KNOWING THE SCORE
From now on, as you sit before the television set on Sunday wearing your official NFL slacks and Pete Rozelle sweatshirt, think "scores" and you will be amazed at how angry you can get. The television boys, bless 'em, have come up with another neat little trick, which, of course, has nothing to do with advertising or anything like that.
What happens is that during the final quarter of the televised game the announcers give fewer and fewer scores of other games around the league, even though they have the scores right there in the booth. Recently the people tuned into CBS-TV's game between Washington and Atlanta heard the announcer say: "Well, there's one real shocker of a final score!" And that's all he said. The network thus failed to report the biggest news story in the NFL thus far—Minnesota's upset of Green Bay.
The reason for the no-score policy is simple enough. It will force the viewer to stay tuned in for the postgame score shows—and all the attendant commercials. Last week Variety had a rather crisp remark about the whole thing, "Where video is concerned...sports is just another commodity."
With that in mind, we have another idea that television might try. It could black out all the good plays and put them on after the game as a separate show. Then in the last quarter the announcer could say, "Stay tuned right after this, because you ain't seen nothin' yet!"
Football half-time shows have become increasingly intricate in the Ivy League, abandoning the oompah of old to comment on sociological developments of our times. A measure of how far bandsmanship has come—or gone, depending on your view of this antic art—was provided by Columbia at a recent home game. The subject of the half-time show at Baker Field was birth control. The band dedicated one number to the Vatican—I Got Rhythm—and its formations included the Pill and a shotgun, precisely shaped to the indelicate tune of Get Me to the Church on Time.
The Columbia band had actually prepared the show for last year's game at Dartmouth, but officials in Hanover vetoed the script as unsportsmanlike conduct. It was a hit at Columbia.
THE BORE TESTER
The next time you are at a cocktail party and want to get a conversation started (or stopped for that matter) bring up the fact that there are currently 102 major league professional teams functioning in the U.S. in the sports of soccer, baseball, basketball, football and hockey. Ask anyone to give you the cities the teams perform in and the nickname of each club. If the person cannot name 75, walk away. If he names over 90, run.
The Louisiana National Guard was called out two weeks ago to deal with student protests against alleged overemphasis on sports at Grambling, a predominantly Negro college.
The president of the school for the past 31 years, Dr. Ralph Jones, is undeniably a sports fan. He doubles as the school's baseball coach, he is active in athletic recruiting and has been responsible for building Grambling's reputation as a small-college sports power and a big source of professional athletes. He also has built the college into a fully accredited institution with 4,100 students, one that has an excellent reputation for sending able Negro graduates into business and education.
Sports does not seem to be the real issue at Grambling. The protest is deeper than the announced grievances (among the items demanded by the protesters was "a school yearbook that doesn't look like SPORTS ILLUSTRATED"). The college says the demonstrations were fomented by advocates of Black Power, with athletics being used to attract attention and sympathy. "This is part of a calculated plan to discredit Negro colleges," one Grambling official declared. "This is the only way the Black Power people can make inroads into the middle-class Negro community and hope to establish themselves."
Whatever the actual basis of the six-day protest, the 1,200 demonstrators who showed up en masse at the homecoming football game cheered loudly when Grambling scored and later joined in celebrating the team's 20-14 victory over Texas Southern.
TO THE MANOR BORNE
The pack was in full and glorious cry when the Seavington Hunt burst through the tall iron gates at Montacute House, a manor in Somerset. Unfortunately, it quickly became obvious that the quarry was not a fox but the lady of the manor's pet cat. The cat, named Phelips after the original owners of the 16th-century mansion, scrambled up a tree to safety. Mrs. Yvonne Brock, his owner, was outraged. "When the huntsman arrived he did not even apologize," she said afterward. "If I don't receive a proper apology I shall take steps to have the hunt banned from the district."
The joint master of the Seavington Hunt, Mr. Tom Squire, claimed the hounds were chasing a fox when the cat got in the way. Furthermore, he said, the hunt did apologize. "The huntsman went up to Mrs. Brock, touched his cap, blew his horn and left," said Squire.
For economic reasons, the proprietors of bowling alleys have in the last few years been changing the kind of varnish used on their lanes. The new chemical compounds produce a slick, hard finish that wears longer but also affects the action of the ball.
Professional bowlers have had to adapt to the new surfaces, or be out of pocket. One of those reluctant to change was Billy Hardwick, who rolled to the top of the tenpin world in 1963 at the age of 22 and earned the nickname of Young Man with the Golden Claw. He had always bowled in an unorthodox fashion, using his index and middle fingers because his ring finger was injured in a high school shop course. By 1965 Hardwick had won $110,000, but last year, bowling week after week on the new surfaces, he earned only $8,420.
"My ball wouldn't belly out there like it did when the lanes weren't so slick," Hardwick explained recently. "I used to start in the center of the lane, roll the ball out four or five boards from the center and it would hook right into the pocket. But with the new varnishes the shot wouldn't work. It was embarrassing. Then I started to get tight in every tournament and began to pull the ball so much it was unbelievable. Finally four months ago I decided to change my shot or quit. I walked into the locker room one day and yelled, 'Anybody have a ball I can use?' Bill Lillard gave me one of his, and I liked it right away."
Hardwick now uses his middle and ring fingers, in the orthodox way, though his ring finger has no joint and is nearly stiff. He bowls from the outside and throws straight for the pocket "like a once-a-week bowler in the church league." A fortnight ago in Kokomo, Ind. he won his first tournament in two and a half years.
THE SHIFTING SCENE
As of early last week major league baseball came up with yet another new team—the Chiwaukee White Sox. In an interesting but certainly not dumfounding development, the Chicago White Sox announced that they would play nine regular-season American League games in Milwaukee's County Stadium in 1968. The games will be played during the week, one against each league opponent so that the Sox do not lose any lucrative home weekend dates.
Three things contributed to the shifting of the games. In July of this year the Sox played an exhibition in Milwaukee against the Minnesota Twins and drew a crowd of 51,144 at major league prices. No other team in the majors drew a larger crowd without giving away bats, balls or caps. This showed that Milwaukee, abandoned by the Braves in 1966, is obviously still very interested in baseball. The Sox are also trying to develop the Milwaukee television market 85 miles from Chicago. And, finally, although Arthur Allyn, the owner of the White Sox, cannot publicly criticize the location of Chicago's Comiskey Park, it is bad and this season the Sox drew a nine-year attendance low of 966,000 despite the fact that the team led the league much of the time.
Whatever one may think about the transfer of the games, two large questions remain unanswered. Isn't Allyn trying to prod the city of Chicago into building a new stadium? Comiskey Park, Wrigley Field and Chicago Stadium are all antiquated, in poor neighborhoods and the newest of them was built nearly 50 years ago. That is a building problem for Chicago. Baseball's problem is a moral one. Must Milwaukee prove again that it is a major league town and do so by supporting a nonresident team? Supposing Milwaukee does support the Sox in 1968. What happens in 1970? Does it get its own team for a few years or somebody else's for 10 games? Do we hear 11?
The former Mrs. Thad Spencer is so sure that her ex-husband will win the heavyweight elimination tournament that she is gambling alimony money on her pick. Mrs. Brenda Spencer, 26, went into Alameda County Superior Court in California last week and said she would accept a lump sum of $5,000 to be paid when Spencer fights Jerry Quarry and another $5,000 if he wins and goes on to fight for the title. If Spencer loses to Quarry she taps out on the second five grand. When she got her divorce, Mrs. Spencer claimed that not only did Thad often stay away from home, he argued a lot. She has confidence in his fighting ability.
Several years ago Baltimore Colt Alex Hawkins was caught scaling the wall of a West Coast hotel three nights before his team was to play the Rams for the conference title. He was fined for the curfew violation and lectured in front of the whole team by Weeb Ewbank, who was then coaching the Colts. Hawkins, wearying of the harangue, finally interrupted Ewbank. "Weeb," he said, "when you dance, you gotta pay the fiddler."
Hawkins is one of sport's night people, like baseball's Don Larsen or tough old Bobby Layne, and if any Colt was going to end up in jail the week of the Baltimore-Green Bay game, you would have to figure it would be Alex. Last week there he was, picked up along with eight others—including a member of the Baltimore City Jail Board and former Colt Business Manager Bert Bell Jr.—in an early-morning raid on a poker game in a barber shop. After being booked, mugged and posting $55 bond, Hawkins had a cup of coffee with Bell and went straight to practice.
Hawkins, once captain of Baltimore special teams but more recently a starting split end for the injury-plagued Colts, is viewed with amused tolerance by his teammates. His latest fly-by-night escapade could hardly have amused Colt Coach Don Shula, however, not so much because of the incident as because of Alex's choice of company. Since leaving the Colts, Bert Bell has been writing a once-a-week football column for the Baltimore News American, and he has been savagely critical of Shula. But Shula said nothing last week. A club spokesman announced that disciplinary action would be taken against Hawkins because of the time of the raid—4:45 a.m. "Curfew is not strict when the team is at home," the front-office man explained, "but 4:45 is a little past bedtime."
THEY SAID IT
•Frank Howard, Clemson athletic director, when approached by rowing enthusiasts for financial aid from the athletic department: "Clemson will never subsidize a sport where a man sits on his tail and goes backward."
•Gene Stallings, Texas A&M football coach, after his team lost six straight pregame coin flips: "Next year we're going to recruit a gambler."
•Marianne Moore, 79-year-old poet, on sportsmen's fashions: "The yachtsman's double-breasted Navy jacket and cap with white flannels or ducks are the man's most effective garb, I think. Ballplayers' uniforms seem to me not so trim as formerly. They should not look like babies' sleepers or snowsuits."