ENDANGERED SPECIES (CONT.)
Last week we put Secretary of the Interior Walter J. Hickel on the endangered species list, and already he is extinct. By Friday not only had the Secretary been given the White House gate but a White House aide had established himself in an Interior Department office, summoned in Hickel's six top assistants and politely but firmly told each in turn: "We want your resignation and we would like you to have your things out of the building by 5 o'clock." Of more consequence, however, is the speed with which Hickel's policies were reversed. His decision to end all commercial advertising on federal public lands was canceled. So, too, was a Hickel order protecting certain endangered species of whale, which aroused immediate concern that the Government was swinging toward a strong anticonservation position. Happily, the flap that arose over the anti-whale move brought about an immediate decision to rescind the rescindment ("a ghastly mistake," admitted a Government official), and the whales had a new lease on life. Hickel, in other words, was out, but whales were still in.
It now appears that Howard Cosell will not rejoin Don Meredith and Keith Jackson on ABC's Monday night pro football telecasts next year, although not because of his well-publicized illness at the New York Giants-Philadelphia Eagles game on Nov. 23 (he was hit by a virulent flu bug the day of the game and after the telecast was in bed the rest of the week). It will be a mutually agreeable separation. The NFL had originally expected that the blunt, controversial comments that make Cosell the man you love to hate would also make him the star of the Monday night shows but, as play-by-play announcer Jackson said before the season began (SCORECARD, Sept. 7), "Howard will not be the dominant personality on the telecast."
As for Cosell, he told an audience of SMU law students who asked if he would be back, "I haven't decided yet, but probably not—for two reasons. One, I never want to travel again on a week-in, week-out basis. Two, I find the format frustrating. The thing that surprises me is that I've created so much publicity for the telecasts under conditions in which I have not been able to do my thing."
CAN'T BLAME THEM
Brooklyn College, famous in football circles as the improbable alma mater of Allie Sherman, erstwhile coach of the New York Giants, achieved a notable landmark this fall. It won its first game since 1951. True, Brooklyn had not fielded a team for 14 years, but even when it last played—in 1956—it had run up a losing streak of 29 straight. This season, after extending the string of defeats to 31, the Maroon and Gold finally upset Stony Brook 21-0. Huzzah! Far more characteristic than that signal victory, however, was Brooklyn's performance against New York Tech in the preceding game. The contest was highlighted by a 15-yard penalty against Brooklyn for delay of the game—before it even began. The squad was late for the kickoff.
"Now I can throw away all those brochures," Mrs. Robert Johnson of East Rutherford, N.J. said last week after her 6'10", 17-year-old son, Leslie Cason, announced that he will attend Long Beach State in California next September. Maybe she should disconnect her telephone, too, because college basketball coaches know they still have a full 10 months to try to make the high school senior change his mind. Cason has signed a scholarship agreement that in itself is not binding. "We'll have to rely on Leslie's integrity," said Long Beach Coach Jerry Tarkanian. "He wants to come to Long Beach, we want him, and his parents, coach and school administrators are all in favor. It isn't like the Tom McMillen case, where there was disagreement at home."
By declaring his intention before the start of his final high school season, Cason voluntarily has ended all-expenses-paid recruiting trips to anywhere he pleased, thank you. "I ask all coaches and alumni—especially the alumni—to leave him alone," Coach Dick Vitale says. "I know I'll still get phone calls," Cason adds, "but I'll tell them I'm going to Long Beach." Tarkanian anticipates: "Leslie could start for me or anyone else—right now."
In England a group of 100 schoolchildren were on a six-mile "charity walk" in Kent to raise money for a playground when they walked into the middle of a pheasant shoot. The kids were on a footpath known locally as Polly's Walk, which their parents claimed was a public right of way. But, said one of the adults along on the walk, "There were pellets falling through the trees around us. The guns sounded very close. There seemed to be a terrific amount of people firing guns. It was a most frightening experience."
A police official said, "We are inquiring into the matter. There was a pheasant shoot on private property. It seems rather hazardous that these children should go on a walk into the area." A parent replied, "I gave police advance warning of the walk and the route that would be taken. It seems wrong that the shoot should go on so close to a public path."
The most beautifully English comment on the affair came from one of the hunters. According to a child's mother, "Cindy had gone through before the gamekeeper stopped the other children. One of the guns told her to be quiet as she was disturbing the pheasants."
Even before Navy beat Army last Saturday, Vice Admiral James F. Calvert, superintendent of the Naval Academy, had some positive thoughts about the future of football at Annapolis. He said changes were being made in the academy's athletic program to increase the number of football victories in the future, and indicated that Navy's disastrous record in recent years was the result of bad decisions in the past. "We've suffered from some policies that have not been entirely constructive," he said, without detailing those policies. "I'd rather not be specific because it would be critical of some who are not here to defend themselves." Admiral Calvert would not specify what changes were in order, other than to say the improvement would be made without stepping down in class, from a football point of view. "Schedules are set 10 and 12 years ahead," he said. "There is no workable way they can be changed." But he said Navy football would be fully competitive, even taking into consideration the high academic standards the academy requires. "I expect to be running as good a program as Colorado Springs is now," he said, referring to the bowl-bound Air Force Academy. Target date for all this? The 1980s.
The Baltimore Bullets of the NBA have been trying hard the last few years to attract patrons from Washington. Owner Abe Pollin is said to have insisted that the ABA's Washington Caps move away (they became the Virginia Squires) as a prelude to merger talks between the two leagues. Pollin didn't want to lose all that potential revenue from 40 miles down the expressway. To encourage visitors from the Capitol district, the Bullets have ticket agencies there and run special buses for folks traveling to Baltimore for Bullet games. Sometimes it all seems more like pie in the sky than money in the till. A few weeks ago, when the Bullets played the inept Cleveland Cavaliers, the 48-seat special bus carried a cheering throng of four people from Washington to Baltimore (and, because one Washingtonian chose not to make the return trip, only three on the way back).
Of course, Baltimore fans were not too enthusiastic about that particular game, either. Total attendance was a meager 2,211. Still, without Washington, it would have been only 2,207.
HOLD THE LABEL SIDEWAYS
The great big modern world of Little League baseball has taken another step to preserve the character of America's whilom national pastime. Aluminum bats are being tested. A Little League report says no differences (no differences?) have been found between some of the aluminum bats and wooden bats. They even sound the same when the ball is hit. Aluminum bats cost more, but because they don't split, crack or splinter, the long-range cost is less.
But how do your hands feel when you hit one on the handle on a cold day in March? In fact, how do you even hold one on a cold day in March?
Some racetrack people are still impressed by the now common practice of flying top horses cross-country or across an ocean to race. That's nothing. Last week an Australian business group which is trying to develop racing in Indonesia, airlifted the makings of a race meeting from Melbourne 3,500 miles northwest to Djakarta. More than 80 horses, along with stable personnel, food and equipment, were flown in, and similar airlifts will take place during the next three months. No mention was made of totalizators or bookies accompanying the operation, but surely good old-fashioned Indonesian ingenuity will find a way to handle bets.
THE FIFTH QUARTER
Never mind USC-Notre Dame. Arkansas Coach Frank Broyles says that relatively few upsets have occurred in college football this year and that this is because football has become a five-quarter game. "The rule that gives a team 25 seconds to put the ball in play after gaining possession of it, plus the other rule that stops the clock after each first down have added from 15 to 30 plays to a game," Broyles says. "Five or six years ago the average game had 120 to 130 plays. Today the average is 140 to 160. Texas El Paso played one game this season in which there were 180 center snaps. That's equivalent to 5½ quarters.
"The favorite has more chances to win today than five years ago because class will tell, eventually. The longer a game goes the better chance a favorite has to win." As for one-sided games, Broyles says, "The fourth quarter is when you usually run up points, but you can really run them up in the fifth quarter."
THE WHOLE MAN
Carl Hubbell, the Hall of Fame pitcher who is now the San Francisco Giants' farm director, read that Dr. James Nicholas, team physician of the New York Jets, said that Joe Namath, even after breaking his hand, could have gone back in the lineup at almost any other position except quarterback. "Aha!" said Hubbell. "That's what I mean about football. It's all right as a sideshow, but it doesn't bring out the whole man. How can you really identify with a sport that has specialists for the hand, the foot and the shoulder? Baseball is the only game that calls for every skill from normal-sized people. If you can't throw, run, catch and hit, you're not a major-leaguer. Fans identify with baseball, and they'll continue to do so when other meteoric sports have had their innings."
THEY SAID IT
•Archie Moore, asked how he thought Joe Frazier would do against Muhammad Ali when they meet in the new year, drew closer and whispered in the ear of the inquirer: "I'll tell you something. In my book, Frazier will knock him out."
•Ben Davidson. Oakland Raiders defensive end, on business in his nightspots: "It's picked up since the Kansas City game. They see your name in the paper, and they get thirsty, I guess."
•Mickey Mantle, on his baseball career: "During my 18 years I came to bat almost 10,000 times. I struck out about 1,700 times and walked maybe 1,800 times. You figure a ballplayer will average about 500 at bats a season. That means I played seven years in the major leagues without even hitting the ball."
•Woody Hayes of Ohio State: "It worries me that there's supposed to be two coaches meaner than I am. I would hate to have them start referring to me as 'Good Old Woody.' "