The idea of switching the San Francisco Giants to Toronto disturbs baseball traditionalists, who like things to stay put—even though in the Giants' case it was the fans staying put at home instead of in the ball park that forced the issue. The trouble is, the traditionalists are thinking of the Golden Age, 1903-1952, when the two major leagues had teams in the same eight cities year after year for 50 years. But since the Braves broke the log jam by jumping from Boston to Milwaukee in 1953, the tradition of baseball has been to move. Indeed, the last three seasons, 1973-74-75, during which no new franchises were added and no old ones transferred, tied a record for constancy; only once before since 1953 have the majors gone three consecutive seasons without change. In fact, assuming the switch to Toronto is official, the big leagues can be divided into seven categories of mobility:
Original Clubs, Unmoved: (10) Boston, Cleveland, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati, Detroit, New York Yankees, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St. Louis.
Original Clubs, Moved Once: (3) Baltimore (St. Louis), Los Angeles (Brooklyn), Minnesota (Washington).
January 19, 1976
Original Clubs, Moved Twice: (3) Atlanta (Boston, Milwaukee), Oakland (Philadelphia, Kansas City), Toronto (New York, San Francisco).
Old New Clubs, Unmoved: (3) California, Houston, New York Mets.
Old New Clubs, Moved Once: (1) Texas (Washington).
New New Clubs, Unmoved: (3) Kansas City, Montreal, San Diego.
New New Clubs, Moved Once: (1) Milwaukee (Seattle).
SEX AND DRUGS
Dr. Dan Hanley, long involved in the U.S. Olympic program and currently a member of the International Olympic Committee's Medical Commission, says the money spent on sex and drug testing required at the Olympic Games could be better used to educate athletes (and coaches) on the futility of trying to find the magic potion that guarantees success. Moreover, says Hanley, drug testing may be too sensitive. "Nose drops taken today can be detected in the urine tomorrow," he says, "and maybe even the day after that. Nose drops can hardly be called doping." In other words, the net is too fine, and the innocent are caught with the guilty.
As for sex testing, Hanley says the procedures are complicated and expensive and the results are "the same as what any nearsighted college boy could have told you with a glance across the street." He thinks the test should be abandoned. "If a nation wants to let a man compete in girl's clothing, let it," he says.
KICKING A GUY
You know about the Minnesota Fighting Saints of the World Hockey Association, whose management was unable to meet its payroll but whose players agreed to play for nothing for the time being. And whose supporters took up a collection for the team and even suggested that local churches take up a second collection on Sundays to help the Saints (the ice-skating ones). Well, you want to talk about trouble? Last week thieves climbed through a window into the club's box office and stole $250 from the meager till. It never rains but it pours—even in snowbound Minnesota.
SMEW NEWS IS GOOD NEWS
Birders—yes, Virginia, they used to be called bird watchers—are having a tremendous time along the New England coast. Last year they spotted a Ross's gull, this past December an ivory gull and now—are you ready?—a smew.
The smew is a black and white waterfowl, a duck, whose normal habitat is Siberia and northern Finland. It was spotted at Green End Pond in Newport, R.I. by Charles Wood of the Audubon Society of Rhode Island. James Baird of the Massachusetts Audubon Society says it was the first sighting ever of a smew on the Atlantic Coast and only the fourth in North American Audubon history. The smew is so rare here that it does not even appear on the standard checklist of birds published by the American Ornithologists' Union. Europe has had a dreadful winter, and Wood feels that a vast high-pressure system stretching across the northern part of that continent may have swirled the smew around and down to Rhode Island.
It was a male smew, if you're scoring.
NOT A Y'S GUY
Beyond their remarkable physical skills, the best athletes almost always display two sometimes overlooked qualities: consistence and concentration. The two are closely related; consistence depends to an exceptional degree on the ability to concentrate one's efforts and attention on the problem of the moment. A great athlete cannot be distracted.
Bruce Jenner, who set a world record in the decathlon in 1975, recalls a bizarre example of such concentration in himself on his world-record day. "I went into the stands before the competition," he says, "and a boy asked me for my autograph. His last name was Young. I remember it because I could not remember then how to make a 'Y.' I just couldn't do it. That's intense."
Home-team fans in the Charlotte Coliseum were glum and bored as visiting Virginia pulled steadily away from Davidson on the way to a 72-51 victory. Then, surprisingly, cheers arose from the Davidson crowd as sophomore Kevin Doherty went into the game midway in the second half.
"Now you'll see some action," gloated a frustrated Davidson student. "Doherty is the best hatchet man in basketball since Jungle Jim Loscutoff was playing for the Celtics."
The first time Doherty touched the ball he was called for charging. Fourteen seconds later he picked up another personal. Seventeen seconds after that he fouled Virginia's Billy Langloh. A few seconds later Langloh stole the ball from Doherty and went in for a layup; Doherty reacted by lofting Langloh against the basket standards.
That made it four personals in 38 seconds, which may be an NCAA record. Doherty calmed down after that and lasted four more minutes before committing his fifth foul. Five minutes and six seconds after he entered the game he was back on the bench.
Davidson publicist Emil Parker said five fouls in 5:06 was a personal record for Doherty, surpassing his old mark of five in 9:39 against Wofford.
"Kevin's still learning," said the Davidson sadist. "He'll do better than that with experience."
PAL TO PAL
O.K., that's Kevin Doherty. Now let us turn to Kevin Loughery, coach of the ABA's New York Nets. No one can say for sure that the juxtaposition of the "Kevin" with the feisty Irish rhythm of the last names causes the trouble, but these lads certainly do stir things up on a basketball floor. In a game last week against the Virginia Squires, the Nets drew nine technical fouls, which surely would be a pro basketball record if such records were kept. And—for the best performance by an individual—six of them were charged to the volatile Loughery for vehemently protesting an alleged zone defense by the Squires, which is illegal, and then blatantly ordering his team to play a zone in retaliation. The automatic fines for the technicals added up to $750, and Loughery was ejected from the game.
The next day he was called into the office of Commissioner Dave DeBusschere, who is Loughery's former boss, teammate and roommate and present tennis partner and close friend. With the rest of the league watching very carefully, the commissioner, often accused of being too soft, came down on his pal hard: he fined Loughery an additional $1,000 and suspended him for two games, only the second suspension of a coach in the league's history. "There is a certain code of conduct we expect our coaches and players to follow," said DeBusschere, "and Kevin Loughery stepped beyond that line. I have been assured by him that there will never again be a need for a meeting between the two of us on a matter concerning bench or floor conduct."
You got it, Kevin? Now let's go play tennis and grab a couple of beers.
GETTING INTO THE ACT
As a salute to the Bicentennial, the Delaware Sports Club put on a race in Wilmington last Sunday that was exactly 17.76 kilometers long. If you're interested, that works out to 11 miles, 70 yards, one foot, 2½ inches. Larry Schemelia's winning time of one hour and two seconds set a world record for the distance. It couldn't miss.
RULES IS RULES
In the same mail last week with the 1976 edition of "The Rules of Golf" came something called ' The Rules of Golf for Good Players Whose Scores Would Reflect Their True Ability if Only They Got an Even Break Once in a While." These rules, adapted from those proposed by the Union Printers Golf Club in Baltimore, have some appealing provisions:
•A ball sliced or hooked into the rough shall be lifted and placed in the fairway at a point equal to the distance it carried or rolled in the rough. Such veering right or left frequently results from friction between the face of the club and the cover of the ball, and the player should not be penalized for erratic behavior of the ball resulting from such uncontrollable mechanical phenomena.
•A ball hitting a tree shall be deemed not to have hit the tree. Hitting a tree is simply bad luck and has no place in a scientific game. The player should estimate the distance the ball would have traveled if it had not hit the tree and play the ball from there, preferably from atop a nice firm tuft of grass.
•There shall be no such thing as a lost ball. The missing ball is on or near the course somewhere and eventually will be found and pocketed by someone else. It thus becomes a stolen ball, and the player should not compound the felony by charging himself with a penalty stroke.
•In or near a bunker or sand trap, a ball rolling back toward the player may be hit again on the roll without counting an extra stroke or strokes. In any case, no more than two strokes are to be counted in playing from a bunker, since it is reasonable to assume that if the player had time to concentrate on his shot, instead of hurrying it so as not to delay his playing partners, he would be out in two.
•If a putt passes over the hole without dropping, it is deemed to have dropped. The law of gravity holds that any object attempting to maintain a position in the atmosphere without something to support it must drop. The law of gravity supersedes the law of golf.
•Same thing goes for a ball that stops at the brink of the hole and hangs there, defying gravity. You cannot defy the law.
•Same thing goes for a ball that rims the cup. A ball should not go sideways. This violates the law of physics.
•A putt that stops close enough to the cup to inspire such comments as "You could blow it in" may be blown in. This rule does not apply if the ball is more than three inches from the hole, because no one wants to make a travesty of the game.
THEY SAID IT
•Bill Lee, Boston Red Sox pitcher, on his current visit to mainland China: "Now I'll get to see the real Big Red Machine."
•Ken Shipp, New York Jets coach, on his days as assistant coach and baby-sitter to players at the University of Miami and especially the one who went out to look at a hurricane: "There was no way I was going out in that storm after him. Besides, the kid wasn't even a regular."
•John W. Oliver, Federal judge presiding in the hearing on baseball's reserve clause: "Public confidence in baseball could be undermined when we find there is more legal news on the sports pages than in the other parts of the paper."
•Pete Rose, on his speed on the bases: "I'm not a great runner, I'm no Joe Morgan, but I'm not bad for a white guy."
•H. K. (Cootie) Reeves, football coach at Hokes Bluff (Ala.) high school, after his team was trounced 53-0 by Hazlewood in the state Class 2A championships: "If we hadn't given them those first four touchdowns, it might have been different."