SOME CHANGES MADE
Three years ago Ed Donovan, now vice-president and general manager of the Buffalo Braves, proposed to the National Basketball Association that the foul-out rule be eliminated. He got a laugh-out response. Norm Drucker, American Basketball Association supervisor of officials, made the same suggestion in his league two years ago and got the same reaction.
But at the recent meeting of the ABA rules committee in San Diego, Drucker reiterated his proposal. To his shock he won unanimous approval both from the committee and from the ABA board of trustees. The new permissiveness will be tried experimentally in the ABA preseason schedule.
The purpose of the change is to avoid audience disappointment when stars foul above the limit (six in the pro game, five in college). There are understandable fears that the move will encourage fouling, but harsher penalties for post-limit fouls are being considered—possibly an extra foul shot or loss of the ball.
July 15, 1973
Those who are dubious about the change went back to Dr. James Naismith who invented the game. What would he think?
In the introduction to his first published Rules for Basket Ball (1892) the general conditions included:
"It should be such as could be played by a large number of men at once.... If a great number of men wish to play at once, two balls may be used at the same time, and thus the fun is augmented though some of the science may be lost.... As many as 50 on a side have been accommodated."
Yes, but what about fouls? Rule No. 5 reads: "No shouldering, holding, pushing, tripping or striking in any way the person of an opponent shall be allowed; the first infringement of this rule by any player shall count as a foul, the second shall disqualify him until the next goal is made."
Over the years someone has changed Dr. Naismith's rules. He wanted to keep the players in the game at the very beginning.
POLLUTION CONTROL IN NIPPON
There now are 10 million golfers in Japan, which is 10% of the nation's population, creating gorufu kogai, translated as "golf pollution." Of Japan's 47 prefectures, 36 have imposed restrictions on future golf course construction. Thickly populated Japan needs land. Golf courses are eating up property the localities feel might be put to better use.
THE HAT TRICK
First there was Casey Stengel stepping up to bat before a jeering Brooklyn crowd, lifting his cap and letting a live bird fly out. Now there is Jim Rosario, outfielder for the Phoenix Giants.
Playing at Albuquerque's Sports Stadium, Rosario lost his cap as he attempted a shoestring catch of a sinking liner, lost his balance and fell. When he got up to retrieve the ball it wasn't in sight. While the runner raced around the base paths Rosario searched frantically. Unable to find the ball, he finally picked up his cap in disgust. Under it was the ball—but by this time the batter was safely at third with a triple.
One of Maine's esthetic attributes is the eerie call of a loon on a quiet summer night. It has a quality of madness in it that is not otherwise duplicated in nature.
But there is one loon in Maine who is winning no friends to his arias. He is at it again—feasting on ducklings, baby horned grebes and the like on Lake Winnecook. It is a trait not entirely uncommon among adult loons but unusual enough to warrant resentment among bird lovers. They would like the killer loon to go away.
Jim Davis and his wife Alice recently watched a loon devour several ducklings out of a flock of nine before the mother could get the rest of her brood into tall grass.
Last summer they had seen what they assumed to be the same loon gulp down eight ducklings. The mother duck saved but one of her brood.
This spring they saw about 23 horned grebes swim to shore and start feeding when suddenly the loon came up in the midst of them with outspread wings. He missed his meal because the birds were adults and took off in a hurry.
Only the other day the Davises were attracted by another commotion and, sure enough, it was the loon chasing a mother duck and 10 ducklings. Davis rushed to his mooring, started his outboard and raced to a position between the loon and the ducks.
"He had eaten two and had a third in his mouth," Davis says. "I managed to keep him away from the others and herded them into the grass before he could take any more."
It's a loony business.
Once there was a CPA in Saco, Maine who owned a 1967 Porsche. Each week Ernest H. Griswold had the same man wash and polish his car. Griswold died recently and willed the Porsche to the man who had washed it. He went a step further. He established a trust fund for perpetual maintenance of the car.
There are others in Maine who love a Porsche, it seems. Alan Mooney of New Jersey moved to the state a year ago. His first project: to start a Porsche club to replace in his heart the club he had left behind. The Maine association was born April 23 and on July 28 the Downeast Region of the Porsche Club of America will get its official charter at a banquet in Portland.
Porsche clubs have 8,800 active members in the U.S. but few of them face the difficulties of the Down Easters. Mooney says there are only about 200 Porsche owners in Maine, and of these, 39 already are members of the Downeast chapter, most of them "technically oriented" because there are only two Porsche dealerships in the state and owners are not too keen on letting just any mechanic take a wrench to their prizes. Mooney does all the work on his car. Perhaps he should consider a trust fund, too.
Jim Kremmel of the Texas Rangers let loose a wild pitch with Eddie Leon of the White Sox at bat. When the ball was recovered Leon protested that he had been hit on the foot and was entitled to first base. As evidence he pointed to a black smudge on the ball. That, he said, is shoe polish.
Larry Barnett, plate umpire but no Sherlock Holmes, awarded first base to Leon.
The White Sox wear red shoes.
FAREWELL TO KC'S AMBROSIA
Bo Belinsky, visiting Kansas City as an American League pitcher years ago, sneered that the only thing to do there after eight o'clock at night was to catch the next plane out. But celebrated sportsmen as well as nonathletic visitors have long enjoyed going to Kansas City if for no other reason than the charcoal-broiled strip steaks that such stars as Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle and Al Kaline long have relished.
But now the traditional Kansas City steak is threatened, a possible victim of measures being taken against air pollution. In keeping with federal and state guidelines a Kansas City ordinance requires that by Sept. 1 special antipollution equipment must be installed on charcoal broilers. Thirty-nine city restaurants have already installed the devices but 43 others have closed down their charcoal broilers.
The devices prevent melted fat from dripping on the burning charcoal. But that is the very process which imparts a special flavor to the steaks. Steak house and other restaurant owners have complained that enforcement of the ordinance will make it all but impossible to get a classic Kansas City steak in a Kansas City eating place.
Glen Hopkins, special assistant city manager who supervises pollution control, concedes that "the pollution from charcoal broilers is a comparatively minor aspect of Kansas City's total pollution problem" and acknowledges that the charcoal broiler devices do eliminate the true char-broiled flavor of the beef.
Restaurant owners are considering court action to save what could be Kansas City's best-known amenity.
Hemingway would have understood. At age 66 Johnny Longden wants to face the bulls again. It isn't just a daydream. Once the world's champion jockey, Longden is giving serious thought to a return to the saddle, which he abandoned to become a trainer in 1966 after posting 6,032 wins, a record since surpassed by Willie Shoemaker.
"Just a few races, maybe," Longden was saying the other day in Seattle. "I couldn't even think of coming back if I hadn't been working horses these past years. Oh, my rhythm won't be sharp right away and I'll probably get tired. But I feel pretty good. My weight is about 112. I have less trouble with it than when I was riding. I can eat all I want...."
Longden would select his mounts from his own stable and consider their qualifications closely. Up to a few weeks ago he was thinking of riding a Round Table colt, Circle, in the Longacres Mile next month. Circle was retired to stud after a recent injury at Hollywood Park, but there are others who might inspire Longden to put on the silks.
"I wouldn't ride a horse I didn't think could win," he says. "He may not win—but I'll be planning on it. Fast Fellow would be a good one. He'd give me a little advantage. He's got savvy and I've got savvy, and we could work together. And I've got this 2-year-old named Money Lender. I think he might be pretty nice. I wouldn't ride him this year, but maybe when he's three."
Let's see. When Money Lender is three his jockey will be 67. But don't bet you won't see it. Johnny Longden up, wheeling a thundering runner through traffic, matching wits with other reinsmen, driving for the finish line with that old competitive lust.
"Wouldn't that be something?" Johnny asks. Yes, it would.
NO AH'S, PLEASE
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has a new $3 million laboratory on Virginia Key in Biscayne Bay just off Miami. It is called NOAA's Ark.
DEATH OF AN ANTI-HERO
They're looking for a new mascot at Colorado State University, and Sarkis Arslanian, the football coach, does not want it to come from the University of Wyoming, which sold CSU its late unlamented mascot, Cam the Ram.
Cam has died at the age of seven. It was a natural death, though it could have been otherwise if some students had had their way. The CSU Livestock Club proposed last January that Cam be slaughtered and his head raffled off to raise money for a club project.
The reason for Cam's unpopularity was that he had been around for six straight losing football seasons (18-44-1). In that period Wyoming, a bitter rival, took six straight. In 1972 CSU went 1-10, beating only Texas-El Paso.
Cam was buried without ceremony or grave marker, though one student suggested that an inscription read:
Here lies Cam the Ram,
His soul should go to heaven,
He's lived through seven years of hell.
THEY SAID IT
•Tackle John Matuszak, No. 1 pick in the pro football draft, after signing with the Houston Oilers: "If you really like to play the game and go about it with unabashed enthusiasm, then you can play better. By unabashed enthusiasm I mean going crazy."
•Mrs. Penny Tweedy, owner of Secretariat, on the chanciness of breeding: "Secretariat has a half brother who looks like a potential winner. But he also has a half sister who couldn't outrun a fat man going downhill."
•Robin Roberts, the onetime pitching great: "If the National League adopts the designated hitter rule, Henry Aaron will hit 800 homers and play until he is 45."
•Bruce Devlin, pro golfer, on how environment affects his play: "If you like the people and conditions around you, you play better. That's how it is with me in Texas, where I've won three tournaments. I've never done any good in New York, and I think it's because I hate the damned place."