ROOM AND A VIEW
The ultimate in pro-football viewing may have been achieved at a Giant game in New York a week or so ago. The usual horde of thirsty sportsmen were reddogging the Stadium Club bar during the half-time intermission. At the start of the second half, a goodly number either had not yet gotten their order or were hanging around to enjoy a second or possibly a third. As the action began on the field all crowded together at the end of the bar near the closed-circuit TV. All, that is, but one suave spectator type. He sat by himself at the far end of the bar in solitary comfort, watching the television set through binoculars.
GOLF IN THE STONE AGE
Jack Nicklaus may never become a full-fledged member of the Professional Golfers' Association (SI, Nov. 1), but it won't be because he isn't trying. In his supposedly final year as a probationary member, Nicklaus lost his chance to play in the required 25 tournaments a year when the Miami Beach Open, slated for December, was canceled. Jack offered to put up $25,000 if the PGA would schedule another tournament anywhere in the U.S. during the week originally reserved for Miami. The PGA said $25,000 was not enough and that a tournament sponsor was needed. Nicklaus found a sponsor, the Sertoma Club of Tampa, which agreed to ante up an extra $10,000. The PGA said no again, this time on the grounds that a Tampa tournament would conflict with its own PGA Four-ball event the following week in Palm Beach. It did not explain why a Tampa tournament would conflict where a Miami one would not have. All Nicklaus can do now is hope for PGA approval of his request to let 24 tournaments suffice. There is precedent for this, but don't bet too much on Jack's chances.
The PGA is swinging wildly in all directions. It is threatening to suspend Arnold Palmer, Tony Lema, Gary Player, Kel Nagle, Bob Charles, Chi Chi Rodriguez and others for breaking a PGA rule against playing in a foreign tournament when the dates conflict with a U.S. PGA tournament. That rule was effective in 1964, after many golfers were already committed overseas. Bob Charles, for instance, signed in 1958 to play in the Dunlop Masters in Ireland every year; he and Nicklaus agreed long ago to play in the Australian Open.
Twelve months ago the PGA said it would not schedule a tournament in conflict with the World Match Play championship in England. Last May it changed its mind and set the Haig & Haig at La Costa, Calif. for the same weekend. It warned that any pro who competed in the World Match Play would be subject to suspension. But having agreed to do so before the PGA changed the Haig & Haig, Player, Palmer and Lema competed in England anyway, which is why they have been notified of possible suspension.
Obviously, a Nicklaus should belong to his country's PGA. Obviously, when a Palmer plays in Liverpool, a Lema in Madrid, a Player in St. Louis, the stature of the game of golf is the great gainer. The players know this and golf fans know it. Maybe someday even the PGA will figure it out.
Note to John Q. Public, Gus Fan, GI Joe and all headline writers: the Texas Western College basketball team has a player named Willie Cager.
THE BLAME GAME
Football coaches, particularly losing ones, have been known to indulge in some inventive wailing before, but Maryland Coach Tom Nugent's recent reasoning retires the Criers' Cup. "I've gone as far as I can," sniffled Nugent after a 29-7 loss to underdog North Carolina State. "It's time to share the responsibility." Then, publicly laying blame on assistant coaches he himself had selected, Nugent announced his remedy. In a move of doubtful efficacy he switched his defensive aides to offense and offensive coaches to defense. Assistant coaches are, of course, the same fellows who get little or no credit when the team is winning.
At last report, two assistants were reported talking of quitting, university President Wilson Elkins was quoted as planning no change in head coaches "at this point" and Nugent was mending fences. "I'm not passing the buck," he said, switching his option. "I get twice as much money as the other coaches so I should get twice as much blame."
Italian Olympic officials are among those worried about the mile-and-a-half altitude of Mexico City, site of the 1968 Games. Never mind how it hampers athletic performance—what's serious is that it is said to interfere with the cooking of spaghetti. Water boils at too low a temperature, according to Olympic Secretary Mario Saini, and he therefore is recommending that the Italian team be equipped with pressure cookers.
LET'S GO, ANTEATERS
"Boola, boola," cried Yale in the good old days. "Charge!" thundered USC in more contemporary times. Now tune up your tonsils for a new battle cry, this one belonging to the University of California at Irvine, whose traditions date back to October 4. (On that date, 88,000 acres of former citrus and cattle ranch opened up as UCI.) What UC Irvine lacks in ivy and football glory it makes up in cheering. Particularly at the school's top sport, water polo. When Irvine gets the ball, fans rise as one and scream, "One, two, three.... Zot!" Zot? Right. Plain old unvarnished Zot. And when water polo is over, the basketball team, too, will score goals to the accompaniment of "Zot! Zot! Zot!"
The origin of this unlikely exhortation was in informal balloting for a school nickname. When votes were counted the winning name was Anteaters, with Aardvarks a solid second. "Too flippant," said the administration. "Too undignified." Unabashed and still undignified, UCI rooters broke out their new cheer the next big water-polo weekend. You will recall, of course, that in Johnny Hart's comic strip B.C. the sound of anteater tongue impacting ant is "Zot!"
Let's hear it out there. Fifteen Zots and a locomotive for the Anteaters.
Fans of the St. Louis Cardinals—baseball variety—were jolted by General Manager Bob Howsam's trades, which sent away Bill White, Dick Groat and Ken Boyer, three-fourths of the All-Star infield that was so instrumental in gaining the Cardinals the world championship just over a year ago. It was the most violent ripping apart of a club since Connie Mack broke up the Philadelphia Athletics in the 1930s. No one has ever been able to put the Athletics together again, but the St. Louis situation seems different. White, Groat and Boyer are solid hitters, but slow afoot. The new municipal stadium in St. Louis, which will be ready next year, is similar to Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles: it is big, built for speed, not power. Ergo, the Cardinals are turning to speed, violently.
It appears that all the gamblers on the Mississippi aren't on riverboats. Add Bob Howsam's name to the list.
CRISIS IN COLUMBUS
A story on the front page of the Columbus, Ohio Citizen-Journal last week said that next year only high school students graduating in the upper fourth of their class would be admitted to the central campus at Ohio State for "preferred morning and afternoon classes." All others would have to attend late afternoon and evening classes, roughly between the hours of 4 and 10 p.m.
The new plan is proposed as a means of coping with OSU's rapidly growing enrollment (40,100). If it goes into effect it could virtually knock OSU out of big-time football and basketball. It is just about impossible to recruit teams of good athletes who are all in the first quarter of their high school classes and almost as impossible to run practices when part of a team is going to classes in daytime and another part at night. Nor will the prospect of 4-to-10 classes appeal to athletes under recruiting pressure from other schools.
Football Coach Woody Hayes and basketball Coach Fred Taylor have faced crises before, but this could be the biggest yet.
Minnesotans have pumped another load of bird shot into the canard that hunters are enemies of conservation. Because the pheasant population is badly depleted, sportsmen felt there should have been a closed season this year. When a 23-day season was scheduled anyway, Minnesota's best hunters waged a campaign to boycott it. If you can believe it, they even urged farmers to post their lands. The campaign worked: a reported 65,000 hunters stayed home.
The AAU, like any other institution whose raison d'√™tre is primarily political, knows most of the uses and abuses of power. One such is "packing," a device previously tried on everything from supreme courts and congressional committees to PTA councils. In an otherwise routine meeting of the U.S. Olympic Board of Directors, the Olympic track-and-field committee was increased from 22 members to 45. The NCAA, which hitherto had had nine representatives, still had nine, but the AAU, which previously had parity with the NCAA at nine, had now jumped to 23. That not only obliterates the NCAA, it gives the AAU an absolute majority—more than the NCAA, NAIA, armed forces, junior colleges and high schools combined—which somehow sounds more like a coup d'√™tat than a compromise.
It has been suggested before that Leo Durocher, who recently signed a three-year contract to manage the long moribund Chicago Cubs (19 straight years in the second division), is a man who lips before he looks. This is certainly true, but it is only Leo's second finest quality. His first is that he can manage, and while managing he brings to baseball color and nonsense and controversy and people who pay. Of the other managers presently in the National League only two seem to possess elements of these same qualities—Gene Mauch of the Philadelphia Phillies and Bobby Bragan of the Atlanta Braves—and they both admit that they studied at the well-shined shoes of Durocher.
On Chicago's North Side, Leo's appointment brought hope and excitement, and the Chicago press responded happily, particularly to Leo's dictum, "We're going to have some fun around here." Of course, not everyone is enchanted by Leo. Buzzy Bavasi, the general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, was quoted as saying that "the game has passed Leo by." And, "after listening to him second-guess everyone else on television, now we can see how he first-guesses." We suspect that in the back of Bavasi's mind is the fact that ever since the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles, the Cubs have been one of their worst drawing attractions. Now, with Leo handling them, the Cubs should bring more people to Dodger Stadium and more money to the box office, especially if Bavasi can get a nice loudmouth feud going with Leo by Opening Day.
Bowling Green Athletic Director Doyt Perry, who gave up coaching this year after compiling an extraordinary 77-10-5 record, was a man in a quandary at Saturday's Bowling Green-Miami battle for the Mid-American championship. "I've got implicit faith and respect for our own players and coaches," said Perry. "Many played for me. But look at Miami. The head coach is Bo Schembechler, the first assistant I hired when I came to Bowling Green. Their end coach, Jack Hecker, was my first captain. Jim Young, their defensive backfield coach, was my fullback. My son-in-law is their defensive coach. When we're in the stands my wife and my daughter are sitting side by side rooting for opposite teams."
THEY SAID IT
•Sandy Koufax, Dodger pitching star and a bachelor, recalling that mothers are always trying to marry daughters off to professional men: "If anybody knows a lady doctor, that would make my mother happy."
•Bing Crosby, prospective hockey-club owner, on the question of player supply if the NHL is expanded: "From what I hear, there isn't enough talent around now to make Boston and New York respectable contenders."
•Chena Gilstrap, Arlington State football coach, on his team's low standing in the Southland Conference: "We've been in the cellar so long we've got watermarks."