about pro football that helps account for its popularity," he said. "Part of that derives from the fact that fans don't actually know what goes on down there, what coaches tell players, what they say to officials, what players and officials reply. I'm not sure this film won't destroy some of that mystique. I suppose it's all right for a onetime thing, but I don't think it should be done very often."
MR. METRO SPEAKS
Charlie Metro, manager of the Kansas City Royals, thinks baseball should alter its traditional high, square base. "They beveled the edges of home plate to reduce the chances of players catching their spikes," says Metro, "and the bases are even worse. Why can't they be rounded off and recessed slightly into the ground?" Charlie also believes rosters are too large. "I think 25 players are too many. There's no way you can use them all, and the ones sitting on the bench are always dissatisfied. I don't blame them. Nobody likes to sit. If you had only 21 players, everybody would get plenty of work. And it would force us to do a better job of managing. We'd have to conserve our pinch hitters, go longer with our starters, save our relief men until they were really needed. It would make more players available for the weaker teams, and I don't think it would hurt the general caliber of play at all."
THEY SAID IT
•Richie Allen, St. Louis Cardinal slugger and horseman, on artificial playing surfaces: "If a horse can't eat it, then I don't like it."
•Buzzie Bavasi, San Diego Padre president and former Dodger general manager, on his club's low attendance to date: "You can't fool the people here. They've got too much else they can do. You have to give them some entertainment. They want a winner. Heck, in Los Angeles, 20,000 people would show up at the park accidentally, just to see what the lights were about."