It's bad enough that the U.S. Postal Service has all those crazy abbreviations, such as MA for Massachusetts and MI for Michigan, but now try to decipher this list of the 10 leading hitters in the National League as printed in the Daily News of Hays, Kans.: Bckn, Mn, Prrs, Hrn, Vlnt, Mth, Cy, Bnc, Fly and Grss. Now try the American League: Jcks, Rdrg, Lm, Dvs, Kmp, Lyn, Crw, LFlr, Bll and Grr.
The death of Jockey Robert Pineda and the serious injuries suffered by two other jockeys in a four-horse spill at Pimlico last week have raised fresh concern about butazolidin. The anti-inflammatory drug had been given to Easy Edith, who caused the pileup when she snapped her left foreleg with Rudy Turcotte aboard. "Bute is like novocaine," said Turcotte from his hospital bed. "Without bute, if a horse starts to hurt, he will pull himself up. If he's numbed by bute, and can't feel anything, he'll keep running." Jockey Leroy Moyers, who had ridden Easy Edith in the past, was on her March 14 when she finished 10th and last at Bowie. He told his agent he wanted no more of her because "I didn't think she was a sound horse."
Jockey John K. Adams, critically injured last February in a fall from a bute horse at Bowie, agrees with Turcotte. Adams has particularly strong feelings on the subject because as a result of his spill he spent 21 days unconscious, two more weeks semiconscious, suffered a crushed chest and ran up a $50,000 medical bill. "The trainers know these horses are bad," says Adams, "and the vets just turn their heads. They think bute is a cure. If a horse has bad knees, for example, they'll give him bute and think he'll be all right.
"I rode 20 horses for one trainer who doesn't even bandage his horses," Adams continues. "They are all sore. Five of them broke their legs with me, and he told me I was bad luck for him. Another time, I remember trying to get a horse scratched at the gate because I thought he was sore. The vet told me to go ahead and ride him. Luckily, I could hold him together and we trailed the field. He broke his leg on the turn for home. Other jocks have been in the same position, it's not just me."
A Maryland humane society, the Defenders for Animal Rights, is trying to get together with jockeys to lobby for a bill in the state general assembly restricting the use of bute. Meanwhile, Maryland trainers continue to give horses bute tablets as though they were aspirin. "As a rule, I run all my horses on bute," says Tom Caviness, who trained Easy Edith. "First of all, my horses are claimers and are not 100% sound. But they aren't lame, either. And if I don't run them on bute, it would be an advertisement that they are sound and other trainers would claim them."
Brent Clark, a defector from the NCAA, offered lurid testimony about "bribery" and flesh peddling by NCAA investigators when he appeared as a witness before the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations (SCORECARD, March 13). When controversy arose about the charges made by Clark, who had joined the subcommittee staff only weeks before the hearings on the NCAA began, the subcommittee chairman, Rep. John E. Moss (D., Calif.), had three staff members investigate Clark's testimony. Last week, Rep. Norman F. Lent (R., N.Y.) made public the staff's confidential memorandum to Moss that discredits Clark's testimony. For example, Clark charged that an NCAA investigator had dropped a case when provided "with the services" of a woman. It turns out that the investigator, who was single, had gone on a blind date. Questioned about this, Clark claimed he had not intended to imply that the woman was a prostitute.
The same day that Moss got the memorandum calling Clark's testimony "deficient," Clark resigned, citing personal reasons. Some subcommittee members had been opposed to Clark's ever joining the staff because they believed they had a valid case without him. With Clark gone, the subcommittee should be able to devote its full energies to the main point of the hearings: Are the NCAA's enforcement procedures fairly and properly conducted?
THE RITES OF SPRING
Who's that strange-looking bird with George Archibald? Well, her name is Tex and she is an 11-year-old whooping crane. Whooping cranes are an endangered species. There are only about 105 in the world—but soon there will be more if Tex and George Archibald have anything to do with it.
Archibald is an ornithologist and co-director of the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, Wis., which is striving to keep cranes from becoming extinct. Tex is also striving to keep cranes from becoming extinct, although not exactly the way one might expect. Raised in captivity in the living room of Fred Stark of the San Antonio Zoo, Tex didn't even see another whooping crane until she was two, and by that time she was "human imprinted" and wouldn't mate with other cranes. Archibald got Tex on loan from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and impersonated the mating dance of the male crane, which he describes as a series of weird and awkward steps. When Tex was suitably aroused, she was impregnated by artificial insemination. Her first egg, laid last year, proved infertile, but her second egg, delivered last week with Archibald tenderly at her side, looks good according to preliminary tests. If all goes well, it will hatch around Memorial Day. Meanwhile, Archibald is continuing to dance with Tex every day. He says there is an excellent chance for more "shell treasures" this breeding season.
RUMBLINGS AT GRAMBLING
When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected Quarterback Doug Williams in the first round of last week's NFL draft in New York (page 66), it was an indication that Grambling's football program, which has developed so many pros, was still thriving. Grambling's longtime coach, Eddie Robinson, told the Bucs, "In Doug Williams you are getting a good man, a good player and a good American. Doug is apple pie."
But back home in Louisiana, Grambling's affairs were hardly in apple-pie order. The school was reeling from financial problems, internal scandals, an ongoing NCAA investigation and reports that Robinson, who is second only to Bear Bryant in victories among active coaches, is on his way out. Two weeks ago Joshua M. Bursh III, former director of the Grambling Foundation, was convicted of the theft of $26,500 of school funds. His conviction came as the result of an investigation by the state attorney general's office into Grambling's $5 million deficit last year. At one time Bursh was considered the leading candidate to succeed Dr. Ralph Jones, who retired last year as president of the school.
Last month Collie Nicholson, the school's sports information director for more than 30 years, resigned in the wake of another inquiry into a trip the Grambling football team and band made to Tokyo in 1976 to play Morgan State. Grambling had been forbidden to use state money to pay for the trip, but in a letter from the Japanese promoter Grambling was asked to pay $42,000 in extra expenses. The letter was doctored in the school's graphic arts department so that the paragraph requesting the money was deleted. The money was laundered and paid out of school funds, and Grambling is a state-supported institution.
Amid all this, reports persist that Robinson is through. Grambling Vice-President Kermit McMurry denies them, saying, "Eddie's an institution here. Any decision to leave would be his own." But another source says, "Under Ralph Jones, Robinson had a blank check. Now the new administration just tells him to sit down and shut up."
One of the most hallowed records in saltwater fishing has gotten the boot. The International Game Fish Association has dropped the 73-pound striped bass caught off Cuttyhunk, Mass. in 1913 by Charles B. Church from its 1978 world record book. According to the IGFA, the record striper now is a 72-pound fish taken by Edward J. Kirker in 1969, also off Cuttyhunk.
The 73-pounder was excluded because Church's line was never tested for its breaking strength. This would have been very difficult, considering that the catch was made 26 years before the IGFA was founded and 35 years before the organization began testing line. The consignment of Church's 73-pounder to Orwellian oblivion can be rationalized, but it still seems a shame.
Tony Kubek, who does baseball's Game of the Week for NBC, feels that Yankee owner George Steinbrenner would like to get him fired. It all began in spring training when Kubek, a former Yankee shortstop, visited his old club and told a reporter for the Fort Lauderdale News, "Steinbrenner has one of the most expensive toys in the world and what he does is manipulate people. He's not the only one either. The same is true of most of the owners in baseball." Kubek went on to say, "Steinbrenner won't let anybody relax. It's what I call his 'corporate mentality.' He throws a fear into everybody.... He makes the players fear for their jobs. That's his theory and it works."
The story ran with the headline BLAME FOR BASEBALL TRAUMA RESTS WITH OWNERS—KUBEK, and when Steinbrenner saw it he sent copies to various owners and the commissioner's office with the notation, "How's this for the mouth that bites the hand that feeds it?"
At the start of the season, Kubek showed up to do a Yankee-Ranger Game of the Week telecast, and a Yankee employee told him that he, the employee, would lose his job if even one Yankee player gave Kubek an interview. As a result, Joe Garagiola did the interviewing instead.
Now, says Kubek, "I understand Steinbrenner's trying to get on the owners' TV committee and with all the millions of dollars at stake in contract negotiations, I would be a very small thing." Although Kubek says he doesn't fear losing his job, he would just as soon have the controversy simmer down. Your move, George. And this time, why make such a dumb one?
Phys ed professor Dan Landers and his Penn State colleagues say that brown-eyed people tend to have faster reaction times than those with blue eyes. Moreover, people with dark brown eyes react faster than those with light brown eyes. One test, done with the Penn State football team, showed that those players with the darkest eyes of all—they happened to be linebackers—also had the fastest reaction time.
One possible reason, says Landers, is that melanin, the dark, grainy pigment that gives eyes their color, could be genetically related to the amount of neuromelanin in the nervous system. Although the function of neuromelanin is not known, some scientists think it has electrical properties that can hasten the speed of neural impulses.
"It's such a bizarre idea I didn't really believe it at first," says Landers. "But in our tests conducted at the Motor Behavior Laboratory, dark-eyed people are really quicker, regardless of sex, race, socioeconomic status or any other factors we examined." Landers has hazel eyes.
THEY SAID IT
•John Veitch, trainer of Derby favorite Alydar, asked before the race if he would accept 6 to 5 on Alydar if he were a betting man: "I don't bet. These SOBs disappoint you enough without losing money, too. Betting would drive me crazy. As it is, I spend enough time talking to myself."
•Clarence Chaffee, retired Williams College tennis coach, ranked No. 2 nationally in the 75-and-over division, on his game, in words that the younger generation might misinterpret: "My game goes up when I play on grass. I would never elect to play on the hard stuff. On grass, you can hit hard and the ball seems to stay in."