An item in the Sept. 8 Boston Globe: "An unprecedented statewide campaign to increase protection of [football] players against injury, with special emphasis on those injuries which result from 'spearing' and 'butt blocking,' has been undertaken by the Massachusetts Inter-scholastic Athletic Assn., Inc."
SHAKE-UP IN THE TEMPLE
Teddy Brenner, matchmaker at Madison Square Garden for the last 20 years, has gotten the bounce from Garden chairman Sonny Werblin. Brenner's position became shaky two months ago after Werblin arranged for Don King to co-promote fights at the Garden. King and Brenner have been rivals, and after a recent riot at the Garden, Brenner was quoted as saying he would not be surprised if King had arranged for fans to throw bottles to make him look bad.
Werblin has named fight manager Gil Clancy as matchmaker, but Brenner has no doubt that King is really in charge. Says Teddy, "King's ambition has always been to get into the temple of boxing so he could be the high priest."
The Chicago Black Hawks have moved their Central Hockey League farm team from Dallas because some of the players were too happy with the golfing and disco dancing there. As Sam Blair of the Dallas News puts it, "The distractions should be considerably less in Moncton, New Brunswick."
Let's hear it for pollution, which has its centennial this month. Exactly 100 years ago, the Spirit of the Times, a prominent publication of the day, noted, "Like rumbling sounds of distant thunder, an occasional report came to the office of the Spirit, to inform us that the gas factories were ruining the quality of eels and bottom-biting fish throughout the East River. But as the great body of anglers made no complaint, we made no note of the subject. But within the past year a more serious injury to the fishery around Manhattan has presented itself, the waters having become impregnated by the refuse from the kerosene refining factories to such an offensive degree, as to have not only deteriorated all bottom-feeding fishes, but the striped bass as well have become so permeated by the offensive refuse as to be unfit for the table. This is a great damage, for there are many who made bass fishing near New York their only recreation."
To be precise, the Spirit of the Times' story appeared on Sept. 28, 1878, but we thought fishermen might like to know ahead of time so they can get ready to celebrate the big day.
Workaholic George Allen is now working NFL games on CBS, but on the first day of the season the recently fired Ram coach spent his first game day with his family since he began coaching in 1948. SI correspondent Jack Tobin, who dropped by the Allen home overlooking the Pacific in Palos Verdes, reports on this unique occurrence:
There in the family room, by gosh, is George, mopping sweat from his brow and all dressed up like a coach in green, yellow and brown checked shorts, a white short-sleeved shirt, white sweat socks, blue Puma shoes and a sweep-secondhand watch.
"This is weird," Allen says. "I just finished working out. I ran 3½ miles at Rolling Hills High and did my double pushups, 110 of them. If I hadn't worked out," he adds, pointing to the timbers on the ceiling, "I'd be up there."
George is also going out of his gourd because the telecast of the Ram game from Philadelphia has been delayed so CBS can show the investiture of Pope John Paul I, and he has to listen to the game on radio. "I can't visualize what's going on from a description," he says. The game is in the second quarter, and when Frank Corral kicks his second field goal to put the Rams ahead 6-0, Allen calms briefly and says, "The only way the Eagles have a chance is for the Rams to make a mistake. The Eagles' offense can't move the ball running." A Ram gain is nullified because of holding, and Allen asks the radio. "Who's holding? That's what I want to know. I'd like to know who was holding. What number?" The radio doesn't answer. Just before the half ends. Ram rookie Glen Walker punts 50 yards, and Allen says, "I cut all the other punters early to give him confidence."
Channel 2 suddenly cuts from Vatican City to Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia. "I've never seen it this way before on Sunday," Allen says. As CBS shows highlights of other action around the league, an announcer remarks that a receiver did not have time to "look for the ball." George shoots back at the set, "He had time to look. He didn't look. It's his job to look. He's paid to look!" He switches to the Oiler-Falcon game just as the half ends and the players are walking off the field. "Run off! Jog off!" he says. "Show pride!"
Back to CBS. The Rams receive. First and 10 on their 10. Allen calls out, "Blue stall slot! Blue stall slot! Flair!" The Rams are forced to kick. George pops up, muttering, "I'm not going to be able to watch these games. Boy, I can't watch them." The Rams block a punt and lead 13-0. "Could I have a glass of milk, Etty?" Allen calls to his wife. "My stomach is bothering me." Asked if he wouldn't prefer a Gelusil instead, he replies, "I took one, I did, right after the half was over."
Despite the Rams' lead, George is jittery. "Mistakes can still hurt." Bango, the Eagles score, making it 13-7. The Rams have to punt, and Wally Henry makes it 14-13 Eagles with a 57-yard return. "This is the last game I'm going to watch," moans George. "No more."
But George might just as well be on the sideline in Veterans Stadium. His eyes are glued to the action, his hands on his knees, his legs spread. There's 1:20 to play, and Quarterback Pat Haden of the Rams throws an incompletion. "When quarterbacks throw on the run, invariably they overthrow," Allen says. With 12 seconds on the clock, Corral comes in to try a 38-yard field goal. Allen says, "We had him kicking over a seven-foot screen to get height. We were concerned about his line-drive kicks."
From Philadelphia, Vin Scully calls the action. "Now it's up to Frank Corral. It's up! It'sssssssss good!"
"Wheeooooooooo!" George yells as the Rams win 16-14.
Scully says of the replay, "Take another look."
"Aw," says George, "I can't take this."
Ted Williams, who won the triple crown in the American League in 1947 with 32 homers, 114 runs batted in and a .343 average, has celebrated his 60th birthday by achieving a triple-crown goal he set for himself in 1965—catching 1,000 bonefish, 1,000 tarpon and 1,000 Atlantic salmon on the fly rod. With the bonefish and tarpon goals in hand (for years, Williams has spent his winters in the Florida Keys), he was 27 salmon short of 1,000 when he recently left his camp on the Miramichi and went to fish the Whale River in Quebec. He took care of that with 35 fish in six days. Williams would love to say that salmon No. 1,000 was a great fish, but with customary candor he reports, "It was a dinky little damn fish, 'bout as much oomph as Billy Goodman [a singles hitter] used to get on the bat when we played together in Boston."
O TEMPORA! O MORES!
While the Portland Trail Blazers are reporting to training camp this week, Bill Walton—his left foot still in a cast—will be in Egypt, camped at the base of the pyramids for three nights of concerts by the Grateful Dead. This development should raise scarcely an eyebrow after the bizarre series of events that followed Walton's demands to be traded to a team of his choice because of the Trail Blazers' policy on administering pain-killing drugs (SI, Aug. 21).
The story began taking its latest twist two weeks ago when Walton and the Golden State Warriors, his "chosen" team, reached an impasse in their contract talks. At about the same time, the Warriors and the Trail Blazers—who have maintained that any trade for Walton must make them "whole"—failed to come to terms. The snag in both cases is that there is little chance Walton will be sound enough to play much this season, if at all. "We cannot make acquiring Bill our top priority right now," says Warrior executive Scotty Stirling. "He's not ready to play basketball and we're not going to ruin our team for this season to get a player who can't play."
Golden State can afford to stand pat, but Portland can't. If the Blazers refuse to accept, say, a mediocre center like Robert Parrish or a forward like Sonny Parker from the Warriors, they will have to pay Walton $450,000 in salary, only to lose him to free-agent status at the end of the season when his contract expires. Then Walton can take the first plane to the Bay Area, or anywhere else.
Last week Walton met with Blazer President Larry Weinberg. "I decided one more time to see if there was any way I could continue to play for the Trail Blazers," said Walton. "There wasn't. At the beginning of the meeting I told Larry that I had serious difficulties with most of the people in the Trail Blazer management." Indeed, Walton told Weinberg he wanted him to fire General Manager Harry Glickman, team physician Bob Cook, trainer Ron Culp, public relations director John White and business manager George Rickles. "I would have compromised on Jack Ramsay," Walton said, "because he's a great coach." Weinberg's reply was that policies could be changed, but personnel would not be.
And Walton's difficulties didn't end there. A series of what he termed "extreme personality differences" with his friend and agent Jack Scott had mucked up negotiations with Golden State and San Diego, another team that had expressed an interest in Walton, so last week Walton and Scott parted ways. Said Walton gracefully, "I understand and acknowledge all of the personal harassment Jack has unfairly received in the process of helping me." Said Scott, Walton is "spoiled." O tempora! O mores!
Representative John T. Myers (R., Ind.) is furious at the Postal Service for issuing the new auto racing stamp in Ontario, Calif., instead of in Indianapolis. He fired off a letter to Postmaster General William F. Bolger in which he noted that the stamp features an "Indianapolis-type car" and added, "Indianapolis is the auto racing capital. Ask any racing fan."
In reply, Deputy Postmaster General James V. P. Conway explained that the service originally planned to issue the stamp in Indianapolis at the time of the 500, but because of the change in rates, from 13¬¨¬®¬¨¢ to 15¬¨¬®¬¨¢, it was unable to do so." The service then decided to make Ontario, the site of the California 500, the issuing place.
Conway offered Myers and other outraged Hoosiers this consolation: "Missing the 1978 Indianapolis race does not mean we have slighted Indianapolis. As you know, Indianapolis was the first-day-of-issue city for the block of four butterfly stamps issued on June 6, 1977. You may not know that the butterfly stamps were voted the most popular issue of 1977 in polls conducted by philatelic publications, and thus focused attention on the city of their issuance."
Tell that to A.J., Conway.
Mario Andretti is the new world driving champion, the first American to hold that title in 17 years, and we salute him with pride and admiration. But it is inexpressibly sad that the race in which his championship was confirmed, Sunday's Italian Grand Prix, took the life of Ronnie Peterson of Sweden, Andretti's teammate and closest pursuer for the driving title. Despite the safety advances drivers have achieved in a decade of hard striving, Grand Prix racing obviously continues to present the risk of fatal accident. Just as clearly, its participants see in it rewards that make the risk worth taking. Like his comrades, Andretti has put his life on the line; now he has won the race.
HE SAID IT
•Jeff Griese, 7-year-old son of Miami Dolphin Quarterback Bob Griese, on learning his father would be sidelined with a knee injury: "Oh, good, now we get to color your cast."