NEVER ON SUNDAY?
Ford ("It's news to me") Frick, the non-commissioner of baseball, has decided something, and that's news right there. The substance of it is that the World Series shall unquestionably and unconditionally begin in a National League park on Wednesday, October 7—weather, anyhow, permitting. Furthermore, decrees Frick, there will be no travel day after the first two games (when the Series moves to an American League park) if neighboring teams are involved. The commissioner may have meant, for instance, the Orioles and the Phillies, but he did not spell it out.
In the event of a four-game Series, therefore, it will all be over on Saturday, and the NBC network will have no ball game to show on Sunday. Last year the fourth and final game of the Series—because of an intervening travel day—was telecast on a Sunday, and it drew the largest sports TV audience since the world was young. Naturally, dreadful rumors that the CBS Yankees have taken over the commissioner's office are beginning to take form. "Oh, stuff and nonsense," laughs NBC Vice-president Carl Lindemann with undetectable mirth. "We sell the Series as a package, not game by game. The only losers would be the sponsors and the guys who have to work on Saturday."
Still, the guy who works on Saturday need not be entirely crestfallen. With no distracting World Series on Sunday, he can watch NFL football—on CBS.
SMOKE IN SUN VALLEY
For several years it has been a smoldering secret that the Union Pacific Railroad wanted to unload its posh—and impoverished—ski resort in Sun Valley, Idaho. Somewhat out of the way, the country's oldest and most lavishly operated ski area has never paid U.P. an avalanche of profits since it was built in 1936. Now the hot tip is that U.P. has found an itchy buyer for the 46,000-acre property. And when the railroad directors meet in Omaha next week, they probably will approve an offer made by Janss Corp., a California real-estate development firm.
The Sun Valley rumor mongers also say that Janss will lease the valley inns to a hotel-motel company (perhaps Western International) and will subdivide the lands bordering the ski lifts. One observer has noted new survey stakes around Averell Harriman's lodge. Harriman, who planned the picturesque resort as a publicity stunt for his railroad in the first place, may be going to stay on to see if change means progress and profit.
How the French love to shoot! Whether they shoot at rabbits, at deer or at one another does not seem to matter. Last year, for example, French hunters sent 1,172 of their number to first-aid stations or hospitals and 165 to their graves. This year, say insurance experts dolefully adjusting their rates, 200 more will die.
With more leisure and more money to spend on it, the French hunter is indomitable if not indestructible. Almost 2 million licenses were sold last year for $5 and, despite a $3 rise, 6% more will be sold this year. And when open season was declared last week in 57 of the country's northern departments—including the woodland boulevards and courtyards of Paris itself—sporting-goods stores were jammed with gadget-minded shoppers, ordinary farmlands became hunting preserves and the newspapers stopped denouncing the slaughter on the highways only to attack the slaughter of the fields.
Certainly French officials are not totally oblivious to this aimless carnage. On the contrary. The opening of the season in three pastoral departments was postponed until France's largest moving target, President Charles de Gaulle, left them for the relative safety of the capital.
Boxing and television, entwined with one another for the past 20 years, called it off last week, both reeling. It had come to the point where Jack Paar warmed over was outdrawing the fights, and neighborhood-club boxing, the root system supposed to nourish the whole thing, was all but withered and dead.
One man who will be affected by the breakup is Don Dunphy, which is a pity. A fine announcer, Dunphy began calling fights for radio 23 years-ago. One man, recalling those radio days, said: "You could sit home in your Morris chair and his blow-by-blow accounts were so precise you could score the fight perfectly."
"The low ratings that knocked boxing off television," Dunphy said the other day, "were unfair. They never took any surveys of neighborhood bars, and TV fights surely rated 100%, in those." Then, wishing his TV friends goodby and good luck and making a bow to the game he obviously loves, Don Dunphy declared that boxing is clean. In fact, he said, going Ivory Soap one one-hundredth of a percent better, "99 and 45/100% of all the boxers I have known are great people."
When that American League meeting in Boston broke up (see page 26), one of our agents disguised as a janitor slunk into the room to sweep up a handful of doodles left on the table. He emerged clutching six sheets of Hotel Somerset stationery with doodles that appear to make as little sense as the result of the meeting itself. Disguised as a psychiatrist, he produced this report:
"The sheets, doodled by divers hands, are unsigned. One doodle is of a Chinese mandarin. Is a Hong Kong franchise in the back of someone's mind? Another sheet, rather deftly done, shows a ballplayer, a jackass and, possible redundancy, a portrait of a smiling club owner. 'Orioles, Orioles,' is scrawled in a childish hand on two sheets, and another sheet bears the baffling figures, '2-0-4-6-4-8-10-8-12-14-12-1-3-7-13-7-1-6-6-6-9-666-9-666,' which could stand for either the numbers of homers hit in recent games off Kansas City pitching or the room measurements in a new Del Webb hotel. The most significant doodle of all is a circle with an unequivocal 'No!' in the middle of it. The No!, on a second thought, was penciled out."
Snow White fell into a coma eating an apple a day, and now it develops the salubrious outdoor life can get you, too. The peril may be found lurking in freshly dry-cleaned sleeping bags. Noxious fumes given off by the residue of some cleaning solvents can cause sickness in a buttoned-up, airless tent—and have even taken the life of a teen-age camper in Minnesota. Best advice for escapists from the sooty city: thoroughly air your gear. A short nap can become the big sleep.
In the days when 130-foot J boats raced for the America's Cup, the only medicine professional deckhands knew was a quick hair of the dog as the sun got up. But boats have changed and so have crews. The amateur tastes of the latter are exemplified by the 22 "survival kits" which have been given to the men aboard defender Constellation and challenger Sovereign. Each kit holds a collapsible tin cup, a pint bottle of French cognac "to be administered for seasickness and exposure" and 12 Bayer aspirin for everything else.
The downcast crewmen of the defeated cup candidate, American Eagle, were naturally given neither brandy nor aspirin, but they devised a survival method of their own. At a Newport bar one recent morning, 13 Eagle hands quaffed, in a little under two hours, 153 Bloody Marys. This works out to one drink per man every 10 minutes. One wonders: if that many Bloody Marys were necessary to quench the morning after, what kind of inferno had been lighted the night before?
SIGHT FOR SORE EYES
From the start to the finish of every race, a competitive swimmer is half deaf and half blind. The cheers of the crowd come to him only faintly through the turmoil of rushing water and, since his eyes do not focus properly under water, there is always his fear that he will muff the next turn or that a rival in a distant lane is stealing ahead.
At the Olympic Games in Tokyo next month, thanks to an invention borrowed from skin-diving (SI, Dec. 16), male swimmers of the U.S. will, at least, be able to see. Two dozen of the American men have been fitted out with what are known as "scleral contact air lenses," a special type of contact lens that, like a tiny face mask on each eyeball, brings the underwater world into sharp definition.
No one can say how much performances will be improved, but the U.S. Olympic coach, Dr. James Counsilman, thinks the experiment worth pursuing. One of Counsilman's butterfly swimmers at Indiana University—a chronically nearsighted freshman named Johnny Collins—wore the new lenses last winter and took seven seconds off his 200-meter time. "I don't know how much of this can be credited to lenses," Dr. Counsilman reports, "but I can tell you this: Collins is no longer butting into the wall at the end of every lap."
I'LL WALK ALONE
You may not like it—he doesn't even like it—but Chicago's Chris McCarthy is the best long-distance walker in America. Just the other day, matter of fact, he won the 50-kilometer (about 31 miles) race in the Olympic trials in Seattle. Yet his unsizzling time was 4:45:31, or about 30 minutes longer than the world record, held by an Italian.
Can a red-blooded American boy really be all that bad? Sure, says McCarthy, and for a number of reasons. On the one hand, McCarthy is a preoccupied scholar (he is studying for his doctorate in political science at the University of Chicago) and a house painter, this being his means of keeping his lean body and soul together. On the other hand, he says, this nation's walkers start from too small a group, the administration of the sport is badly handled and "frankly, there are no good coaches." On top of all that, U.S. walkers are discouraged because people snicker when they see them.
Chris McCarthy, so self-assured that he predicted his Olympic trials victory last winter, has no illusions about the Olympic Games themselves, and says he may not even bother to go. "It would be like stepping into a ring with Sonny Liston," he believes. But there is an elevating corollary to that thought which McCarthy might mull over. Cassius Clay is another young man people used to laugh at—until he stepped out of a ring with Sonny Liston.
Early last week Jockey Milo Valenzuela was asked to ride Sadair, one of the favorites in Saturday's Arlington-Washington Futurity. A few days later Les Lear, Sadair's trainer, sent word to Valenzuela to forget it—he was putting Willie Shoemaker on the horse instead. Forget it, my foot, said Milo, and as Shoemaker and Sadair won a $134,925 purse he announced he was filing suit against Lear and Sadair's owner, Mrs. Mary Hecht, for $2 million.
After sourly observing four jockeys switch horses willy-nilly last spring just before the Kentucky Derby, we now are equally disturbed to see Valenzuela's plight, in which the situation is reversed. But it is patent that racing needs rules to control agreements between riders and trainers. To both it seems that business is business while ethics go by the board.
DON'T GO 'WAY MAD
Home in Puerto Rico last week, Golfer Juan (Chi Chi) Rodriguez was talking up a hurricane, claiming the PGA had "barred" him from the U.S. Ryder Cup team because he was not born in the U.S. "I was hurt," said Chi Chi, hinting discrimination. "If they don't want me, there is no sense in my trying."
The fact is America's PGA wants Chi Chi—just as much as Great Britain's PGA wants South African Gary Player. But the PGAs do not make the Ryder Cup rules. Samuel Ryder did, in 1927, when he set up the trust establishing the biennial British-American competition. To be eligible, Ryder said, players must be "natives and residents of the U.S." (or Great Britain). And this, according to legal judgment, does not include such commonwealths as Chi Chi's Puerto Rico or Player's South Africa.
As greatly loved as any man in sport was Walter Augustine Brown, who died last week of a heart attack in Cape Cod Hospital. This love was but the echo of that which he gave to sport himself, for Walter Brown was passionately fond of every form of athletics in which man engages. He was most happily situated, therefore, in his positions as president of Boston Garden, the Boston Athletic Association, basketball's Celtics and hockey's Bruins. He had helped found the National Basketball Association and keep it afloat. For services to hockey, he was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame.
His ownership of sports teams was secondary to his fanship. When the Celtics or Bruins played at the Garden, Brown preferred to climb to one of the cheaper seats and lose himself in the crowd. There, without being conspicuous, he could cheer and rant and yell as he wished. That was why he was in sport—not for prestige, or money, or any other reason but the pure joy of it.