BIG WEEK FOR BOXING
Despite vociferous objection from radio and television, which all but destroyed prizefighting, the House of Representatives has passed, by a whopping 346-to-4 vote, a bill that would create a federal boxing commission empowered to bar closed circuit, home TV or radio broadcasting of fights that it deems not in the public interest. Now Senator Philip Hart, head of the Senate Subcommittee on Antitrust and Monopoly, is confident that his own boxing bill will be voted on in this session of Congress, possibly within the month. The Senate bill calls for one commissioner instead of three and lacks veto power over broadcasting. If it passes, procedure then calls for Senate and House to mold a compromise bill in joint conference.
We would hope that the veto power will be retained in the final version. No big money fight can be held without radio or television. And we hope the Department of Justice will withdraw its reluctance to add the commission to its responsibilities. A boxing commissioner would need this tie with the Department in order to have access to FBI records and personnel in checking out fighters, managers and promoters. He would have to have such information and help to do his job of licensing participants and barring them when necessary.
There is no organized opposition to the commission proposal in either house. There seems little doubt that by Thanksgiving Day, at the latest, the Senate will have passed its bill. And then the friends of boxing, for the first time in a long while, will—if appointments to the commission are wisely made—have something to be thankful for.
THE BETTER BETTOR SPEAKS
A certain amount of betting goes on among fans of professional football, you will be fascinated to learn, and one of the bettors has been wondering if, during the National Football League season of 1964, he would have been better off playing the favorites (conceding points to the bookmakers) or the underdogs (accepting the points). His research is now in and the answer is that over-dogs won 46 times, underdogs 48.
What were the best clubs to bet on? he asked himself next. The study revealed that if he had wagered every time on the Baltimore Colts, giving or taking points as the occasion required, he would have won 11 and lost three. But in the Eastern Conference, it would have been less profitable to follow the Cleveland Browns: he would have won eight and lost six.
Best investment of all would have been New York. If he had persistently bet against the Giants, whether they were favorites (they were six times) or underdogs (seven times) he would have collected 11 out of 13 bets.
No wonder the President has named Yankee Stadium and the rest of New York a disaster area.
TROUBLE IN PARADISE
On the Bali Ha'i Indian Ocean island of Mahé, one of Britain's Seychelles and the site of a U.S. space satellite tracking station, every prospect pleases but there is no golf course. This was a great disappointment to Larry Busch of El Paso, the station's data area supervisor, when he arrived there. Larry is a nine-handicap golfer who has shot as low as a 68. Though General Gordon of Khartoum believed one of the bigger Seychelles was the site of the Garden of Eden, Larry found Mahé pure hell. He is, as he says, crazy about golf.
He set out to correct the situation. He imported 40 pounds of grass seed from East Africa. Overnight, the breakers of a high tide washed the seed away. On his next vacation to the U.S. he brought back to Mahe some Tiffany golf-green grass seed and laid it down, this time successfully. Soon Simone, his attractive Seychellois bride of a few months, was a golf widow.
He also trained a caddie, a Creole boy named George, to work for him four hours a day, doing such chores as diving into the sea to recover from the crystal clear water the balls he drives into it. Occasionally George will tap his head and grin. "Yankee mad," he says.
Larry has but one tee and one green and no fairway whatsoever, but he is dreaming of the day when Mahé will have an airport, tourists will be attracted by its beauty and, inevitably, a golf course will be carved out of the coconut trees. In the meantime, he makes do.
PROSPECT FOR HOLLYWOOD U.
The young man will not get the endorsement of Jack Wallace, Drake University coach, as a college football prospect but he does seem to have a future as a film editor.
The boy's application for a football scholarship included a movie showing how well he played. Instead of a complete game, it showed highlights of an entire season's play.
"Every scene showed him opening a hole for a touchdown or busting through for a sensational tackle," Wallace said. His first reaction: "Give this boy a scholarship right now before someone else sees this film.
"But I only had one or two scholarships left," Wallace went on, "and, just to play safe, I wrote to the school and got films of several complete games. They showed that, overall, the boy is awfully slow. They showed defensive linemen knocking him over [he's a center], and they showed him missing tackles. But, boy, what a film editor he'd make!"
CHECKS FOR THE CZECHS
Unless the Czechoslovak Athletic Association's presidium decides otherwise, Czechoslovakia will become the first Communist bloc country with admittedly professional soccer. The practice has been to give players factory, clerical or other jobs which they perform only nominally. Now, if the presidium so decides on August 31, and the indications are that it will, all players on the National League teams are to be paid monthly premiums, the size of which will vary according to attendance at matches, a team's standing and an individual player's performance. Another factor will be a player's morale, which in Communist jargon includes his attitude toward official state policies.
Envisaged premiums are to range between 500 and 1,800 crowns a match ($70 to $250 by official exchange rate but much lower in real purchasing value). Members of lesser leagues than the National will continue the present practice of "shamateurism."
The measure, it is believed, is being considered because of fast-declining morale among players and deteriorating performance on the field.
NOW SEE HERE, COACH
The athlete who risks the ire of his coach by taking a clandestine nip or two would be well advised to carry under his arm at all times a copy of the book, Liquor: The Servant of Man, by Dr. Morris E. Chafetz of Harvard University (Little, Brown, $4.95). It should be book-marked at the following passage:
"All day long the athlete in training must drive himself under physically and emotionally tense conditions. Then comes the evening meal, a little relaxation and an early bedtime. Why not some wine with the evening meal? Or a highball before retiring? The relaxation and appetite stimulation that liquor can supply would be invaluable."
THE CROWDED OCEAN
He will not soon replace The Beatles but when Robert Manry sailed his 13½-foot sloop Tinkerbelle into the harbor at Falmouth, England, stepped ashore and kissed the earth he became, if perhaps briefly, one of the world's idols. He was greeted by 20,000 persons, led by Falmouth's mayor in ceremonial regalia of scarlet robe and cocked hat and attended by two mace bearers. There were frontpage headlines and rapturous editorials. And this was rather odd because Manry's solo transatlantic voyage was neither unique nor a record.
At about the same time as the celebration in Falmouth a 12-footer, sailed by John Riding, docked at Newport, R.I. after a solitary passage through the Trades. There was no such vast acclaim for Riding as greeted Manry. A man and his wife have crossed the Atlantic in an amphibious jeep. Another individual has circumnavigated the globe in a canoe. Manry's time of 78 days was well short of the record of 27 set last year when Eric Tabarly beat 13 other singlehanders in a transatlantic race. Neither was Manry's age of 48 impressive. A 16-year-old boy just landed in Honolulu on the first lap of a round-the-world trip and Francis Chichester was 63 when he finished second to Tabarly last year.
How account, then, for the adulation of mild-mannered Robert Manry, the suburban commuter who bought a $250 boat, walked out of the office and sailed away? We think it was that bit about walking out of the office that appealed to the millions.
Because UCLA will have on its freshman basketball team Lew Alcindor, the nation's most desired basketball player when he was starring for Power Memorial Academy in New York, USC will have on its team a second cousin to Gavrilo Princip, the Bosnian Serb who on June 28, 1914 assassinated Archduke Francis Ferdinand and triggered World War I.
The second cousin is Mirko Blesich, considered by Indiana experts to have been the finest shot since Jimmy Rayl was a prep school great. Blesich was leading scorer these past two seasons on the Washington High team in East Chicago, Ind. In his application to Bill Mulligan, assistant Trojan coach, Mirko pointed out his second cousin's place in history before citing his other qualifications, such as how well he plays basketball. As for his reasons for wanting to attend USC, he said he had heard of the admonition "Go West, young man, go West," and besides he wanted to play against Alcindor.
Which would seem to make Horace Greeley and Alcindor pretty good recruiters for USC.
There used to be an old vaudeville joke about the man who called the Eagle Laundry because he wanted to have an eagle laundered. Well, life occasionally imitates art. The Albuquerque zoo recently had a terrible time finding an effective way to launder a greasy golden eagle.
A New Mexico Game and Fish Department employee rescued the eagle from an oily puddle in which it had somehow become mired. It was a sorry mess, and attempts to dislodge the grease with ordinary veterinary soap were a failure. '"We need a detergent spray," said Don Meyer, a zoo attendant, "and we need more room than a bathroom shower to spread the wings."
Someone suggested an automatic car wash. It took a dollar in coins and it worked fine. As soon as the bird was dry it began to eat.
The New York State Harness Racing Commission allowed Yonkers Raceway to exclude Race Time, a 4-year-old pacer, from the betting in the $100,000 Empire Pace last week. Other horses—among them Bret Hanover, Pocomoon-shine and Titan Hanover—also have been taken out of the betting at one time or another.
It is true that the raceway has paid out almost $40,000 in minus pools since the current meeting opened three weeks ago. (Minus pools occur when a favorite is so heavily backed that the track cannot make money if he wins. It is required by law to pay a minimum of $2.20 to those who bet on him.) It is also true that an institution which makes money on gambling ought to be willing to do a bit of gambling itself. When four or more horses start—there were six in the Empire Pace—management has a moral obligation to permit betting on the favorite. In Thoroughbred racing this has held true for Man o' War, Citation, Native Dancer, Nashua and Bold Ruler and it holds today for the great Kelso. It should certainly hold true for a horse like Race Time, who has been beaten six times in 11 starts this year.
THEY SAID IT
•Chi Chi Rodriguez, on the sudden appearance of a transplanted tree on the 3rd fairway during the PGA Championship: "I thought only God could make a tree, but I forgot about the PGA."
•Willie Mays, describing his new reaction to a knockdown pitch: "I stay down longer now to get rid of my mad."
•Frank Ervin, driver-trainer of Bret Hanover, beaten last week for the first time in 36 races: "He's the greatest horse that ever lived—and he knows it."