There is a lot of talk around the University of Kentucky about building a new 28,000-seat basketball arena, and what nobler sentiment than to name it after Adolph Rupp? Still, when someone proposed calling it the "Rupp Memorial Coliseum," the coach growled that, if it was all the same, "I'd favor the word 'memorial' being left out at this time."
If baseball was upset over the book Ball Four, wait until the movie, which could make Myra Breckenridge look a lot like Snow White. In fact, pitcher-author Jim Bouton is already worried about casting. Let's see: only Paul Newman could play Bouton, right? Then "Elliott Gould would be Steve Hovley," says Jim. "Donald Sutherland will be Gene Brabender." He approved Ernest Borgnine to play Sal Maglie and allowed that "if Selma Diamond were a man, she would be a good Harry Walker." Well, casting managers is tough: None of that routine ribbon-cutting for the new $25.5 million Ontario Motor Speedway, which is California's answer to Indy. To open the track, officials staged special races teaming top pro drivers with amateur celebrities, a lavish production in which the hills were alive with the sound of breaking transmissions. Parnelli Jones drove three fast laps, turned his Porsche 914 over to Paul Newman, who whipped smartly out of the pits and stripped the gears. Ken Venturi missed a pit stop and left Al Unser out of it, and then old leadfoot Pancho Gonzales stepped on it too hard and spun out, four times. His sidekick, Dan Gurney, tried to make up the time by taking a few shortcuts through the infield. Disqualified. Then, Astronaut Pete Conrad flashed past Dick Smothers, which was great, except that the race was over. "It really was a lark," said Smothers, preening after the race. "But when the drivers got out there, they got serious. You know. They all have those egos." Yeah, Dick. We know.
"Remember Lon Chancy Jr., where he first catches sight of the moon and then he looks down at his hands and they're starting to curl? Right at that point, he becomes a baseball manager."
Elsewhere on the film front: it has been reliably reported that Frank Gifford will be screen-tested for the lead in that other epic, The Love Machine. Careful, Frank—remember that blind side tackle at Yankee Stadium in 1960.
August 23, 1970
The guy in the jazzy white sportcoat was Bud Palmer, onetime New York Knicks captain, currently a sportscaster and the city's official greeter. He was adding a new occupation, Bud explained, that of men's fashion designer, and the new coat was part of his thing. It was knit, see, just the right touch for active wear. Well, everybody knows it is a long tradition for the official city greeter to be something of a dandy. Knit coats—hmmm? Beautiful, Bud. Lie still, Grover Whalen.
"I remember your name perfectly, I just can't place your face," observed a bystander at a recent baseball game in Allenberry. Pa., and no wonder. The occasion was the First National Jim Smith Fun Festival, sponsored by the Jim Smith Society, and the Jim Smith Allstars had just defeated the Jim Smith Tel-stars by a score of 15-13. A three-run homer socked by James Michael Smith of Felton decided the game. Winning pitcher was James A. Smith of Ridgeway, losing pitcher James A. Smith of Riverdale, Md. The Allstars voted James R. Smith of Neelyton their Most Valuable Player, an honor accorded by the losing team to James W. Smith of Middletown. More than 100 persons showed up for the proceedings, 33 of them Jim Smiths. For the information of Jim Smiths who may want to inquire about next year's festivities, the founder lives in Camp Hill, Pa. His name is...uhh, James H. Smith Jr.
In a sort of "now it can be told" adventure. Pirate Outfielder Roberto Clemente has revealed that he was kidnapped in San Diego last year. He was peacefully toting a packet of fried chicken back to his hotel one night, he says, and was abducted at gunpoint by four desperadoes. Driven into the hills, he was forced to strip, Roberto says, and the gunmen took his wallet, All-Star ring, $250, and were all set to shoot him—"They already had the pistol inside my mouth." But Roberto smooth-talked them out of it—try that sometime with a pistol in your mouth—and they returned his money, ring, Players' Association card and clothes, and released him. Fine. Well, there was one more tense moment when Roberto heard the gang pull up behind him again. The car window rolled down and Clemente figured this was the end. "Here," the bandit said, and handed back the fried chicken.
Second Most Thrilling Fried Chicken Item of the Week:
Archie Moore, endorsing the stuff, said, "Fried chicken has a personality all its own. It can be a full meal or a snack. It can be eaten at a table or riding in a car. If you can't finish what you've got, wrap it in a napkin and it will keep for some time. You can eat it hot or cold, with a fork or freestyle." That's nice, Archie. But look—don't tell us. Tell Clemente.
Sporting Double-Reverse, End-Around Play of the Week:
First, Mommy threw her five-year-old son out of their Greenwich Village apartment, telling him to get lost. He did. That was bad. But police found him and brought him back. That was good. "Mommy's got grass in there," the boy said. And Mommy did have, 11 bricks of marijuana, about 25 pounds. Mommy was arrested. Win one for the nipper.
Far East policy passed another test in Tokyo last week. Japan's Foreign Minister Kiichi Aichi had already rapped out two singles, the eighth inning was coming up and the score was tied at 8-all in the annual East-West Embassy soft bail game. And up stepped Chief Umpire Armin H. Meyer to call it a diplomatic draw, which may not have saved a whole lot of face, but didn't hurt his other job as U.S. Ambassador.