BAD IDEA IN MEMPHIS
Last week's refusal by the sponsors of the Memphis Open golf tournament to release Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Stan Leonard for participation in the 34-nation Canada Cup matches is selfish and obtuse. The Professional Golfers' Association tournament committee has backed up Memphis by threatening that if any of the three skips Memphis without a release and plays in the Canada Cup he will be fined $500 and suspended for six months.
Probably the soundest statement on the whole affair came from Loren Tibbals, the chairman of last year's PGA Championship and tournament director for this year's American Golf Classic in Akron. "Memphis," said Tibbals, "has a problem in staging its tournament without Palmer, Player and Leonard, but it seems to me that the international Canada Cup matches in Puerto Rico are of far greater importance than just another weekend tournament." We agree.
President Kennedy's Peace Corps will have plenty of muscle for its job. Those who have already volunteered to help the underdeveloped are highly developed in physical training. IBM machines recently processed 4,000 application forms, and a partial breakdown discloses that 1,928 checked swimming as the sport in which they participated; 1,373 said camping; 792 hunting; 711 football; 574 track; 363 mountain climbing.
Final selection of the first Peace Corps cadres will not begin until mid-June, with more testing and training to follow before they take off for foreign places. After they do get going, however, the cold war may be won on the playing fields of Tanganyika and Colombia, with the Peace Corps teaching the natives not only how to rotate crops and control trachoma, but also how to play baseball and basketball.
LOVE AMONG THE VEGETARIANS
A year ago some money-mad square in New Jersey filled a breakaway bottle with a bubbly, nonstaining chemical and sold it to the people for boat christenings. To hell with him. Since then someone else has put the whole of The Great Gatsby on an LP record sequence.
Well, there is no use getting too morose about these things, because they are gauged for the adult mind, i.e., one that has already atrophied. However, something should be said about the latest beach toy for children. This is a set of plastic castle molds. When the little boy arrives at the beach he fills the mold with wet sand and then goes klumph with it upside down and he has himself a castle.
It would be better to drown the child than to see him start off like this, grow up on a diet of reclaimed algae, marry a fiber-glass girl and grow old listening to The Great Gatsby on hi-fi.
The latest golf story comes from London, and involves Nubar Gulbenkian, 64, son of the late Calouste Gulbenkian who, in his day, was the world's richest man. Nubar possesses a flowing beard, a reputation for eccentricity and a million dollars of his own. He went into a sports shop the other day to buy golf balls, and explained to the clerk that he wanted them initialed because he lost so many. While writing the order the clerk casually inquired what his customer's handicap was.
"Old age and drink," replied Gulbenkian.
DOWN WITH THE BIG B
On or about June 10 in Toronto the National Association of State Racing Commissioners will make a decision that may go any one of three ways: Butazolidin yes; Butazolidin no; Butazolidin let's wait and see.
Butazolidin, of course, is the controversial analgesic (some call it dope) that alleviates stiffness and soreness in horses and allows the infirm to run. Four states—Kentucky, Illinois, Florida and Maryland—currently allow the use of Butazolidin, and a fifth, New Jersey, says that it does not allow its use but quietly tells trainers, "We aren't testing for it."
Recently a runner at Aqueduct race track in New York ran "on" Butazolidin and it showed up in his urine sample. The next day two papers headlined, PROBE 3RD BIG 'A' DRUGGING and BARE 3RD DOPING AT 'A'. The people who are currently running America's race tracks do not know themselves whether a horse running on Butazolidin is being helped or harmed, and they are taking too long to find out. We feel that Butazolidin may be fine in the barn in midweek, but should be ruled off the course.
A sportswriter for the Winston-Salem Journal picked up a jangling telephone the other day and a soft, feminine voice said, "I would like to report a softball game."
"All right," said the reporter, "what was the score?"
"Fifty-three to six. Hanes [high school] beat Gray [high school]."
"Oh, anything unusual about that?"
"Well," said the caller, "in the bottom of the third inning 27 runs were scored. That's about all."
"Are you sure?"
"Well," said the young lady, quickly refiguring her arithmetic, "Doris Pike got four home runs and Marsha Poole got three and—uh—Gaynell Wimbish got one."
"What did you do and what's your name?" asked the reporter.
"Roseann Bolpe. I played but I didn't do too much."
"Get any hits?"
"Yes, I got a triple, two seconds and a first."
New York's esoteric Museum of Modern Art does not normally draw a baseball crowd. But recently an audience there heard and saw a one-act operatic version of the famous poem Casey at the Bat, a composition by Pulitzer Prize composer William Schuman, president of the prestigious Juilliard School of Music.
Schuman, besides writing symphonies, cantatas and overtures, is a baseball and Giant fan. He was a catcher in his youth. "As a matter of fact," he said after the museum performance, "baseball was my youth." The Mighty Casey, as Schuman calls his opus, consists of three scenes: before the Mudville game, the game and after the game. Schuman and his librettist, Jeremy Gury, give Casey a .564 batting average, 200 RBIs and 99 home runs. They also provide a posthumous heroine called Merry, and a happy ending with his arm around Merry's waist.
The opinion of the majority of music critics was that The Mighty Casey struck out.
Everett Case, basketball coach at North Carolina State College, has a plan to keep future basketball scandals from touching his state. He believes that New York City boys are more easily corrupted than Carolina boys and that Carolina coaches should therefore stop recruiting New York athletes and concentrate on acquiring homebred talent. "Maybe the sense of values of New York boys is all screwed up," he says. "I don't know, but North Carolina boys would certainly be loyal."
Since the current scandal broke, there has been no more arrogant, self-serving and sanctimonious expression of opinion. (Case was inspired to express it when, last week, three of his players—two from New York, one from Louisville—were accused of conspiring with gamblers to fix games.)
For years, Everett Case has been one of the most brazen recruiters of young athletes in the coaching fraternity, and N.C. State twice has been penalized by the NCAA for breaking the rules. When the extent of State's pursuit of Jackie Moreland was revealed in 1956, State was put on probation for four years—as severe a sentence as the pussyfooting NCAA ever has imposed. Moreland was offered a five-year scholarship, his girl friend was offered a seven-year medical education and Moreland was to receive a generous yearly cash bonus and a yearly clothing allowance.
This is the kind of under-the-table, outside-the-rules recruiting that corrupts youngsters even before they get to college. Case is certainly not the only coach guilty of such misdeeds, but he cannot contribute to the general corruption and then complain that athletes—wherever they come from—are too corruptible. (An ironic sidelight is the fact that Stan Niewierowski, one of the three State players accused last week, tried to drop out of school two years ago. He was pressured by Case into staying—and playing basketball.)
It will be a great day—but don't hold your breath waiting for it to come—when coaches like Everett Case admit their own responsibility in this matter, instead of trying to shift the blame to the boys themselves, the gamblers and, finally, the manners and mores of a whole city.
EIGHTBALL'S NEXT START
At the last Pan American Games a black horse with a matching disposition named Eightball made a shambles of the opening event of the modern pentathlon by dumping his rider three times and galloping off for some unescorted romps (SI, Sept. 14, 1959). Now, two years older and presumably kinder, Eightball is starting a new career. A transfer to Fort Myer, Va. is currently in progress. Eightball is expected to make his next public appearance at Arlington National Cemetery where, following the six gray horses that pull the caisson, he will carry the sword and the boots placed backwards in the stirrups. Eightball, say riders who know him well, is a perfectly behaved horse unless he is touched on the neck. If that should happen at Arlington, the countryside may be treated to a galloping vision considerably more bizarre than that of the Headless Horseman.
Unpopular tax laws stimulate man's ingenuity, and horseplayers need ingenuity. When the boys in the Internal Revenue Service decided last year that lucky daily double players who took in over $600 for $2 had to pay income taxes on the windfall, the IRS required identification of winners at the payoff windows. Social Security cards were preferred. Recently, say racetrackers, a new black market in Social Security cards has sprung up. Men with hats down over their eyes, of the type who, out of season, sell dull razor blades at a discount, step up to winners diffidently approaching the windows. "Wanna buy what I got for $10?" they ask. "This is foolproof." In return for $10 the winner gets a Social Security card with somebody else's name on it. It's a real name, too, or rather was, for it's the name of someone more or less recently deceased. The hustlers at the daily double cashiers' windows have friends in funeral parlors, who somehow can get hold of Social Security cards which they sell for $5 a card. No doubt the revenuers will soon be demanding birth certificates with passport photos attached.
THEY SAID IT
•Golfer Arnold Palmer, discussing his proposed new television show, in which he will play against outstanding golfers from around the globe: "It's going to be called Palmer against the world. I guess if someone beats me twice he gets the show."
•North Carolina Representative Stedman Hines on a probable new law which will tighten the bribery penalties on anyone convicted of fixing basketball games: "You might say that we are locking the barn after the horse is stolen, but there are still some horses in the barn."
•Cleveland Indian Manager Jimmie Dykes, when questioned on the possibility of trading his team's shortstop, Woodie Held, even up for Shortstop Don Buddin of the Boston Red Sox: "I'll be 65 soon. I'm getting old but I'm not senile."
•New York Times sportswriter William R. Conklin, quoting a disgruntled horse-player at New York's chilly Aqueduct race track: "The four seasons here are early winter, winter, late winter and next winter."
•Singer Tony Martin, describing his brief career in baseball: "I tried out for the San Francisco Missions. The report on me was that I was a switch hitter who struck out both ways, but I could sing for the team on the bus."
•Baseball Commissioner Ford Frick, trying to explain his way out of the current slump in major league attendance: "We anticipated this leveling off after five straight seasons of rising attendances."