There is the state dog, the Chesapeake Bay retriever, the state bird, the Baltimore oriole, the state fish, the rock-fish or striped bass, the state flower, the black-eyed Susan. Now Maryland, by vote of the House of Delegates, has chosen the Baltimore checkerspot brushfooted butterfly, Euphydryas phaeton, as "the official arthropodic emblem of the state." The insect was nominated by State Senator Edward Hall, who said, "It's difficult to propose this with a completely straight face."
Senator Hall and the House of Delegates should now have completely red faces. The term "arthropodic" refers to a phylum of animals having segmented appendages and external skeletons shed during periods of growth. Insects are only one of a number of classes in Phylum Arthropoda, which also takes in the Crustaceans, notably the blue crab, Callinectes sapidus. Is any arthropod more symbolic of Maryland than the blue crab? The delight of kids and the pleasure of gourmets, the blue crab supports a vast recreational and commercial fishery in Chesapeake Bay. Marylanders eat soft-shell crabs by the ton, they relish crab salad, they serve up crab cakes to drooling tourists. As much as Kentucky is the bluegrass state, Maryland is the blue crab state. Citizens, arise! Summon up the shades of H.L. Mencken to fight for the right arthropod in Annapolis.
EAST AND WEST
For a basketball power that rarely draws players from outside the neighborhood. Providence College has pulled off a stunner by reaching into Southern California for Terry Tate, a very fluid, very smooth 6'6" senior at Daniel Murphy High School in Los Angeles. Eyed covetously by such schools as Southern Cal, Long Beach State, Santa Clara, North Carolina, Memphis State and Notre Dame, among others, Tate got interested in Providence because the same order, the Dominican, runs his high school. Last fall Tate went East for a visit, liked the "closeness" of the players so much that when Providence went to play UCLA in January, Tate met the team at the airport. After UCLA won, says Providence P.R. man Mike Tranghese, "I think Terry felt worse than we did."
But the West will fight back and then some. Or at least Bill Toomey, decathlon gold medalist at Mexico City, will as the new track coach of the University of California at Irvine. Thinking global, Toomey says, "I'm going to recruit foreign athletes. I have contacts all over the world and it would help our program to have world-class athletes on the team." Several weeks ago Toomey was in New Zealand and spoke to a 19-year-old half-miler who does 1:48; Toomey was also at Richmond for the U.S.-U.S.S.R. meet where he gave his pitch to Nikolai Avilov, who broke his decathlon record at Munich. Adds Toomey, "I have a good friend who broadcasts track for the Bavarian TV station. I asked him to give me a plug on German TV, and he did. Hopefully I'll be getting letters soon."
There will be no merger between the National Hockey League and the World Hockey Association right now. WHA owners believe they will win their $64 million antitrust suit against the NHL and its reserve clause. Also, WHA owners don't want to indemnify NHL owners in the event of merger. The NHL would want WHA teams to pay at least $6 million each, the price Buffalo, Vancouver, Atlanta and the New York Islanders all paid for admission. Moreover, some NHL owners fear that if a merger ever comes, a new major hockey league might start and cause a war all over again.
Within the NHL itself, owners are scheduled to meet secretly in New York this week on internal problems. Several owners, notably William Wirtz in Chicago and Bruce Norris in Detroit, are incensed that Bill Jennings of the Rangers started merger talks with WHA owners on his own and said nothing to them until they were over. Moreover, Wirtz and Norris are angry that Jennings ignored them while newcomers from Philadelphia and Pittsburgh were invited. Says one NHL owner: "Damn Rangers. They get $5 million indemnity from the Islanders and now they want another $6 million for a merger. The hell with them."
Professional track uses pacing lights for the mile to excite fan interest, and now Ted Haydon, track coach at the University of Chicago, has developed a system to speed the usually spectatorless all-comers' meets he conducts on Sunday afternoons in the spring. He runs all the events at one time.
Well, not quite all the events. But most of the running events do occur simultaneously. Haydon lines the quarter-milers up on the track at the start of the turn, the half-milers about 50 yards back, the milers farther to the rear, with the three-milers at the head of the straightaway. Then he fires one gun and the runners start en masse. The fastest half-miler usually can't catch the slowest finishing quarter-miler and so on through the milers and three-milers. The runners finish one lap, three laps, or 11 laps later at the point where they started. The result is sort of an instant track meet.
Haydon got the idea several years ago on a cold, windy, rainy day when all the runners wanted their event to be first. "I ran them all together," Haydon recalls. "The runners didn't mind—in fact, they rather thought it was fun—and the officials got to go home earlier."
Still Haydon hasn't completely perfected the system yet. He is actually trying to figure out how to put a field of hurdlers and sprinters on the track at the same time.
If anyone doubts that television dominates college football scheduling, witness ABC's announcement that the Nebraska-Oklahoma game, traditionally played on Thanksgiving or the following Saturday, has been rescheduled this November for the Friday in between at Norman.
The day after Thanksgiving, the network reasons, is fast becoming an unofficial national holiday, and a lot of viewers will be available. That may be true on Madison Avenue, but back on Main Street folks still pay homage to the work ethic, as the Omaha World-Herald discovered in a survey. A spokesman for the Union Pacific, whose headquarters employs 7,000 in Omaha and nearby Council Bluffs, says: "We are drafting a statement. It will say no TVs in the office. Our people will be on the job." At Mutual of Omaha, an official said all 3,500 employees will work. At Northwestern Bell, with a work force of 4,500, it will be "business as usual." The same applies for the state of Nebraska's 22,000 employees, although Governor J. James Exon could come under pressure to declare a holiday for bureaucrats should the Cornhuskers go into the game undefeated.
No matter what, some fans, wherever they work, are sure to try to smuggle sets in on the job, and one of the few happy men in Omaha is Jim Skomal. He rents TVs. "I have 125 available," he says, beaming. "First come, first served."
If anyone doubts that Clifford Roberts, chairman of the Masters, dominates CBS-TV, he should have been on the grounds and behind the cameras at the most recent Augusta gala, especially when the rains came plunging down on Saturday. Who'd want to see a flooded golf course, Roberts' minions told CBS-TV. At Augusta, what Roberts decides, CBS does, and the network had no choice but to pass up the flood shots of raging Rae's Creek (SI, April 16) and instead showed viewers half an hour of aimless interviews, held high and dry indoors.
Such an incident is par for the Augusta course of events. Roberts once banished Announcer Jack Whitaker from the CBS telecast team for referring to a huge gallery gathered around the final hole of a final day as "a mob." Whitaker only got back on the team when Henry Longhurst suffered a heart attack and Whitaker, by chance, happened to be in town. Director Frank Chirkinian once drew Roberts' ire by closing with an empty fairway shot, empty except for the litter left by the crowd. Bad image, Roberts said. Asked about humorous incidents that have occurred over the years at the Masters, Chirkinian says, "There is nothing humorous at the Masters. Here small dogs do not bark and babies do not cry."
Texarkana straddles the Texas-Arkansas state line, and the football rivalry between the local high schools on either side of the line is fierce, although usually one-sided in the direction of Texas. In 1964, under Coach Robert E. (Swede) Lee, the Arkansas high school beat Texas for the first time in 23 years. After Lee left to become an assistant at Texas A&M the hard times returned. Now Arkansas has hired Lee back from A&M, which cheered everybody until the school board said his salary would be $20,000. His predecessor made $12,200, and the proposed salary is higher than that of any other member of the faculty, including the school superintendent.
"I think it's too high," said Bill Warner, a school board member who cast the lone dissenting vote in the 7-to-1 decision to hire Lee. "I don't object to the man but to the salary. I think it is excessive. It will cost too much to bring our other people into line with it. The teachers are unhappy and I think there are a lot of concerned citizens in the town, too."
The 7-to-1 vote indicates there aren't too many. As they say in Texas, there are only three sports: football, spring football and recruiting. Arkansas seems to have the same fever.
Recent guerrilla activity has prompted the adoption of two new rules at the golf club in Centenary, Rhodesia. The first rule "allows a stroke to be played again if interrupted by gunfire or sudden explosion," while the second enjoins players to check the holes for land mines before putting.
A new National League rule disturbs Manager Leo Durocher of Houston, and he has a valid point. The Lip's devious mind began working after his star centerfielder, Cesar Cedeno, was knocked down by a pitch. The new rule stipulates that after the first attempt by a pitcher to hit a batter, the pitcher is warned by the umpire, and the warning carries an automatic $50 fine. But if the opposing team's pitcher retaliates, that team's manager is automatically out of the game and the pitcher is warned. If it happens again on either side, the pitcher is thrown out of the game. Durocher says, "The guy who does it first has the other guy over the barrel. Theoretically, you could have your pitcher knock down the other team's first batter every day, and their pitcher couldn't retaliate without having his manager banished. It would cost you maybe $8,000 in fines for your pitchers over a 162-game season, but you'd have the other club in trouble."
THEY SAID IT
•John McKenzie, Philadelphia Blazers player-coach, on his team needs for next year: "Eighteen Bobby Orrs, seven Phil Espositos and four Bobby Clarkes."
•Larry Howard, Houston catcher, on the problems of his job: "You've got pitchers who add, subtract, multiply and divide. I caught a pitcher named Steve Bailey who used to change signs in the middle of his windup. He'd be at the top of his windup, hands over his head, when he'd start shaking his head 'No.' Somehow it all worked out."
•Ben Hogan, impressed by the putting of today's young golfers: "We always considered it quite a feat to get down our six-to eight-footers, but now if a fellow misses from 40 feet he grimaces and agonizes like a cowboy struck in the heart by an Indian's arrow."