A number of New York jockeys, dissatisfied with the representation and the medical plan provided by the Jockeys' Guild, are considering joining the Toy and Doll Manufacturers Union.
Here, for all those who suffered through the various ravages of last winter, is the early forecast for this winter by Dr. Jerome Namias, head of the Climate Research Group at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, Calif. He bases it on some 40,000 observations taken in the North Pacific the past two and a half months. The nation's weather depends in good part on what happens in the North Pacific. Last year a high-pressure ridge sat over the Pacific Coast, and storms were diverted north across Alaska and Canada, causing drought in the West, before they moved south to freeze the East.
These are Dr. Namias' regional forecasts.
December 5, 1977
The West: "The pattern is entirely different from last year. Over the Pacific Northwest we will have normal or above normal rainfall and snow. I think the ski-resort people, the hydrologists and the agriculturalists will be happy."
The Midwest: "Storms from the Pacific Northwest usually carry into the western and northern plains. Last year many of those storms hopscotched the area. If the storms come in from the Pacific Northwest as anticipated, the snow pack along the plateau should be enhanced and the plains will be chilly and wet, but variable. There should be good snow in the Rockies."
The Great Lakes: "Buffalo is not likely to get buried again. The violent storms shouldn't be blowing across the Great Lakes as they did last year."
The South: "Last year it was very cold because of the penetration of the bad winter from the North. This year the cold air will probably not penetrate so far south. Florida will be Florida again."
The East: "There is no made-up prediction as yet," says Namias, who is keeping a weather eye on an unstable area over the North Atlantic. "Usually a bad break from warm to cold like we had last year means it is more likely to remain colder than average. I expect this will happen again. The East should have more than normal snow but it should not be as cold as it was last year."
Baseball's second reentry draft is causing all kinds of shock waves. The money is not flowing as it did last year, it is gushing. Last year, three free agents collected more than $2 million each; this year, six players already have signed for that. The Rangers signed slugger Richie Zisk to a $3 million, 10-year contract and Pitcher Doc Medich to a $1 million, four-year contract; the Yankees gave Reliever Rich Gossage $2.75 million for six years; the Red Sox gave Pitcher Mike Torrez $2.5 million for seven years; the Angels signed Outfielder Lyman Bostock to a $2.2 million, five-year contract; the Brewers gave slugger Larry Hisle $3 million for six years: and the Padres signed Oscar Gamble, a part-time outfielder, to a six-year contract worth $2.8 million.
"It's unbelievable," says Dick Williams, the Montreal manager. "I don't think the talent is there the way it was a year ago." Joe Burke, general manager of the Royals, agrees. "I didn't think they would go for as much as two-thirds of what they went for last year," he says. "There were better players then."
Some clubs that stayed out of the bidding blame Brad Corbett, owner of the Rangers, for the escalating prices. "He's the reason the bidding got out of hand," says Burke. "Right away after the draft he was throwing around figures of $3 million for five years. I don't think a guy like Gene Autry will go broke, but a guy like Corbett might." Bud Selig of the Brewers, who signed Hisle, says, "We felt that circumstances forced us to. To have to take a plunge like this every year would be economic suicide."
Bill Veeck, whose White Sox lost both Zisk and Gamble to the draft because he could not afford to keep them, says bravely, "It will make us hustle. The Angels spent more money than we did last year, and we competed with them all right on the field." But Veeck worries about how long the White Sox can remain competitive. "For a year or two maybe, we can think of some way to equalize the situation," he says, "but there will come a time, just as in table-stakes poker, when the preponderance of capital will ultimately win."
If Veeck is right—and he probably is—the main problem that faces baseball, as it attempts to shake the bugs out of the free-agent system over the next several years, will not be curtailing the players' appetite for money but restraining the seemingly insatiable desire of owners like Corbett to spend it.
You can't be too careful when you're flying just a few feet above the water off the north shore of Oahu, where most of Hawaii's big-wave surfing is done. William H. Connelly was doing just that recently when along came a surfboard and hit his home-built biplane in the lower right wing.
That's Connelly's side of the story. Surfer Robert Fram's side is that he was trying to catch a wave when along came an airplane. As it approached, Fram says, he dived backward off his board, which flipped out of the water and hit the plane, which was flying five feet above the surface.
Connelly claims he was about 20 feet up and that the surfer "threw" the board at him. But whatever the surfer did, FAA regulations prohibit flying lower than 500 feet over persons or property, and inasmuch as surfers are considered persons, Connelly stands to lose his license.
Bear Bryant of Alabama expects to become the winningest college football coach in history in four more years. "It may take five," says Bryant, "but I believe we can do it in four." With his victory over Auburn last Saturday, Bryant now has 272 wins, 42 fewer than the record 314 of Amos Alonzo Stagg.
"I've been reluctant to talk about it." Bryant says, "and I swear I haven't been aware of this football record business. Charley Thornton [Alabama's sports information director] told me the other day that if I keep winning at the present rate, in four years I'll be the winningest coach in football. I talked with my staff about it, my wife and the university president, and if the good Lord's willing, I'm going to try it."
Not the winningest, Bear. For a look at the man who is, turn to page 36.
OUT OF THE FRYING PAN
Officials at ABC and CBS might have some sleepless nights were they to read an internal memorandum sent to Representative Lionel Van Deerlin (D., Calif.), chairman of the House Subcommittee on Communications, which recently held hearings on the networks' involvement in sports. Prepared by Philip Hochberg, special counsel to the subcommittee, and Harry Shooshan, chief counsel, the 72-page memo includes the following points.
"ABC's sportscaster Howard Cosell apparently played a key role in the United States Boxing championships. First of all, Cosell played an apparent role in the business decision to move forward with the telecasts," [which were eventually taken off the air last April after exposure of kickbacks, phony fight records and rigged Ring ratings. Cosell had] "a number of run-ins" with associate producer Alex Wallau, who was the first to question records and ratings in the Don King promotion. After Wallau said that Tom Prater "had no right" to be in the tournament. Cosell called Angelo Dundee on behalf of ABC, and Dundee assured him that Prater was "a good fighter." Dundee handled Prater. "When Wallau was taken off the telecasts in late February, it was made clear to him that it was because of his inability to get along with Cosell, although King had been pressuring ABC to take Wallau off the telecasts also."
Wallau considered his removal a demotion, but ABC gave him a $10,000 bonus, a $4,000 raise and permanent job status. Roone Arledge, ABC's President of News and Sports, denied the money was intended to silence Wallau—as does Wallau himself—but the memo says, "It seems appropriate for the subcommittee to turn over its files on this matter for FCC consideration."
Moreover, ABC's attempt to influence Pitt to play in the 1977 Sugar Bowl, which ABC televised, by giving the Panthers an extra TV date during the regular season, raises "serious anticompetitive questions" and "should be referred to the Justice Department."
"It appears...the public was misled" by CBS' so-called Winner Take All Heavyweight Championship of Tennis, in which each participant was "guaranteed large sums of money, win or lose." Here the conduct of Robert Wussler and Barry Frank. Wussler's successor as head of CBS Sports, is "highly questionable" and "cannot be excused."
No matter who wins the Heisman Trophy this year, the odds are overwhelmingly against his ever being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. No player who has won the Heisman in the 42 years it has been awarded has made the pro hall, and there are more than twice as many inductees as Heisman winners. Among the latter who had notable pro careers but are not enshrined are Doak Walker, John David Crow, Alan Ameche, Paul Hornung and Billy Cannon.
Who is the most likely Heisman winner to be voted into the hall? It may be a question of who retires first, Roger Staubach, the 1963 winner, or O. J. Simpson, the best college player of 1968.
KEEP IT SHORT
On the agenda of this month's annual baseball meetings is a proposal to expand the playoffs from three-of-five games to four-of-seven, as in the World Series.
Players have objected to the five-game format ever since it was instituted in 1969. They say it puts too much pressure on them too soon after the regular season. Moreover, they maintain the playoffs are too short to determine genuine champions.
Nonsense. For one thing, the season is already too long. In response to just that criticism, Commissioner Bowie Kuhn this year shortened the break between the regular season and the playoffs from a week to two days. For another, imitating the Series would rob the playoffs of their special character: a level of tension that rarely exists in either the season or the Series.
CHRISTMAS IS COMING (CONT'D)
For the skier who has everything: a bottle of Chateau Aspen, melted snow from Colorado's vintage drought of last year, "Mis En Bouteilles Au Mountain," from Snow Job Unlimited. Aspen, Colo., $5.95 postpaid. For the baseball fan, an old seat from Tiger Stadium, $5, from the Dynamic Construction Company of Detroit, which is renovating the park.
For the animal lover, a one-year adoption certificate as the sole foster parent of Bunker, a dolphin at the Brookfield (Ill.) Zoo, $2,200, the annual cost of keeping Bunker in fish.
TAKE THE BAY TRAIN
In San Francisco, disgruntled 49er fans occasionally chant, "Bring back Monte Clark!" referring to the successful coach who was fired this year by the team's new owners. Now BART, Bay Area Rapid Transit, the local commuter railway, is using Clark in a TV commercial. In it, he says, "For the holidays, ride BART on Saturdays. Of course, BART doesn't work on Sundays." Then with half a smile and a little shrug, Clark adds, "Neither do I."
THEY SAID IT
•Al Davis, Oakland managing general partner, on AFC superiority over the NFC: "The people who refuse to accept it remind me of those Japanese soldiers we keep finding on Pacific islands who won't believe the war is over."
•Birmingham Bulls owner John Bassett, on his six-month suspension by the World Hockey Association for signing underage junior star Ken Linesman: "I guess I'll call up Ted Turner and see if he needs another hand on his boat."