KAPP AND ANDY
Joe Kapp lost and Andy Messersmith won, and what does it all mean? The jury's rejection of Kapp's $12 million suit against the New England Patriots and the National Football League was a victory—if limited—for the management side of sports, which had been in a long losing streak. NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle went so far as to say, "It's a possible turning point for settling these matters in collective bargaining rather than in court."
Perhaps, but NFL owners and players have failed to settle much, if anything, after two years of collective bargaining. Rozelle may mean that the owners' victory in Kapp's suit could jar the players into a less militant stand ("Gee, if Kapp lost in court, so could I") and a greater willingness to compromise. But if the owners set too much store by the Kapp decision, which involved a unique set of circumstances, they could become even more intransigent ("Hey, we won one; maybe we'll win another"), and a settlement in football's labor dispute never will be reached.
Meanwhile, baseball staggers on. The New York Yankees' retreat in the Messersmith affair indicates that they goofed badly—unless their strange behavior is evidence of Messersmith's contention that the owners in general are trying to diminish his value (and that of all free agents) in an open market. The New York Mets' repeated efforts to tarnish the image of their unsigned star, Tom Seaver, tends to add to this feeling. On another front in the baseball wars, the American League remained on a collision course with the National League on the question of Toronto as an expansion city. One American League executive accused Commissioner Bowie Kuhn of partiality in the dispute. "Kuhn was the National League's lawyer," the executive charged, "and he is the National League's commissioner."
April 12, 1976
Come on, let's play ball.
SO MUCH FOR SAM
Sam Snead revealed a few secrets of golf and some home truths at a golf show in Philadelphia last week.
"Put an old carpet down in your living room," he said, "and chip balls into a bushel basket. Chipping teaches you how to use your hands." Snead added that it was a good idea to practice a lot with a five-iron.
He also said he didn't believe his advice would prove terribly worthwhile. "I know some of you people think you are going to learn something here," he declared, "but I don't think you will."
Nobody—not Babe Ruth nor Henry Aaron nor Casey at the Bat—ever had a day at the plate to equal that of Jim La Fountain, a 200-pound right-handed hitter who plays first base for the University of Louisville. Louisville's game with Western Kentucky the other day was called after five innings with Louisville ahead 26-4. In the five innings, La Fountain hit four home runs, three of them with the bases loaded, two of them in the same inning. He had 14 runs batted in. If a big-league batsman were able to sustain such a pace over a 162-game season, he would end the year with 1,166 home runs and 4,082 runs batted in.
Although a reaction against artificial turf has occurred in football—the Orange Bowl is replacing its well-worn rug with PAT, the natural grass system developed at Purdue—in hockey the trend may be the other way. A plastic surface called Suntec has been installed in the Albie Booth Memorial Boys' Club in New Haven, Conn. and has received an enthusiastic response from skaters who have tried it. A thin layer of waxlike conditioner lubricates the Suntec for skating (dry, it can be used as a gym floor). Obviously, no refrigeration is needed, which means the "ice" can be used all year round, indoors and outdoors.
Even professionals have been impressed. "At first I thought it was a little slower than ice," says Tom Colley, a forward with the New Haven Nighthawks of the American Hockey League, "but after a while I didn't notice the difference. I like it. I wish we had it when I was growing up in Canada. The little kids always got the worst ice then, all rutted. This doesn't rut."
Now that Indiana and Michigan and UCLA and Rutgers have receded into history, it seems appropriate to release this report on another aspect of intercollegiate basketball:
"Southwestern at Memphis and The University of the South (Sewanee) have one of those rivalries so important to college sports," writes Arthur Kellerman of Southwestern. "After recent defeats by Sewanee in varsity football and basketball, Southwestern's intramural basketball champions decided to take matters into their own hands. A challenge was sent and accepted, and the team took to the road to play the first annual South-western-Sewanee Extramural Basketball Championship. In all, seven players, four girl friends and three varsity football players (as bodyguards) made the trip. Fortified with a free meal and several pregame beers, Southwestern's athlete-students gunned Sewanee's champs off the floor 75-38. Total expense for the trip (gas, food and beer), $25.
"Given time, it is said that history repeats itself. Intercollegiate sports were born from such challenges, and the satisfaction of such competition is still keen. Lest anyone doubt the players' academic credentials, three of Southwestern's starting five are Phi Beta Kappa."
A DRAWBRIDGE TOO FAR
Maybe Canada will get some fun out of the Olympics, after all. Last week listeners to radio station CJAD in Montreal felt their hackles rise as Broadcaster Andy Barrie reported that in casual conversation in London with "Mr. Basil Ormsby-Jones, Keeper of the Queen's Person," he had been told that a small castle was being built on the banks of the St. Lawrence to house Queen Elizabeth and her entourage this summer when she visits Montreal to open the Olympic Games. The castle, complete with moat and drawbridge, would cost $4 million, Barrie said, and the expense would be borne by Canada. He said CJAD had contacted Montreal Mayor Jean Drapeau's office for confirmation.
Phones at the station began ringing almost instantly. "About half of those who called were really upset," says Barrie. The other half enjoyed the April Fools' spoof.
Montreal can also be buoyed by a comment from Epictetus, the Greek Stoic philosopher who more or less counters the downer we gave you last week from Gaius Maecenas, the Roman statesman who warned cities against spending too much money on Olympic preparations. Epictetus says, "But some unpleasant and hard things happen in life. And do they not happen at Olympia? Do you not swelter? Are you not cramped and crowded? Do you not bathe badly? Are you not drenched whenever it rains? Do you not have your fill of tumult and shouting and other annoyances? But I fancy that you bear and endure it all by balancing it off against the memorable character of the spectacle."
Way to go, Epictetus.
OSCAR FOR SPOT NEWS
Sports-conscious Elliott Gould, who did a highly commendable job as the doctor-turned-quarterback in the motion picture version of M.A.S.H., was one of those picked to salute the victors in last week's Academy Awards show. When the magic words, "And the winner is..." were intoned, Gould said, "Indiana 86-68." He got a big hand, either from Hoosier fans in the audience or those who wished they had stayed home to watch the NCAA finals on TV.
Sailplanes, those lovely aircraft that soar silently with the wind, are fun to fly, and drifting around the sky in one of them is not usually considered a daredevil adventure. But now Dr. Brennig James of Great Britain proposes to soar along the south face of Annapurna, in the Himalayas, and ride air currents up to its 26,502-foot summit. He'll use a Motor Cirrus, a small glider with a retractable engine. Dr. James' flight will begin from an airstrip 35 miles south of Annapurna at an elevation of 2,900 feet, where his craft will be towed into the air. Once aloft, he'll use the engine to gain enough altitude to get into a high-rising thermal. Then the engine will be tucked away and Dr. James will hop along from thermal to thermal at about 12,000 feet until he arrives in the neighborhood of the rocky Annapurna ridge.
Because there are few detailed maps of the area, photographs taken by mountain-climbing expeditions have been used to analyze the structure of the ridge and its probable wind conditions. Three spurs running south from the main ridge are expected to provide helpful updrafts, but on a calm, cool day it may be necessary to fly as close as 30 feet to the stone face of the mountain in order to find an upward flow of air.
The photographs also show persistent cloud cover at the 12,000-14,000-foot level. At this height Dr. James could suddenly find himself cut off from visual contact with the ridges, peaks and valleys below him. Too, the high-altitude, high-speed jet stream passes not far above the Himalayas, and some meteorologists say it may flow directly along the Annapurna ridge, which could create severe turbulence.
Put it all together: tiny aircraft, towering mountains, uncharted country, heavy clouds, high winds. It's a far cry from lazing along in the sun over the plains of West Texas.
Dedicated to Cookie Lavagetto
I hereby establish my own Baseball Hall of Fame.
For alliteration, for example, I enshrine
Frankie Frisch, the Fordham Flash.
For future fame in other areas:
Albert Schweitzer (St. Louis, A.L., 1908-1911).
They called him "Cheese," so with him
I further honor Clarence Beers and Sweetbreads Bailey,
Hot Potato Hamlin and Noodles Hahn, Ginger Beaumont,
Sugar Cain, and Honey Walker
(From Beeville, Texas). Also, Bob Sturgeon,
Oyster Burns, Catfish Hunter, Sea Lion Hall, and
George Haddock, whose locker was next to Davy Jones'.
I add sure-fingered Tom Butters,
Luke Appling, Eddie Bacon and Puddin' Head Jones,
George Bone and Stew Bolen, Rabbit Maranville and
Bunny Brief, Dave Brain and Dodo Bird,
Turkeyfoot Brower, Deerfoot Bay and Reindeer Killefer.
Since one must be mad or built like a
Bench to play catcher, immortalized also
Are Earl Battey and Matt Batts.
A special velvet-lined niche for the man
Who led the National League in hits
In 1926 (with 201)—
Glass Arm Eddie Brown.
I add another Brown: Mordecai Peter
Centennial (born, of course, in 1876),
Also known as "Three Finger" Brown,
Because that's how many he had on his
Throwing hand (lifetime 229 wins, 131 losses).
But M.P.C. "T.F." Brown must yield his share
Of his huge gallery in my special Hall of Fame
To Christian Frederick Albert John Henry David
Betzel, whom they called "Bruno," for some reason.
My Hall of Fame will house an armory, as some
Museums do, for the display of weapons like
Shotgun Shuba and Gunboat Gumbert,
Boom-Boom Beck, Roxy Snipes, Ray Blades and
Poison Ivy Andrews (who will be endowed with
A glass case all his own). And, of course,
A chapel for Preacher Roe, Deacons Scott
And MacFayden, Howie Nunn, Johnnie Priest,
Maurice Archdeacon, Max Bishop, and Dave Pope.
—H. R. COURSEN
THEY SAID IT
•Steve Smith, record-breaking professional pole vaulter: "I never did like team sports because of the coaches. In individual sports they coach you to develop specific skills, but in team sports they just yell at you. If I wanted somebody to yell at me, I'd join the Army."
•Ron Myer, new SMU football coach, after a first look at his players in spring practice: "We've got to become a better hitting team. Each guy has $400 worth of equipment out there, and from the looks of things, nothing is going to get broken or smashed up."
•Cotton Fitzsimmons, who had just been dismissed as Atlanta Hawks coach, arriving 15 minutes late for a postfiring press conference: "I didn't realize how many people there were in the unemployment lines."
•Wren Blair, Pittsburgh Penguins president, asked if Ken Schinkel was an interim coach: "Aren't all coaches interim coaches?"