CAUSE FOR ALARM
It was reported and then denied last week that a handgun had been drawn in the clubhouse of the woefully troubled California Angels. The denial has a phony ring.
There are ball players who carry guns—more than the occasionally naive commissioner, Bowie Kuhn, would like to admit, although he did punish Denny McLain for carrying one.
When muggers are rampant in the streets and ball parks are often situated in dangerous areas—which don't improve after a night game—one might have some sympathy for the player (or spectator) who chooses to arm himself. But it behooves baseball management to think hard about the possibility of a truly damaging incident in the often rancorous atmosphere of the clubhouse. Jim Bouton could get hurt.
NEW LOOK FOR BASEBALL?
Bob Holbrook, who makes up the American League schedule, has now worked out a system for three baseball leagues arranged geographically so that they would set up natural rivalries and, more than incidentally, save a lot on travel expenses.
Here's how his leagues would shape up:
East—Montreal, Boston, New York Yankees, New York Mets, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington.
Central—Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Milwaukee, Minnesota, Cleveland, Detroit, Atlanta, Cincinnati.
West—Kansas City, Houston, St. Louis, San Diego, Anaheim, Oakland, San Francisco, Los Angeles.
This would create such natural rivalries as Yanks-Mets, Cubs-White Sox, Athletics-Giants, Angels-Dodgers, Royals-Cardinals.
If there should be no interleague play, Holbrook suggests a 154-game schedule, 22 against each opponent, 11 home, 11 away.
If there is interleague play, Holbrook envisions a 150-game schedule, 126 against league rivals and 24 spread among four clubs from the other two leagues—three home, three away—on a rotating basis. The formula calls for a three-team round robin in the World Series. This would mean a minimum of eight Series games and a maximum of 11.
Holbrook had the blessing of American League President Joe Cronin for his project. Tom Yawkey, Red Sox owner and an influential man in baseball circles, said he likes the idea "at first glance."
"I think I'd vote for it," Yawkey said. "I've always thought the old eight-team, 154-game schedule was the best anyway."
It is possible for a dog to be just too good. There is the case of Izz A Champ, racing greyhound. The Daytona Beach Kennel Club has offered to pay his owner, Mrs. Dorothy Roban, not to run him, even though she has a contract to finish out the summer at the track.
Champ has won 38 of 45 races in his career and finished in the money all but once. Conservative bettors back him to the point that they have created sizable minus pools, costing the track as much as $3,000 when he races.
The track is required to return at least 10% on money wagered on a greyhound who finishes in the money. Since a 10% return on almost a sure thing is better than banks are offering these days, the show pool at Daytona suddenly became the most popular form of betting. And it's a rare bettor who reports such wins to the Internal Revenue Service.
With 15 weeks of racing left in the season and Champ scheduled to go twice a week, the track figured it could save money by paying him not to run. There is a precedent for this too. Back in the mid-'40s, Flashy Sir was paid by several tracks to take his exercise elsewhere. He had won 60 of 80 races and ran out of the money only six times.
Mrs. Roban is thinking it over.
HAUTE CUISINE ON THE HEIGHTS
The food customarily consumed during mountain climbs would hardly interest a gourmet, but the British Army Catering Corps is about to change that.
In August a team composed of Captain Nigel Gifford of the Catering Corps and Martin Chambers of the Royal Marine Commandos will leave for the Swiss Alps and an assault on the northeast face of the perilous Eiger.
With them they will carry rations chosen by Major Brynley Griffiths of the Catering Corps. Among the dishes: poulet sauté Alpine (chicken breasts and vegetables cooked in a white wine sauce and flavored with Gruy√®re cheese); le cari tie Madras an riz (a curry with rice); and Zigeuner Speise (veal cooked with wine, cream and pimentos).
For dessert there will be chocolate, jelly babies and dolly mixture. The latter two are types of candy favored by English children.
"I think something amusing will be good for the morale," explains Major Griffiths.
The pesky blackflies of Maine and other northern areas, which are so ferocious that they have been known to kill cattle, now are being tricked by a strange device—the hard hat.
The discovery was made by an unknown fisherman in northern Alberta who, for one reason or another, donned a hard hat for a day on the stream. By happenstance it was of unpainted aluminum and he had smeared it with a thin film of fuel oil.
The flies swarmed to the hat and settled greedily on the oil, paying no attention to the fisherman's face. When the hat was covered with flies he wiped it off with the same oily rag and went on fishing.
Now the idea is being tested, with early success, by Maine Forestry Department Insect Rangers, who have discovered that only unpainted aluminum hats seem to work. The very choosy flies are not interested in green or white fiberglass hats.
Unfortunately, the hats have no effect on mosquitoes.
THERE IS, AFTER ALL, A LIMIT
Once the most rigid of sport's governing bodies, the Texas Interscholastic League is relaxing.
There was a time when a high school athlete could not accept a prize in a greased pig contest. It would have compromised his amateur status. But now the league has ruled that a high school athlete may win cash prizes as a professional bowler, wrestler or rodeo performer and still be eligible for his school's football, basketball and baseball teams.
On the other hand, just to show that it is still tough, the league is standing firm against a proposal that would have permitted electric typewriters in the annual state high school typing contests.
THE DOVE LOVER
After nine years of legal maneuvering, Joseph Aiuppa, Chicago racketeer, is finally serving a three-month jail sentence for possession of 500 mourning doves, which is 452 over the legal limit (SI, Dec. 3, 1962).
Long an ardent hunter, Aiuppa, who has come to be known in mob circles as Joey Doves, helped organize the Yorkshire (yes, Yorkshire) Quail Club, a private hunting preserve near St. Anne, Ill.
After federal agents caught him, Joey was tried twice and twice found guilty. But after the first conviction he got a new trial on the basis of illegal search. He was found guilty again in March 1970, despite his lawyer's clever plea that the birds were not doves but passenger pigeons. The judge pointed out that passenger pigeons have been extinct since 1914, then imposed a $1,000 fine and the three-month sentence.
In jail, Joey has been described by cell mates as a cheerful companion who plays gin rummy but not for stakes, since that would be gambling.
INSTANT RED FACES
Baseball umpires, leaving a park, sometimes have to run a gauntlet of abuse, verbal and occasionally physical, after they have made a seemingly wrong call on a crucial play. But, except in the minds of the most zealous fans, a fair man would have to concede that the ump, since he was closest to the play, had the best opportunity to judge it.
Now even that consolation seems about to be taken from the officials. In just a few years, says Hal Uplinger, TV sports producer, the instant replay that home TV fans now enjoy will be available to the paying fan on giant screens installed in ball parks. And that could be a dreadful embarrassment to an erring umpire.
Uplinger, whose director, Tony Verna, invented the instant replay, noted that racing fans at Hollywood Park, after watching a race through their own binoculars, crowd around the 100 closed-circuit monitors at the park to watch a rerun. What is attractive to racing fans, says Uplinger, will be attractive to followers of other sports.
It's an attractive idea—provided you are not an umpire.
THE WELL-EDUCATED ATHLETE
The only substantial worry a successful Russian athlete has is that when he gets too old to compete he may have to find a job. Igor Ter-Ovanesyan, the long jumper who once jointly held the world record with our Ralph Boston, appears to be getting to that stage.
At 33, Ter has been a phys ed student for 15 years even though he is married and the father of two children. At the Moscow Institute of Physical Culture he has been enjoying a life free of financial worry. But now he has graduated with a master's degree, having worked for the past five years on a dissertation about the problems of training top-class athletes, including himself.
Though Ter still hopes to win at the European championships this year and to compete in the 1972 Olympics, he may have had a premonition of what it is like to be over the hill in last year's U.S.-U.S.S.R. dual meet, when he jumped less than 26 feet and lost to Bouncy Moore. Russian fans booed him. Hence the completion of the master's dissertation and thoughts of lining up a job.
"After the Olympics," he said, "I'll hang up my spikes and begin training the youngsters."
WELCOME BACK, SQUETEAGUE
In an age when so many species are disappearing, it's nice to know that one sporting fish is coming back with the impact of a population explosion. It is the weakfish, a cousin of the spotted sea trout, which ranges along the Atlantic coast from the Carolinas to Cape Cod, where it is known as squeteague, its Indian name.
In 1957, to the dismay of sport fishermen, weakfish disappeared from northern waters almost overnight. Marine biologists came up with a variety of explanations, such as increasing pollution and the taking of the young by the cat food industry. But this year the weakfish have come back in great numbers. Ten-pounders have been caught already in Rhode Island waters.
Scientists at the Sandy Hook (N.J.) Sport Fisheries Marine Laboratory have been collecting scale samples of the weaks in an effort to determine just when the successful spawning occurred, but it is highly unlikely that they will be able to come up with the why of it. As Dr. Lionel Walford of the lab says, "It's a mystery to us and I couldn't give the answer to save my soul."
THEY SAID IT
•Clete Boyer, new Hawaii Islander third baseman, on his $1,000 fine for gambling: "I'd go double or nothing with Bowie Kuhn, but I don't think he'd go for that."
•Abe Lemons, Oklahoma City basketball coach: "The reason I don't have a curfew is because it's always your star who gets caught."
•Pirate General Manager Joe Brown, who for the first time in 17 years was not approached by any team before the June 15 trading deadline: "I called a couple of clubs myself. I tried trading John Gal-breath to Houston for Judge Hofheinz, but they weren't interested."