ANOTHER PROBLEM FOR PETE
Seven Baltimore merchants whose stores are only half a mile from Memorial Stadium have gone to court in an attempt to stop the Colts from playing the Miami Dolphins there on Saturday afternoon, Dec. 11. Originally, the Colts were scheduled to play the Dolphins in the Orange Bowl that day, but someone belatedly found out that the Dec. 11 date belonged to Florida A & M for its annual Orange Blossom Classic. For Pete Rozelle, the solution is simple. The Colts and Dolphins switch home-and-home dates, with the Colts going to Miami on Nov. 21 and the Dolphins to Baltimore on Dec. 11. But a Saturday afternoon game two weeks before Christmas would create parking and traffic tangles, the merchants say, that would cause them "irreparable loss of sales, income and customers" during the peak of the holiday shopping season. Simple again. Just switch the game from Saturday to Sunday, right? But the Saturday afternoon date is to accommodate NBC, which televises pro football on Saturday afternoons in December after the college season ends. Thus a direct economic confrontation: NBC needs the game and the merchants need their Christmas sales. Interesting case. Stay tuned.
STORM KING (CONT.)
The eight-year-old fight between conservationists and Consolidated Edison, the New York power company, a landmark struggle for ecologists, seemed to come to an end last week when a U.S. Court of Appeals upheld by a 2-1 vote Con Ed's right to build a power plant on the Hudson River at Storm King Mountain. But groups opposing the plant insist that the legal battle will continue—by carrying the suit to the Supreme Court, or by challenging the validity of a "water quality certificate" issued by New York State, or by asking the courts to reexamine, among other points, the fish-mortality study offered in evidence by Con Edison.
Con Edison held that the fish study clearly demonstrated that ecological damage from the power-plant operation would be minimal, but Dominick Pirone, a biologist representing the Hudson River Fishermen's Association, argues that the study was misleading. "The mathematical equation used to project the probable mortality of young fish, particularly striped bass," says Pirone, "considered the Hudson as a river that flows only downstream. But the Hudson is to a great extent a tidal estuary, and the ebb and flow of the tides have a significant influence on fish life. Instead of a 3½% to 4% mortality, as Con Ed claims, the correct figure is 35% to 50%, which would be an ecological disaster. We want the court to be aware of that discrepancy."
LSU has a promising freshman defensive end named Donald Freeman, who is distinctive among LSU football players because he is both black and a "walk-on." That is, he showed up for football practice on his own, asked if he could try out and made the freshman team. LSU has two other black freshmen football players, but both are on scholarship.
Coach Charlie McClendon, curious as to why he lucked into such a fine prospect, asked the 6'1", 205-pound Freeman how come he had not gone to Grambling, perennial football power among predominantly black colleges and the place where an unheralded black high school player from Baton Rouge would be more likely to land.
"Coach," said Freeman, "I couldn't make it at Grambling. You have to weigh 250 to play defensive end for them."
An item here a few weeks back about the synergistic relationship of sea gulls and garbage prompted a resident of the state of Maine to tell us about a local real-estate dealer. He was showing a piece of property to some summer people (who are always gulls in Down East stories) when they noticed a flock of the large sea birds circling an area just over the hill from the land they were looking at. "Isn't that pretty," they remarked as they watched the graceful, soaring flight of the gulls. "Ayuh," replied the real-estate man, "that's our bird sanctuary." Which is how the summer people ended up owners of a lovely piece of land just a wing flap from the town dump.
Politicians are always making cutesy bets on things like the World Series and big intersectional football games. You know the routine. Governor A bets Governor B a crate of the Rutabaga State's prime agricultural crop, and Governor B covers the bet with an armful of his state's famous liverwurst. It's always good for a paragraph in the home-town papers.
This fall the Senators from Maryland (Baltimore Orioles) and Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh Pirates) struggled onto the publicity stage before the World Series. They skipped the standard commodity bet—a carload of coal against a barrel of soft-shelled crabs?—and instead agreed that the losers would treat the winners to an elephant ride past the Capitol building in Washington. It was a confusing bet, since normally you would think the losers would be the ones who had to get up on the elephant, but politicians think differently from most people.
Unhappily, the bet has not yet been paid, because the Senators are having a terrible time finding an elephant. They thought they would just pop down to the local zoo and borrow one, but apparently zoo elephants won't do. Like horses, the big animals have to be trained to carry people. Then an attempt was made to rent a proper elephant from Polack Brothers Circus, which was playing in nearby Richmond. Fine, the circus said: it would rent three for $500. "That was too much," a senatorial aide said, "and they wouldn't rent just one. I guess they didn't want to break up a set." Now all concerned are waiting for Ringling Brothers-Barnum & Bailey to reach the area. The Ringlings will come through, they say. An elephant will be supplied, the bet will be paid and the country can go back to worrying about foreign aid and Howard Cosell.
THE SILVER CRASHER
On the well-established note that it is never too early to start Christmas shopping, we now offer this little dandy from the Neiman-Marcus catalog: a $750 ski pass. Not just an ordinary pass, since the Dallas store always does it up big. This number (only 100 will be sold) comes in silver, has a handsome Italian-leather case, and is worn around the neck on a leather thong. It provides for unlimited 1971-72 season skiing throughout the Rockies—in Aspen, Breckenridge, Jackson Hole, Park City, Steamboat, Sun Valley, Taos, Vail and Winter Park. At some of the resorts, the store promises, the pass also will get you to the front of the lift line.
It's that last part that really hurts. Merry Christmas and all that, Neiman-Marcus, but kindly wait in the lift line like everybody else.
NEW INDOOR SPORT
Psychiatrists, psychologists, sociologists and the like have been having an orgy with sport lately. Not participating in sport, although lots of them do, but analyzing and dissecting it down to the last latent urge. For example, next month a Conference on Sport and Social Deviancy will be held at the State University College at Brockport, N.Y. The three-day meeting will start off Thursday with "Cheating in Sport," featuring separate papers on "Cheating in Card Games," "Bowling Hustlers" and "Poolroom Hustlers." That evening the group will hear about "Violence Among Professional Hockey Players." The Friday sessions will touch on things like "The Background of the Nazi Olympics," "The Athlete as a Deviant Subculture" and "Leftist Attitudes Toward Sports." The windup on Saturday will deal with "Social and Psychological Problems Associated with Extreme Competition for Children." Plenty of fun and games there.
Not long ago Dr. Wesley Hall, the new president of the American Medical Association, was quoted as saying that "all professional athletes are psychopaths." Dr. Hall may well have tossed out the line as a jovial aside, but the publicity the remark received annoyed Dr. Charles Carluccio, a New Jersey psychiatrist. "A psychopath is antisocial," replied Dr. Carluccio, "and unable to withstand frustrations. He acts impulsively for his own immediate needs. Nobody could be these things and participate successfully in professional athletics. There may be a few disturbed persons in pro sport but to label all athletes psychopaths is as bad as saying every boy with long hair is a drug addict."
Finally, Dr. William Garland Tompkins of Washington got into the act with "American men need television football. It gives them a chance to let out their feelings." He blames our technological world—although he approves of instant replay—for the relatively few emotional outlets left for the American male. He thinks wives and husbands should watch football together, warning that if they cannot agree on that, then abrasive attitudes may arise "that have been kept in about other irritating situations."
The implication is clear. If man cannot let off steam watching football, he is apt to run amok. Maybe so, but long observation of man cum football on TV leads to the conclusion that he may just possibly enjoy seeing a game of strength and skill. Also, he may have a bet down.
Rick Reichardt, the Chicago White Sox outfielder, wants baseball to get rid of its traditional knickers-style uniform and replace it with a new type. "Johnny Sain and I were talking one day, and he suggested a kind of jump suit," explains Reichardt, "with the stirrup socks attached directly to the bottom of the pants legs, like women's stretch slacks. The point is, the key to a player's longevity in the game is his legs." In the traditional uniform, the top of the stockings and the bottom of the pants all come together at one point, at the calf, and the stockings are sometimes held up by elastic that acts as a kind of a tourniquet. "That can cause anoxia [lack of oxygen] in the lower leg, and that, in turn, can lead to muscle injury, especially if the player has heavy legs. Would you like to go around with a tourniquet on your leg for eight hours a day, eight months a year, like ballplayers do?"
Reichardt concedes that his theories have not been proved medically, but he says his father, a Wisconsin physician, has heard his ideas and agrees with them. Now all he has to do is convince baseball people.
He admits it won't be easy. "Even if you've got the bait," he says, "you still have to make the fish open his mouth."
The troubles in Northern Ireland have caused a 50% decrease in crowds at soccer games, and once-prosperous professional teams are in grave financial difficulty. The only people who appear to have benefited from the strife are European sponsors of games with visiting teams from Northern Ireland. Stadiums are filled with curiosity-seekers who want to see the embattled Ulstermen. Eintracht of West Germany even went so far as to bill its game with Glentoran as being against "Belfast." An Irish official explained: "They felt people didn't know of Glentoran. But Belfast, yes. That's a city virtually at war."
THEY SAID IT
•Joe Mullaney, coach of the ABA's Kentucky Colonels, on his former team, the Los Angeles Lakers: "There was a tendency on the part of management to overrate the team. In their prime, Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor and Jerry West would have wiped out anybody, but they're not in their prime anymore."
•Jim Dooley, Chicago Bears coach, on moving into the bachelor apartment of Quarterback Bobby Douglass to "live, eat and think football" for a few days: "He's got a fine pad, but I had that Odd Couple feeling. It's been 20 years since I've folded my own blankets."
•Billy Cunningham, Philadelphia 76ers All-Star forward, explaining why he chose pro basketball over pro football: "I was thinking about Frank Gifford. I remember what happened when he was hit by Chuck Bednarik. That stood out in my mind. I'd have been cut in half by some guy. I'd be 3'3" now."