March 08, 1982
March 08, 1982

Table of Contents
March 8, 1982

The Spurs
Barbara Potter
Tates Locke
Horse Racing
Banzai Pipeline
19th Hole: The Readers Take Over


Edited by Jerry Kirshenbaum


This is an article from the March 8, 1982 issue Original Layout

Acid precipitation is having ill effects on a number of Atlantic salmon rivers in Canada. Dr. Walton D. Watt of Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans in Halifax, Nova Scotia says that 10 Atlantic salmon rivers in that province are now acidified and unable to support fish. In 11 other Nova Scotia rivers, Watt says, the number of salmon has declined as the acidity of the water has increased. In Quebec, Department of Fisheries and Oceans scientists are studying the effects of acid precipitation on four salmon rivers on the north shore of the St. Lawrence. There are no apparent adverse effects on three of the rivers, but the fourth, the Ste. Marguerite, a tributary of the Grand Saguenay, has high levels of aluminum, a toxic metal that acid precipitation can leach from soils.

There are also signs of trouble in the watershed of another north shore river, the Moisie, one of the world's great Atlantic salmon rivers. Dr. Karl Schiefer, an independent salmon consultant who has been studying the Moisie for 12 years, says that based on spot samples, some of its tributaries are showing sudden increases in acidity. Schiefer also notes that tailings from an iron mine are being dumped into a tributary of the Moisie and that these tailings contain high levels of mercury which acid precipitation can make biologically available. "We're seeing elevated levels of mercury in the sediments," Schiefer warns. "There it can enter the food chain. The major part of the diet for juvenile trout and salmon is benthic invertebrates—mayflies, caddis flies and stone flies—and when fish eat them, they can wind up doubling or tripling the contamination levels that exist in the invertebrates." This summer Schiefer plans to do mercury analyses offish to see whether, and to what extent, the contamination may have spread.

But the Canadian government doesn't want to wait for further evidence of acid precipitation damage. The damage already known to have occurred within its borders is bad enough. During negotiations in Washington last week on a proposed transboundary air-pollution agreement between the two countries, Canada offered to achieve by 1990 a 50% reduction of its emissions of sulphur dioxide, a principal source of acid precipitation, provided the U.S. agrees to take similar action. Much of the pollution that causes acid rain in the Northeastern U.S. and Canada originates in the U.S., but a favorable response by Washington to the proposal is by no means certain. A Canadian government official complains that the U.S. has been "less than forthcoming with suggestions" during the two years that talks on possible joint U.S.-Canadian action have taken place.

In addition to dragging its feet in negotiations with Canada, the Reagan Administration is trying to weaken the Clean Air Act of 1970 even though what's needed to combat acid rain is a strengthening of that law. The Administration's position bodes ill not only for Canada and the Northeastern U.S. but also for other afflicted areas. Last week a California legislative committee on acid rain was told that pH readings of as low as 2.2, an acidity level as bad as those found anywhere else in the U.S., were detected during a study of acid fog in the Los Angeles area conducted for the state's Air Resources Board by Michael Hoffmann, a Cal Tech associate professor of environmental engineering science. The board's chairwoman, Mary Nichols, invoked Hoffmann's findings to argue against changes in the Clean Air Act favored by the White House that would undermine a California program to control motor vehicle emissions, a major cause of acid precipitation in the state. So far, all such pleas have fallen on deaf ears within the Administration. Given that sorry fact, it hardly seems too mischievous to note that acid rain in German is saurer Regen.

It may be a good thing for Paul Westphal, whose services are the subject of a dispute between the New York Knicks and the Seattle SuperSonics, that he went ahead and signed an offer sheet with the struggling Knicks after paying them a visit last week. Arriving at Kennedy Airport to iron out details of the agreement, the former All-Star guard had no sooner entered a waiting limousine than a squad car driven by one of New York's Finest pulled alongside. Over the police car's loudspeaker came this ominous warning: "Don't leave town without signing a contract."


Tommy Lasorda arrived at the Los Angeles Dodgers' training camp in Vero Beach, Fla. last week to manage the defending world champions for the 1982 season. That's Lasorda's job, but to judge by his schedule in the days leading up to his arrival, he probably felt he was on vacation when he donned his Dodger uniform.

On Jan. 31 Lasorda spoke at a baseball writers' dinner in New York City. On Feb. 1 he attended a dinner in Philadelphia. On Feb. 2, 3 and 4 he appeared, respectively, in Erie, Pa., Niles, Ohio and Meadville, Pa. After a whirlwind three-day round of Chamber of Commerce and other engagements in Florida, he went to Hamilton, Ont. on Feb. 8 (sports celebrity night), El Paso on Feb. 9 (a speech), Sioux Falls, S. Dak. on Feb. 10 (B'nai B'rith sports banquet) and Toronto on Feb. 11 (Easter Seal benefit). There followed appearances in Youngstown, Ohio; Tucson; Los Angeles; Aurora, Ill.; Los Angeles again and Albuquerque. During one stretch, Lasorda made 16 appearances in 15 cities in 18 days.

This itinerary was supplied by the Dodger speakers bureau and covers only appearances the club was aware of. Noting that the garrulous, airport-hopping Lasorda may have added other engagements himself, team officials apologized that the list may be incomplete.


On a memorable weekend in 1958, Wilt Chamberlain of the University of Kansas pulled off an impressive athletic double, scoring 32 points in a 60-59 basketball overtime victory over Oklahoma in Lawrence on a Friday night, then tying for the Big Eight high-jump championship by clearing 6'6¾" in the conference indoor track meet the next afternoon in Kansas City. Last week Kansas junior Tyke Peacock achieved an even more breathless basketball-high jump double. The 6'1" Peacock is out of Chamberlain's league in basketball: He has averaged 3.9 points per game this season as a reserve point guard. But he outstrips Wilt as a high jumper, having won the World Cup title last summer in Rome with a jump of 7'5¾". And what confronted him now was quite a challenge. The Jayhawks were scheduled to play Iowa State in basketball in Lawrence at 1:05 p.m. on Saturday, and the high-jump competition at the Big Eight indoors was due to begin in Lincoln, Neb., 180 miles away, at 3 p.m. the same day.

The only reason Peacock could even hope to compete in both places was that Kansas basketball Coach Ted Owens had arranged earlier in the week to move the Iowa State game, for Peacock's benefit, an hour ahead of its original scheduled starting time of 2:05 p.m. Peacock wound up playing 20 minutes, scoring six points in a 63-61 loss to the Cyclones. The game ended at 2:50 p.m. Still in basketball uniform, Peacock was driven under police escort on the 10-minute trip from Allen Field House to Lawrence Airport, where he boarded a Cessna Citation owned by an anonymous Kansas booster for a 33-minute flight to Lincoln, during which he changed into his track uniform. The plane landed in Lincoln at 3:32 p.m., and Peacock was whisked by van to the Bob Devaney Sports Center in barely six minutes.

The high-jump competition was by now well under way. That morning track coaches of the other Big Eight schools had voted to disqualify Peacock if he arrived after the high jump began, but they later relented during what participants described as an emotional meeting. The high-jump competition began at 6'5", and Kansas Coach Bob Timmons arranged to have Peacock pass at that height. The bar was at 6'9" when Peacock showed up, and he passed at that height, too. He then cleared 6'11" on his first jump, 7'1" on his third jump and, finally, 7'3¾" on his second try to win the event, set a Big Eight indoor record and help Kansas win the conference championship. Peacock intimated that he might have jumped even higher if he hadn't been so "sore and tired" from playing basketball, but he didn't dare complain too much about that. After all, the basketball game could have gone into, say, triple overtime.


Dr. Richard Katz played in a duplicate bridge tournament last weekend at the Wild Whist Club in Los Angeles. So did Larry Cohen. What's noteworthy about this is that five years ago Katz and Cohen, one of this country's leading pairs, withdrew under pressure from the North American team trials in Houston and resigned from the American Contract Bridge League. The reason: The ACBL had accused them of cheating, claiming that the two had exchanged information during the bidding by means of intricate signals involving sniffs and coughs (SI, April 11, 1977).

Katz and Cohen brought a $44 million defamation suit against the league, but last week, just as the case was about to come to trial in Los Angeles Superior Court, a settlement was reached. Both players were readmitted, effective immediately, to the ACBL. It was also agreed that the ACBL's insurance carrier would pay the players' legal fees of $75,000. However, another stipulation was that for at least two years Katz and Cohen wouldn't be allowed to play as partners, which is why Katz was playing with his wife, Pat, at the Wild Whist while Cohen played with Gogi Petrasek. Katz called this last provision "a face-saver" for the ACBL, the implication being that the league had, in bridge parlance, gone down two, doubled and vulnerable. Indeed, the league's willingness to readmit Katz and Cohen suggests that it may have had doubts about its ability to prove in court that they had, in fact, cheated. On the other hand, Katz and Cohen will have trouble claiming that they've been vindicated by a settlement under whose terms they chose not to try to clear their names in court and are still conspicuously prohibited from playing together as partners.


Baseball salary arbitration is something of a crap shoot. Arbitrators rule either for the players or the club, no compromises allowed. This year, for the first time since 1978, more players than owners crapped out. Of the 22 cases that reached arbitration, the clubs won 14. Player agent Steve Greenberg blames the players' poor showing partly on last year's strike; players, he says, weren't able to build up impressive or credible statistics over the abbreviated season. He also believes that some clubs, stung by arbitration losses in recent years, were purposely low-balling in prearbitration negotiations to induce players to submit bids higher than they should have.

Another factor was the presence on management's side in eight of the 22 cases of Tal Smith Enterprises, a new consulting firm specializing in baseball salary arbitration. The four teams represented by Smith, a former Yankee executive vice-president and Astro president and general manager, won seven of those eight cases, saving the clubs more than $1 million in salaries. In the process, Smith dethroned as king of arbitration player-agent Dick Moss, who during one four-year stretch had won eight straight cases but who lost to Smith in all three head-to-head confrontations between the two this year.

Smith, who had been working with his nine-member staff full time since November in preparing for arbitration cases, attributes his success at the hearings to "intense preparation and good presentation." Indeed, so effective was Smith that one player who went up against him in arbitration reportedly confided later that he was almost swayed by Smith's arguments. But then, Smith may also partly owe his success to a willingness to offer slightly bigger raises than did negotiators for other teams. While the seven players he beat in arbitration received, even in defeat, salary increases averaging $118,000, the average raises of the seven players who lost in cases in which Smith wasn't present on management's side received raises averaging "only" $95,000.

Betty Ruth Goza of Lilburn, Ga. is a rabid basketball fan who has long had a special admiration for North Carolina Coach Dean Smith. However, Mrs. Goza's basketball-playing son, Lee, a 6'9" center, didn't get recruited by Smith, so he enrolled at Georgia Tech. Last week, during a 77-54 Tech loss to North Carolina in Chapel Hill, Lee Goza, now a senior, took an inbounds pass from teammate Brook Steppe to start the second half and, confused by the Tar Heels' man-to-man press, drove toward his own basket and scored a layup for North Carolina. The partisan Tar Heel crowd went bonkers, the other Tech players were mortified and Goza flashed a pained expression. But he regained his composure by the time the game ended. "I wish Mom could have seen it," he said brightly of his embarrassing moment on the court. "She always wanted me to score for North Carolina."



•Doug Atkins, former Chicago Bear end recently elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, discussing his old owner-coach, George Halas: "I got along with Halas just fine. If he'd paid me a little more, I might have even liked him."

•Edward Bennett Williams, Baltimore Orioles owner, referring to the National League's notoriously conservative owners: "They're 100% for progress and 100% against change."

•Doug Barnes, University of Arkansas at Monticello basketball coach, asked what his best move of the year was: "To sell nachos in the concession stand. We're making a bundle off those things."

•Wilbert Montgomery, Philadelphia Eagles running back, taking his turn as the last of 27 speakers at a sports banquet in Dover, Del.: "I thought that back-of-the-bus stuff was all over with."

•Chuck (Bobo) Brayton, Washington State baseball coach, on the importance of recruiting: "It's like shaving. If you don't do it every day, you're a bum."