SIMPSON AND THE ROCKETS
The Ralph Simpson case (SCORECARD, Sept. 28) has been settled. The ABA, which originally refused to approve Simpson's contract because the Denver Rockets had signed him out of Michigan State when he still had two years of college eligibility remaining, gave the Rockets permission to keep Simpson, although it also fined Denver $10,000 and took away its right to a first-round draft choice for the 1970-71 season. Nobody said so, but it would appear that the suit Simpson filed against Denver and the ABA, when Commissioner Jack Dolph refused to approve his contract, just might have had something to do with the ABA's decision.
Never mind. It is a judgment worthy of a Solomon, if more obvious. Simpson is happy, the Rockets are delighted, the league is no longer being sued, Commissioner Dolph is off the hook and—best of all, from the league's point of view—the ABA has Simpson and the NBA doesn't.
Resistance to the Muhammad Ali-Jerry Quarry fight is minimal in the area of theater television, according to Mike Malitz, who has the TV rights. Malitz says the fight will be televised into nearly 200 arenas and theaters around the country, including at least one such spot in every big city, and he happily anticipates a total theater-TV crowd approaching one million.
Bill Reed, commissioner of the Big Ten, insists that the football teams in his conference are not weaker than when they were the best in the country; it's simply that teams in the other sections have finally caught up. However, at least two Big Ten coaches do not agree with Reed and argue that restrictive conference rules are responsible for the decline in football fortunes. One rule prohibits red-shirting—keeping a surplus player on the sidelines all season to give him an extra year of eligibility at the end of his college career. Indiana's John Pont says, "Four years ago I was dead set against redshirting. I no longer can feel that way. We have to be fair to our players, and in nonconference games they compete against teams who redshirt. I'd like to give our young men the same opportunity to win that our opponents have."
Duffy Daugherty of Michigan State says, "Our rules are too restrictive. We obey all the NCAA restrictions, plus more of our own. We're not allowed the liberal parts of the NCAA rules. There is no way we can compare favorably with Big Eight or Pacific Conference teams, which we play more than we do other conferences. Against the Big Eight, we've lost 16 of our last 18 games. They have 90 scholarships over a two-year period and the opportunity to redshirt young players for more maturity." The Big Ten permits 60 players over two years, and the only redshirts are injured players.
"Unless changes are made," Daugherty warns, "we're in for even more trouble in the future."
Last spring the ABA's Pittsburgh Condors (then called the Pipers) wrested 6'7" Mike Maloy of Davidson away from the NBA by giving the 21-year-old basketball player a three-year, $150,000 contract that included a no-cut provision for his first season (if the club drops him he still gets paid). But according to Pittsburgh Coach Jack McMahon, Maloy came to preseason practice "the fattest, worst-looking player I've ever seen." He has been so listless and indifferent in practice that General Manager Marty Blake last week fined him $5,000, suspended him indefinitely and put him on the trading block. "I want Mike Maloy the great player, not Mike Maloy the fat kid," the general manager said. "I don't understand him. I don't know what he wants. I can't tell him, you're our big man, forget everything."
Maloy's indifference seems to have begun at Davidson, which made him its first black athlete. In his final year there he exerted only minimum effort in the classroom, and after signing with Pittsburgh his behavior became even more erratic. He once disappeared from campus, skipping the team's awards banquet, and for weeks no one knew where he was, not even his parents. This summer, with bonus money from his professional contract in his pocket, he went to parties and had a lot of fun but did not touch a basketball.
For his part Maloy says he wants to play but doesn't know just when he'll be ready. "I'll decide whether I've let anyone down after the season ends," he says. "I'll get in shape and do my job." And Marty Blake asks, "When?"
Florida had summer racing this year for the first time, and horsemen were nervous about it because of Florida's notorious summer heat. Customers can sit in shady grandstands or find air-conditioned refuges, but horses have to perform out in the broiling sun. Some horses suffer from anhydrosis, an ailment that prevents them from sweating. A horse unable to sweat when he works or races oh very hot days is liable to drop dead.
One owner-trainer, John Klein, found a magic elixir to combat the problem. His Leo The Greek, a 4-year-old that had finished first only once in 38 tries, began to sweat beautifully and won two straight races after Klein took to giving him daily slugs of Canadian Club spiked with aspirin. Klein later came down a peg to PM, a more modestly priced brand, but the results were still oh so happy. The tippling is halted two days before Leo The Greek runs because of rules on medication in horses actually in a race, but the glow apparently remains.
"Leo spit out the first mouthful I gave him," says Klein, "but then he got to love it. Now he waits for me every morning and, so help me, he winks at me when he sees me coming down the shed row."
Nick Buoniconti, the Miami Dolphin middle linebacker, feels that linebackers have gained an unfair "animal" image because of the supposed ferocity of their play. Buoniconti says the animal reputation comes from a variety of things, including colorful reporting. Mostly, however, it's because "the middle linebacker is like a catcher in baseball. He's in the middle of everything, and he has a tendency to be in on more tackles. Because he is isolated, the tackle that a middle linebacker makes often looks spectacular compared to one made by a defensive lineman. Because of his position, he makes tackles that make him look like he's demolishing somebody, and that leads people to think he's a madman."
Steve Fellos of Charlotte, N.C. is no threat to Jack Nicklaus and Billy Casper as a tournament golfer—his scores generally run in the 80s—but when it comes to hole-in-one contests Fellos leaves Nicklaus, Casper and everybody else far behind. He first won a hole-in-one competition in 1958 when he aced a 140-yarder. A year later he astonished his North Carolina neighbors by successfully defending his title with another hole in one. He sort of idled along for a few years after that until, as something of a celebrity, he was invited to hit the first ball at another contest. He missed with that first shot, took another—and dropped it into the cup. He turned to the stunned officials and asked them if they wanted him to hit any more. They mumbled yes, and he went back to work. He missed twice and then sank another ace, his second in four tries. He hit 11 more balls and left one of them an inch and a half from the cup.
A year ago Fellos finished second in one contest (four inches away) and third in another (five inches). This summer he won his fourth tournament—with another hole in one—and his fifth, though he won that with a miserable shot six full inches away from the hole. In 1969 he had his only ace in an actual round of golf, on a 152-yard par-3, but a month later he sank an eight-iron approach from 125 yards for an eagle 2 and the next day holed out a 110-yard wedge for another eagle 2.
Fellos usually operates on the out-of-quantity-comes-quality theory, sometimes investing more than $100 in a tournament at three shots for $1. But even taking a few hundred attempts is not the answer, not with the accepted odds against a hole in one something like 10,000 to 1. What is the secret?
"I always feel I have a chance to knock the ball into the hole," Fellos says simply. "I think that's something you develop by practicing and playing. In the contests I keep swinging until I get the range. Then I know I have a good chance of knocking it in if I hit enough shots."
Well, that sounds easy enough.
PLENTY OF TIME
Those of you who worry about what to do with your leisure time might consider entering a boat in the first round-the-world yacht race. Post time is August 1973, and the start is at Plymouth, England. The race will be in four stages: Plymouth to Cape Town, Cape Town to Sydney, Sydney to Buenos Aires and Buenos Aires back to Plymouth. Bring plenty of sandwiches. The race is expected to take six or seven months, including stopovers of two to three weeks at each of the staging points.
It's about time this Women's Lib thing was stamped out. When female jockeys began riding at thoroughbred tracks a year or two ago one of the principal objections to their presence was the fear that they would be hurt when male riders began to use rough tactics in close races. But after some wild riding in the seventh race at Charles Town, W. Va. last Friday night three male jockeys filed foul claims against a 16-year-old girl rider named Debra Wray. One claimed his mount was bothered by Miss Wray's horse on the clubhouse turn, a second charged her with moving in too close at the quarter pole and the third said her mount nudged his in the stretch. Miss Wray got to the wire first, leaving a trail of broken hearts behind her. but the stewards, fighting a rearguard action for the obsolescent male, upheld the objection and moved her horse from first place to fifth. Way to go, fellas.
And it isn't just women jockeys. A couple of months ago we reported that the greyhound track in Juàrez, Mexico, across the Rio Grande from El Paso, was putting on exhibition dog races that featured riders—little capuchin monkeys that sat right up there on the dogs as they coursed around the track. Well, the monkeys are back at Juàrez, and now it's official: the monk-dog races are part of the regular pari-mutuel card, with win, place, show and quiniela betting. It's only a matter of time before we'll be hearing some disgruntled bettor at Santa Anita or Aqueduct tearing up his tickets and complaining, "The monk give him a bad ride."
THEY SAID IT
•A bearded, bare-chested construction worker to Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn when he toured the site of the Philadelphia Phillies' nearly completed—but six-month-late—new stadium: "You won't be playing any ball here till June when I get through with it."
•The Irish Times, on the defeat of Nijinsky in the Arc de Triomphe: "To many Irish watchers at home, as well as those in Paris, the shock was like some convulsion of nature and most emphatically a national disaster. Not since the death of Cuchulain [a legendary Irish hero], perhaps, has there been such a romantic tragedy."
•Fred Taylor, TCU football coach: "We had a team a few years ago that fumbled so much the quarterback would signal for a fair catch before taking the snap from the center."
•Tony Kubek, of NBC's World Series television team, after interviewing Casey Stengel on the controversial play at home plate in the first game: "Excuse me, Casey, now I have to throw this upstairs to our translators."
•Otto Graham, in an interview just before the Cleveland Browns and the Cincinnati Bengals met for the second time ever: "It will be a typical Browns-Bengals game."