No matter what face they put on it, the fact is the National Football League Players Association and its Executive Director Ed Garvey lost their shortsighted strike.
There will be many reasons given for the players' rambling retreat from unshakable demands to a bottom line offer, but one stands out. From the beginning the union talked strike, and early went on strike, which is not the way of most such negotiations, where a strike is called only as a last resort. It is hard to believe management would have felt half the confidence it did last week had it been facing opening day with a strike sword poised over its head. Instead, the players dribbled back into camp, nervously aware of how little job security there is in their business and how likely it was that many would be looking for new work if they did not get a chance to prove themselves against the rookies.
So the strike appears over for this year, but the owners would be foolish to consider the victory final. Many of the issues raised will continue as sore points with the players, and such actions as Houston's Sid Gillman cutting seven strikers the very day they returned—one wonders if that is the reason the Oilers have been 2-26 the past two seasons—will not ameliorate matters. The sport, the fans and both sides would be best served if the most serious of the differences were ironed out amicably over the coming year.
September 8, 1974
CASH FLOW, BLOOD DIVISION
President Ford may be unhappy about the swimming pool at the White House—there is none—but his natatorial dilemma is a drop in the bucket compared with the poolful of advice Dr. Edwin Paget has for him. Paget was not happy even with the 35 to 40 laps the President was putting in daily in his 40-foot backyard pool in Arlington, Va.
Says Paget: "President Ford must realize that the quarter mile or so he swims is not sufficient to open his capillaries. It's merely a warmup for an effective daily program. Brain power, particularly in older men, is dependent on the flow of oxygen to the brain capillaries. That flow decreases as a man gets older unless he engages in vigorous exercise. The distance the President swims qualifies him more for an assistant recorder of deeds than a President who would successfully fight inflation. He will need to send much, much more oxygen to the brain."
And what does Paget do for his exercise? Climbs 14,000-foot Pikes Peak about as often as most of us stroll around the patio. Now in his 70s, the retired North Carolina State professor has made 655 ascents, 35 this summer, which should qualify him as the new economic czar, at least.
SUPERSTITIOUS? YOU BET
As quietly as possible and without ceremony, the Atlanta Falcons retired jersey No. 76. If you do not recall the fabulous feats of ol' 76, there is a reason, explains Equipment Manager Whitey Zimmerman. "We had four players who tore up their knees wearing that number. So we retired it."
There comes a time before every Olympic Games when the stories emanating from the site are full of gloom. The stadium will not be finished in time—which is fine since the approach roads won't reach it anyway—the athletes will be sleeping in tents and unexpected costs will leave the city in penury for a hundred years.
Last month it was Montreal's turn, and despite Mayor Jean Drapeau's protestations of "balderdash and balderall," it suddenly seemed that the people the mayor has normally been able to convince with his adept combination of eloquence, double-talk and sleight of hand were not so sure.
Enter from Munich Willi Daume, vice-president of the International Olympic Committee. After inspection of facilities he gave Montreal his vote of confidence. "There could be a general world recession and the sale of Olympic coins could drop off," he admitted. 'It is possible, too, that there will be a considerable increase in building costs, or that technical problems will swell the costs or that unemployment in Canada could reduce the sale of lottery tickets, but Canada is a great Olympic nation. It will not leave the IOC in the lurch."
Well and good. Olympic Games have a way of always coming off. But then there were a few nervous moments that Mayor Drapeau could certainly have done without. At a separate press conference, Roger Rousseau, president of the Canadian Olympic Organizing Committee, snapped at reporters, "We're not lying to you. We're just not telling you all the facts."
Clang went the starting gate at Atlantic City Race Course and they were off, all except Basic Witness, who pawed frantically at the dirt but never moved. After a review of films and a talk with the starter, Steward Sam Boulmetis believed that he had the answer. "I think he got his tail stuck in the rear of the gate," he said.
This recalls what happened to Santo Domingo in a 1969 race. He left his tail in the gate. The loss never seemed to bother him, though. He continued to win for a couple of years, proving, perhaps, that if you have the means you can justify your end.
OF GOD AND MAMMON
After selecting 6'11" Virginia schoolboy Moses Malone in the third round of the ABA draft last April, the Utah Stars made no serious effort to sign him. So two months later the nation's leading college prospect accepted a University of Maryland scholarship.
Last week, just as the 19-year-old Malone was about to enroll for the fall semester, Utah reentered the picture with a new owner, Jim Collier, waving a fistful of dollars. Maryland Coach Lefty Driesell immediately asked Washington, D.C. Attorney Donald Dell to examine the offer. "If I have to lose him," a disappointed Driesell said, "I want him to get what he's worth and not be taken advantage of."
Although essentially a four-year $450,000 proposal, the contract could have been worth $3.4 million over a 15-year period. But it was neither renegotiable nor guaranteed and it was hedged with 11 years of options. "Whatever your final decision," Dell advised Malone, "don't sign this contract."
Utah followed with a five-year $590,000 offer, and on Wednesday Malone was ready to sign. That night he asked Dell to formally represent him, and after two hours of bargaining the contract ballooned to $1.28 million—all guaranteed. It was the American dream realized and nobody could advise Malone to refuse it. Incentive clauses, covering his college education and playing accomplishments, could increase the package to $1.5 million.
"My hero is Spencer Haywood," Malone told Dell. "He became a pro after a year of college and I've always wanted to beat that record. When I was 14 I wrote his name down and put it in the Bible. I made a compact with God that I was going to do it."
HALL OF SHAME
From the beginning, Bud Foster of radio station KEST in San Francisco suspected that his baseball-trivia contest would degenerate into a beanball war. On one side were the Giant Executives, among them President Horace Stone-ham, Manager Wes Westrum and Assistant to the President Jerry Donovan, and on the other were the Hall of Famers, including Carl Hubbell, George (High-pockets) Kelly, former Umpire Babe Pinelli and Chub Feeney, president of the National League.
"You're giving them all the easy ones," a Hall of Famer protested. "You're poor losers." retorted an Exec. "I can't hear," said the 70-year-old Stoneham. Pandemonium broke loose when Foster accidentally tipped the Famers that it was Leftfielder Al Smith who was soaked by beer in the 1959 World Series. A shouting match developed over who composed lake Me Out to the Ball Game (it was Jack Norworth), a lawsuit was threatened, the Hall of Famers scored with the site of the original Mudville (they said it was Stockton, Calif.) but nobody could agree on who managed the first Giant team (it was Jim Mutrie).
For the record, Westrum correctly identified Clint Courtney as the first major league catcher to wear glasses behind the plate, the Execs and Famers wound up in an 18-18 tie and Hubbell, showing the best sense of all, walked out.
In the Asian Games that began this week at Teheran, there will be no marathon. "There is no call for it," said the organizing chairman. "Only a few Asians would take part, and we are not very good at it."
This should come as quite a surprise to the Japanese, who have been among the world's best marathoners for years. One can only guess that the Iranians (formerly Persians) are still smarting over the first Marathon, 2,500 years ago, the battle they lost to the Greeks. A chap named Philippides ran over 20 miles to Athens to tell the news, and dropped dead.
It was always touch and go, but for a while there it seemed possible that John Casola just might pull off one of the master switcheroos in sport. A month ago Buffalo waived its 17th-round draft choice, kicking specialist Sal Casola. Discouraged, Sal decided to quit pro football, which was all the encouragement brother John, who had done a little kicking himself several years ago at Marion Institute in Alabama, needed. When Kansas City Coach Hank Strain phoned Sal at the Casola home to offer him a trial, he reached John, instead, and John began the impersonation.
Almost from the beginning, players suspected something fishy. For instance, Sal would fail to answer to his name. He finally explained that he was baptized John Salvatore Casola and that at home they called him John. Then there was the teammate who had gone to the University of Cincinnati and had played against Sal in college. Casola could contribute nothing to the fellow's reminiscences of the game. A few of the curious lurked near the phone when he called home, but they were always stymied. Casola spoke in Italian.
The mask finally came off four weeks ago when Buffalo visited K.C. for an exhibition game. Casola warmed up as far away from the Bills as he decently could, but they saw him and wondered aloud. Said Buffalo Coach Lou Saban to Stram, "What have you been feeding Casola? He must have gained 30 pounds since he left our camp." Said Buffalo Kicker Boris Shlapak, "I don't know who that guy kicking there is, but it isn't Sal Casola."
Next day John confessed. After Stram cooled down, the coach said he wasn't mad a bit. "Actually I admire the man's determination. He came here because he seriously wanted a tryout with a pro club. He's got a strong leg, and in time could become a good kicker, but he'd have to work on his form."
After their interview Stram had a paycheck made out to John to take the place of several issued to Sal that John had feared cashing. Then two weeks ago, along with several other marginal players, John was waived by K.C, under the name of Sal Casola.
THEY SAID IT
•Tom Forsythe, explaining that he likes to have his parachuting students make their first static line jump after hours of intensive instructions: "Please don't call it a crash course."
•Tito Fuentes, Giant second baseman, after being brushed back: "They shouldn't throw at me. I'm the father of five or six kids."
•Bill Yeoman, University of Houston coach who did not lose his voice once during preseason practice this year: "When you have 16 starters back, your voice tends to stay with you longer."
•Dick Sharon of the Tigers, after striking out three times against Nolan Ryan: "He's baseball's exorcist-scares the devil out of you."