INSUBORDINATION AT THE TOP
After that bench-clearing brawl during their April 8 Stanley Cup game in New York, Clarence Campbell, National Hockey League president, quickly imposed fines totaling $16,550 on the Toronto Maple Leafs, the New York Rangers and individuals on their teams. It was an unprecedentedly tough act by Campbell but it came only after he had warned all NHL clubs a few weeks earlier that the sport could not long tolerate the meaningless fights that so often have marred the game. He had, he said then, decided to penalize severely those responsible—not just the players but also the clubs that have the responsibility for controlling them.
After the battle was over, Campbell observed that "these incidents reflect no credit on the league or any of the participants and were a blatant violation of the declared policy of the league. To curtail this menace, the governors authorized the imposition of a much more severe schedule of penalties two years ago, which has remedied the situation to some degree. However, this policy cannot be effective unless it has the complete and wholehearted support of top-level management of every club."
Well, it doesn't have that support. Stafford Smythe, president of the Maple Leafs, is stubbornly refusing to pay the fine, and William Jennings, Ranger president, is planning an appeal to the league's board of governors, composed of 14 men, of whom he seems to control a majority.
"Let 'em fight," seems to be the attitude of the owners. Well, like most fans, we won't complain too much as long as they also let 'em play a little hockey. In the Ranger-Leaf game, they almost forgot to.
OIL ON TROUBLED ICE
There are arguments to be made on both sides of every question, most especially in the field of ecology, and, in the case of the controversial Alaska oil pipeline, quite a few have been made so far without too much in the way of scientific backing. All the facts in that area are not yet in but it is interesting to note that Angus Gavin, a fully reputable ecologist, former senior vice-president of Ducks Unlimited Canada and discoverer of the breeding ground of the Ross goose, has turned in a report, based on two years of study, on what might be expected to happen as a result of the development of the Arctic's petroleum potential. It must be kept in mind that Gavin made his study as an employee of the Atlantic Richfield Company, whose vested interest in petroleum development of the Arctic is vast.
Even so, Gavin's reputation is impeccable. These are some of the conclusions he has so far reached:
1. The pipeline will not interfere with the migratory habits of caribou.
2. Grizzly bears are attracted, rather than driven away, by oil operations because they find food (garbage) around the camps and drilling sites.
3. Arctic char, whitefish and grayling do spawn in some rivers of the slope, and gravel, necessary for breeding in those streams, should not be disturbed. However, the removal of large amounts of gravel from riverbeds near the coast, where the fish do not spawn, has not affected runs.
4. The North Slope is a "low density" area for waterfowl, and oil operations should not seriously affect their situation.
Much of the worry has centered around the seemingly reasonable fear that caribou would be driven from their normal migration routes and, perhaps, suffer in some way that might lead to their extinction.
But, says Gavin, "the herds will parallel, not cross, the pipeline's path. In fact," he adds, "they seem to be rather blasé about the whole proceedings."
Caribou, he says, have shown no hesitation about stepping over water and feed lines at the base camps and he feels that they would readily use crossings to be built over elevated portions of the pipeline.
UMPS OUT AT THE PLATE
In a gesture of friendship 40 San Antonio umpires, members of the Southwest Baseball Umpires Association, invited 90 high school baseball coaches to a party. It might help tame them, the umps felt.
The peace-loving umpires stocked up with 75 dozen hot tamales, 14 cases of beer, six cases of soda pop and potato chips and dip.
Seven coaches showed up. The mongoose has more love for the cobra than baseball coaches have for umpires.
THE ULTIMATE APPRAISAL
The serious student of literature always has had trouble in ranking his authors, who may range from Shakespeare all the way down to Philip Roth. Now come Peter Ellis and Jan Feidel, comparative literature students at Rutgers, who have chosen to equate some of our better-known writers with their equivalents in basketball. It goes like this:
J. D. Salinger (Dave Bing)—A fine-shooting guard. He is the best, but then again not the best. People still talk about a move he made in the All-Star Game a few years back.
Nabokov (Chet Walker)—Slow but thorough. Good head fakes, unstoppable one-on-one. Will score from in close, but yet, smooth as he is, there is something heavy-handed, too methodical about his play. Controls ball too much. No team player.
Proust (Bob Cousy)—Good peripheral vision.
F. Scott Fitzgerald (Elgin Baylor)—Injury prone. A great scorer who was known for his moves and his ability to hang in midair, stay up all night on a jump shot. Ended up in L.A.
James Joyce (Lew Alcindor)—If you like him, he's the greatest.
Norman Mailer (Billy Cunningham)—Million-dollar contract. Erratic outside shot though not reluctant to shoot it. The kangaroo kid has great spring and sweeping drive (his first step is impressive). Famous for his moon shot.
John Updike (Jack Marin)—A deadly forward. Pretty jump shot but still an ugly ballplayer.
Yeats (The old Celtics).
A LOT IN THIS NAME
You can tell some players, at least, without a scorecard.
Who, having committed the name to memory, will ever be able to forget the immortal Saleutogi Lanititi Tafu Letuligasenoa? He has transferred to the University of New Mexico after starring as a fullback at Palomar (Calif.) Junior College.
A long cheer for Letuligasenoa. His friends call him Tony.
Leave it to Hollywood, with its genuine simulated zircon approach to life, to come up with an aid to erring husbands. Or wives, for that matter.
The aid is a cassette recording of a variety of sound effects. There are crowd noises from an all-purpose, any-season sports event—cheers, whistles, peanut vendors—which can be interpreted as basketball, baseball, football, hockey, etc. On the same tape one may select the sounds of a bowling alley—the din of rumbling balls and hurtling pins. There is even a working-late-at-the-office selection that goes clickety-clicketyding. Turn the tape to the recording of your choice and make that duty call home to the trusting little woman. Hold your portable tape recorder reasonably close to the telephone and thereby establish clear proof that you really are at the game.
"It's all a gag," says Dan Tourin, a printing-company salesman whose first venture into novelty merchandising occurred to him one evening last winter while tape recording the sound of printing presses where he works. "At $4.95 it's worth a laugh or two, but I trust most people know easier, less expensive ways to be devious."
Some do, some don't.
FROM CLEATS TO SPIKES
When 1964 Olympic 100-meter champion Bob Hayes became a professional football player, he lost his amateur standing in track and field, too. The same thing happened to Frank Budd, John Carlos, Henry Carr, Jim Hines, Earl McCullouch and Tommie Smith—all of them world-record holders or Olympic champions.
Now, at the behest of Jack Kelly, new president of the Amateur Athletic Union, the AAU has proposed to track's international governing body, the International Amateur Athletic Federation, that professionals in other sports should be allowed to compete as amateurs in track and field. The idea was approved by the IAAF Council and needs only to be ratified by the IAAF Congress when it meets at Munich during the 1972 Olympics.
Chances for passage are considered "excellent" by American IAAF delegate Dan Ferris, who says the new rule would probably take effect early in 1973, making any pro athletes who might be interested eligible for the 1976 Games.
ONE SMALL COMPLAINT
Back in 1965 Bob Armstrong of Des Moines saw his first professional football game—between the Minnesota Vikings and the Baltimore Colts. He was not impressed. Armstrong is 5'7" and weighs 159 pounds.
"I thought it was ridiculous for people to idolize those big football players, just bumping heads out there," he says. He was convinced that smaller players could produce a more exciting game.
So Armstrong has incorporated the 159 Pro Football League, which limits its players to those who are 5'9" or shorter and weigh 159 pounds or less. Also, he has set up a 159 Decathlon for the coming summer and has organized a social group called the International Organization of Smaller Persons.
Results, so far, have not been spectacular. A hard core of 35 athletes have signed up and some 200, all told, have signified interest. Armstrong hopes to have teams in spring drills a year from now, with an eight-team league limited to Iowa.
Then, who knows?
A CHANCE FOR THE SUBS
The Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League has adopted a new substitution rule that permits starting players to be removed from a baseball game and then return once with no shifting of positions or batting order.
John Conte, league baseball chairman and coach of Ringgold High School, explains: "The purpose of the new rule is to give more kids a chance to play without hurting the team that is winning the game." For example, a team leading by 8-1 could send subs in for the shortstop, left and right fielder. Two innings later, with the score cut to 8-5, the regulars could return to their same positions and batting order. Thus, three subs would have a chance to play without necessarily determining the game's outcome.
It just might catch on among other high schools since the WPIAL is a power to be reckoned with in baseball. In addition to Stan Musial, it has produced a score of big-leaguers—such players as Dick Groat, Pirates; Bob Priddy, Braves; Bruce Dal Canton, Royals; Hank Sauer, Cubs; and Ed Roebuck, Dodgers.
THEY SAID IT
•John Miller, observing that he was happy not to be paired with Jack Nicklaus in the closing round of the Masters: "That man makes you feel sort of insuperior."
•Telecaster at halftime in the Baltimore Bullets-New York Knicks playoff game, won by Baltimore 101-80: "Those Bullets rose like Lazarus from the ashes."
•Bob Gibson, St. Louis Cardinal star pitcher, who is against golf, hunting and all other exercise during off season, asked what he did to keep in such good shape: "Nothing. I spend all winter just trying to get out of shape."
•Willie Pep, former world featherweight champion, on a report that he had died: "Naw, I didn't die last night. I wasn't even out of the house."
•Charlie Finley, Oakland A's owner, on Hank Bauer, whom he hired and fired twice: "He's the kind of guy I'd like to go hunting with. I would trust him around me with a gun."