Fire at will
Shooting paper clips out of office windows with rubber bands was recognized by the New York Court of Appeals last week as a suitable sport for idle messenger boys. Declining to set aside a workmen's compensation award of $228.64 to James Johnston for injuries incurred when a clip backfired and struck him in the eye, the court cited the "youth and restlessness" of messenger boys and held that "the act and instrument, when conjoined to cause the injury, have a somewhat closer relationship to the employment than those in the ordinary case involving horseplay."
Add him up
Phil Rizzuto, who does the New York Yankee games, told his TV audience that the Detroit Tigers were coming to town with "their extra added addition, Rocky Colavito."
A short-term contract
Basketball is the big sport at the University of Portland, and Portland is a big-time basketball school, thanks largely to a tough-minded, energetic coach named Al Negratti. Negratti wants his teams to win and so does the school, but they'd win a lot more often if Negratti didn't maintain such high off-court standards. Players squirmed and fans booed when Al threw stars off his team for disciplinary reasons, when he insisted that squad members keep their grades high, when he benched two starters before a big game with Oregon State because they had been late for a study hall. Last season Portland's won-lost record fell off to 11-15, a losing season that ordinarily would put a big-time coach on warning that things had better improve, fast. But Portland, pleased with Negratti's "proper perspective and recognition of the place of intercollegiate sports in the total educational program," last week signed him to a new contract. Its length: 25 years.
Commented the Rev. Paul E. Waldschmidt, vice-president of the university: "If Al does well, next time we'll give him a long-term contract."
Hit a ball 360 feet to dead center at the University of Texas and you turn any old ball game into a cliff-hanger. Reasons are: 1) a 15-foot escarpment that cuts across the outfield and 2) an ingenious centerfielder named Roy Menge.
Menge has marked three spots on the cliff on which he can get a quick foothold and up which he can scramble to the top. So far this season he has chased four seemingly certain home runs up the rocky bluff and has gotten the ball back to the infield fast enough to hold three of them to triples. Managers always have admired outfielders who can go back for a fly ball.
Couple of mean ones
Two old, ill-tempered horses that couldn't run a mile in two minutes might be worth mentioning here on the eve of the Kentucky Derby.
Nautical, a 17-year-old palomino, began life as a ranch horse and eventually developed into a topflight jumper and a member, so to speak, of the U.S. equestrian team. As he left for Europe this week to prepare for the Olympics, motion-picture cameras busily recorded his departure. If all goes well, Hollywood's Walt Disney will release a film this fall that will present Nautical's true life story. And it's a pretty good one.
Born in New Mexico, Nautical originally earned his keep as a cow pony. But in the early 1950s he changed owners on the basis of a $35 bet in a poker game, did a stint as a show horse, was sold again and finally was put to work as a jumper. He gained a reputation as a horse with a brilliant jump, but a horse, as many a rider ruefully discovered, that was awfully hard to sit.
In 1955 Hugh Wiley, a leading member of the U.S. equestrian team, bought Nautical, curbed his wildness and soon developed him into a dependable and consistent performer. Last summer the horse came into his own by winning four trophies at the White City Show in London, including the King George V Cup—one of international jumping's most coveted prizes.
The film makers have been able to improve on Nautical's legendary life in only one respect. Nautical's stand-in cost them $2,500, a somewhat more impressive figure than the $35 involved in that dimly remembered poker game.
Another veteran horse with an ornery reputation is War Paint, the best bucking saddle bronc on the rodeo circuit. In more than 300 rodeos he has been ridden successfully only about a dozen times, and any cowboy who can stay on him for the 10 seconds it takes to score is almost always a sure winner of the saddle-bronc competition.
In his first major rodeo of the current season, at Red Bluff, Calif., War Paint wasted no time in demonstrating that he was in top form. Showing his usual disdainful calm, he patiently waited in the chute, as if he had already figured exactly how he would toss his rider. Once the gate opened, he broke fast and violently, thrust his head down, kicked his hind legs high, pounded the dirt with all fours, and in less time, literally, than it takes to tell it, sent his rider flying.
At 14, an age that would be unbearably ancient for a race horse, War Paint, the rodeo horse, was still in his vigorous prime.
What pleases the curator of birds at New York's Bronx Zoo is that the fancy flamingos inhabiting the zoo's pond now include all six species making up the order Phoenicopteriformes. What pleases the head keeper is that a plain whistle blast causes the members of the order Phoenicopteriformes to leave the water, line up and walk obediently into the building where they spend the night.
A group of queasy nobles, churchmen, jurists and writers banded together in Madrid last week and formed the Association Against Cruelty in Spectacles. Their motto: A Purer Spain for a Better World. Their target, of course, is La Fiesta Nacional, which they consider outrageously named. The AACS claims it is not against bullfighting per se, just against bloodletting per liter, whether it be bull's, horse's or man's. According to the AACS, the bulls ought to wear pillows on their horns and be trotted back to the corral after being exercised by the matadors.
Although the sanitary bullfight is not imminent, the AACS could prove as irksome as a picador's lance. At the very least, it will make sanguine Spaniards yearn for the good old days when Spain had only one such humane society. It found homes for stray cats, put straw hats on burros and minded its own business.
Chili-dipping with Jim
Jimmy Demaret was talking about the first round of the Houston Open last week, and if he's any example, golf is moving far out.
"Palmer and Collins hit this track on the pipeline," said flamboyant James. "And Ragan would have been up there if he hadn't gone chili-dipping. How about all those 68s? You know the boys weren't worrying about banana balls, coat hangers or hitting pitchouts. But just remember, this is still a fast track that can get any of them. Look at Stranahan winding up with trombones and Jay Hebert out on Sunset Strip."
A glossary for duffers:
Chili-dipping—flubbing a shot
Trombones—shooting a 76
Sunset Strip—shooting a 77
Anybody remember what a cleek was?
Sergei Salnikov, a star player for the Moscow Spartak soccer team, was suspended last week and threatened with loss of his treasured title as "merited master of sport" because he lost his temper and punched an opponent during a tense game against Kiev.
The referees didn't see Salnikov swing, but the spectators did, and they, loyal citizens that they are, squealed to government officials.
Out of contact
Of Chester Barron it might be said: His spirit was willing but his retinas were weak. Driver Barron was forced to the pits the other day in Atlanta when he lost his contact lenses in the early going of a 100-mile stock car race. "I wanted to get in there and scrap," he explained later, "but I just couldn't tell which way they went."
MENGE, A CLIFF-CLIMBING OUTFIELDER
NAUTICAL, A HORSE WITH A LONG STORY