PRO AND CON
The American League announced last week that it would expand to 12 teams by 1971. The argument for expansion is that people all over the country deserve to see major league sport. Large cities that have no big-league baseball at present—Dallas and Seattle, for instance—have a right to it.
Twenty years ago considerable baseball interest was centered on minor league teams, but now it is strictly on the big leagues. The minors, for the most part, are nothing more than training camps for the majors, and their success or failure is immaterial to hometown baseball fans.
In 1961 the American League added two teams, the Angels and the Senators. Those clubs now compete on equal terms. California was a factor in this year's pennant race until the last five weeks of the season, finally ending up fifth in the standings. Washington finished tied for sixth.
Unfortunately the same cannot be said for the National League, which is also contemplating setting up two new franchises. After six years the Houston Astros and New York Mets are still not equal to the competition. Two more teams would only increase the imbalance and further dilute the quality of play in the league. New York and Houston illustrate the undesirable aspects of expansion. Unless care is taken in stocking new clubs to make them competitive, expansion hurts rather than helps baseball.
One of Britain's outstanding cricketers, Colin Milburn, is spending two weeks at a beauty farm in Bedfordshire, attempting—along with 18 women—to get in shape. At 5' 10" and 260 pounds, Mil-burn looks considerably more like the ball than the bat. He was bounced off the All-England squad last year for over weight but has been named to this year's team, which will tour the West Indies in December.
On his first day at the health resort, Milburn was given three glasses of lemon-flavored hot water. Nothing else. The next day he was allowed three glasses of orange juice. And on the third night, he was served two boiled eggs and a piece of diet bread.
Each morning he takes a seaweed bath, and after that he is coated with paraffin wax. He has peeled off 16 pounds so far, but is "determined to lose two stone [28 pounds] or bust."
HOME ON THE RANGE
"Beat the Blackout with a Cowboy Antenna," read the advertisement in the Dallas Times Herald. "Watch the Cowboys' home games at home on your own TV." And that is what thousands of Cowboy fans are doing, thanks to an ingenious new pirate TV antenna that sells for only $4.95. The seven-foot antenna is designed so that it rejects telecasts from the Dallas-Fort Worth area and picks up broadcasts of Cowboy home games from stations at Waco and Sherman, Tex.
"There are two types of the antennas," Carl Gokie, a distributor, explains. "If you live in north Dallas, you buy the one that picks up games from Sherman, and if you live across town in Oak Cliff, Lakeview or Duncanville, you purchase a Waco antenna. Some people in poor reception areas have bought two." So far 21,000 have been sold to Cowboy supporters.
The manufacturer, a Burlington, Iowa man named Marvin Tate, believes he could build an antiblackout antenna for football and baseball fans in any city.
What with their 2-4 record and all, the rumor in Buffalo last week was that the Bills' coach, Joel Collier, was being replaced. It was reported that Norm Van Brocklin was to be his successor. People claimed to have seen Van Brocklin around town and on the sidelines at the game the Bills lost to Oakland two Sundays ago. Another rumor had it that Van Brocklin had bought a home in Hamburg, a Buffalo suburb.
Norm Van Brocklin was in Dallas two Sundays ago doing the telecast of the Saints-Cowboys game. He has only been in Buffalo once, in July 1965. And the owner of that house in Hamburg is Jim Van Brocklin, an electrical sales engineer, who says the closest he came to coaching a football team was as a scoutmaster. Jim is not related to Norm and has "never met him except to see him once on television." But, he adds, "My uncle was introduced to him once in California, if that helps."
DRAWING THE LINE
With a name like his—Mason Dickson—the candidate, no doubt, thought that he would appeal to everyone. Instead, he appalled them when he announced his candidacy for homecoming queen at TCU. When challenged on his fitness (figuratively speaking) for the office, Dickson argued that nowhere in the election rules did it specify that a TCU homecoming-queen candidate had to be female. The only stipulations were that the student have a two-point or better grade average and have completed 73 hours. Dickson met these qualifications admirably.
"Some of the other beauty queens told me I really shouldn't enter the competition," Mason said. "I think they were afraid that I'd get more votes than they would." How popular Mason would have been with the Texas Christian student body will never be known. The election committee members crossed his name off the ballot, and, anticipating the worst, announced they would not even accept write-in votes.
INSULT TO INJURY
During the World Series, Boston's Fenway Park was as oversubscribed as the Metropolitan Opera on opening night. Pitney-Bowes stamp machines, returning hundreds of unopened applications for Series tickets, had the gall to add this metered message: "Being there is twice the fun."
JUST FOR KICKS
Brigham Young's Dennis Patera and Rich Adams are ranked in the top 20 in national collegiate kicking statistics, yet their names can't be found in the Cougars' 1967 football guidebook. This fall, long after the team roster was complete. Patera and Adams walked into Coach Tommy Hudspeth's office and asked for tryouts.
Patera had been a discus thrower on the BYU track team, but his scholarship had expired. He needed another one to complete his studies in business management. He informed Hudspeth that he thought he could kick a football rather well.
About the same time Adams, just back from two years on a Mormon mission, approached one of the BYU assistant coaches. Adams looked lean (5' 9") and hungry (150 pounds) and zealous—hardly of football fiber. But after the assistant watched Adams punt, he told Hudspeth. "I think you better take a look at him."
Hudspeth did—and he looked at Patera, too. Adams is now averaging over 40 yards per punt; Patera has kicked a field goal in every BYU game and has added 17 of 19 extra points, and Coach Hudspeth is making sure that his office door is always open.
BLACK FRIDAY FOR VEGAS
Last Friday the 13th was hardly unlucky for what the manager of The Dunes Hotel and Country Club in Las Vegas discreetly described as "a short, chubby man from Connecticut." With a milling, shouting crowd standing 12-deep around the crap table, chubby managed the unheard-of feat of rolling 50 straight passes. He was at the table for more than two hours without losing a roll, and when he was finished he had won nearly $25,000. More important, from the casino's viewpoint, was the fact that gamblers betting with him won an estimated half a million dollars. If there had not been a $500 limit at the table, The Dunes might well be bankrupt today.
The longest run of luck previously recorded in Las Vegas was 28 passes made in 1950 by a man on his honeymoon.
AT JASPER'S PLACE
If the object at The Dunes casino was winning, down the street at Jasper Martin's pizza parlor the clientele was trying hard to lose. Martin sponsors a contest the purpose of which is to pick the losers in 12 college football games. Although 3,000 people enter the competition each week, no one has turned in an all-losing ballot yet.
BUTT OF A JOKE
The night before their game with the University of British Columbia, students at Simon Fraser U. raided the agricultural barns of their archrival. After painting SFU on the cows' hindquarters, they turned the herd loose on the staid UBC campus.
Before they ran onto the field at Stanford last Saturday four UCLA players were hypnotized, with the approval of Coach Tommy Prothro, a longtime advocate of the scientific approach to football. For the previous two days, Halfback Lynn Hinshaw and Tackles Alan Claman, Hal Griffin and Vince Bischof had submitted themselves to psychophysiologicalautogenesis, or, as it is more simply called, alphagenics. The process is a form of self-hypnosis by tape recording. Its purpose is to train the mind to discipline the body in such a way as to avoid pain, relieve tension, gain self-confidence and improve one's self-image.
Each day after football practice, the players reported to a laboratory, where they listened to tape recordings. The first tape set the proper mood for audio reception of a learning process—"One, two, three ...I am at peace...my right arm is warm...my left arm is warm...the back of my neck is warm...my shoulders feel heavy...I feel no more tension.... " The second tape varied according to the athlete's personality, his position and what Prothro wanted him to learn.
"I don't want to single out any one man and divulge what I prescribed for him." said Prothro, "but an individual recording might go like this: 'You relax easily. You know your job. You know your assignments. You know what you want to do. You have the ability. Go out and move quickly, effortlessly, fluidly, sizing up the play as it develops, and explode into action in the execution of my assignment.' "
Clark Cameron, a social psychologist and former Bruin football manager, convinced Prothro that alphagenics might be useful to his players when he demonstrated that with the method he could lower the rate of his heartbeat from 42 to 37 beats per 30 seconds.
Cameron claims that when an athlete fumbles, it is not because of an inability to hold onto the ball, but because he fears—for a split second—that he will drop it.
The mental therapy is expensive—$400 per man—but, if it works, what price beating USC?
THEY SAID IT
•Al Bianchi, coach of the Seattle Super-Sonics basketball team, describing his young NBA club: "This team is so aggressive we might foul out in warmups."
•Bob Dinaberg, California Western football coach, on developing a game plan for Los Angeles area smog conditions: "First, we dip a football in a bucket of water, that's known as the wet-ball drill. Then we practice with one nostril taped up. Then we ask Larry Philpot, one of my assistants, to smoke a cigar on the bus."
•Oscar Robertson, Cincinnati Royals basketball star, asked what he thought of Wilt Chamberlain getting $250,000 a year from the Philadelphia 76ers: "Man, what could he get if he could shoot free throws!"
•Nick Nicolau, University of Bridgeport football coach: "Our trainer has become so injury conscious that he is putting life jackets on the players before he allows them in the whirlpool."