BASEBALL'S BAD NEIGHBOR
Many a small boy, lost in the delightful distractions of juvenile existence, gets a first unpleasant inkling of the iniquities of the adult world when an angry and seemingly unreasonable parent forbids him to play in a neighbor's backyard. "I don't care how much fun you have with Johnny or how nice he is, I just will not have you going to that house any more," the parent may say, and the small boy is left to wonder in innocent frustration why he should pay the penalty for another's crimes. This is about what happened to baseball last week when the officials of the International League decided to pull its Havana Sugar Kings out of Cuba.
It may seem to be stretching an analogy to equate the U.S. national game or its rawboned representatives in the minor leagues with a small boy. Nevertheless, just as play between kids in a suburban backyard helps foster acquaintance between neighboring parents, play between the Sugar Kings and their visiting opponents in Havana over the last six years has helped the people of Cuba and the people of the U.S. mainland get to know each other a little better. Such acquaintance, however, can either ripen into friendship and understanding or sour into contempt and distrust, and in Cuba's backyard it has taken the latter course. While Cuban fans and players have embraced the Yanqui game, the uncordial atmosphere generated by Havana's hysterical housekeeper, Fidel Castro, has made visiting U.S. teams feel less and less welcome. Last week officials of the International League noted that Juanito might be a very nice boy, but nonetheless forbade further play in Fidel's backyard. The Sugar King franchise was transferred to Jersey City. Remarkably enough, all of the team's Cuban players came with it.
This decision seems amply justified, and we are happy to have the Havana D.P.s in this country. To many Americans whose interest is more readily engaged by sports than by international politics their arrival should be a revealing indication of just how bad a neighbor Mr. Fidel Castro has become.
SPORT'S GOOD COMPANIONS
Like any other domicile of cohabitation, the world of sport is sometimes riven by the angry contention of the male that the female has no proper place in it. There are males who claim, as did Australia's famed track coach Percy Cerutty not long ago (SI, April 11), that sport spoils women because its hard physical exactions tend to make men of them. There are other males who claim, as did a New York sports columnist only last week, that women spoil sport because they are not men, viz., "The best woman tennis player would take a lacing from an old club pro or a young male amateur." It is not our purpose to start bickering with either of these obstreperously Victorian points of view. There is evidence enough in words and pictures on the pages that follow to silence both of them—we hope—for good.
But since this is the season for constructing platforms and taking strong stands thereon, we think it appropriate that SPORTS ILLUSTRATED make a firm statement of its policy regarding women. We do not think women are men—or ever will be. We are happily aware that their approach to sport—as to many other aspects of life—often is more feminine than masculine. Indisputably, there are certain notable differences between, say, Trish Galvin and Yogi Berra. Having noted these differences, not unpleasurably, we welcome women in the world of sport with open (if avuncular) arms. For those who find their presence unbearable, there is always the sanctuary of the men's locker room.