BOY, MEET GIRL
Little League baseball, engulfed in the war between the sexes, is fighting in a losing cause and, sorry to say, failing to recognize the fact.
In New Jersey, one of the latest battlegrounds, leaders of 19 Little League districts with 150,000 players announced they would suspend play until either the legislature or the courts assured them that their games could go on with the only girls present safely ensconced in the stands, dutifully cheering on the boys. The New Jerseyites and the national organization in Williamsport, Pa. claim, among other reasons for wanting to keep the girls out, that they are a private enterprise and not subject to the ground rules for public groups erected after a long series of judicial decisions. In other words, it is their ball and if the rest don't play by their rules they are going to take the ball and go home.
Georgia's Lester Maddox had a similar solution when he refused a court order to integrate his Pickrick restaurant. He closed it. But integration did come to Atlanta, as it did to the rest of the country, and now in the new revolution—the women's—each day brings news of additional successes. Women are running on men's track teams, competing on their swim and tennis teams and one is even a regular on a championship volleyball team.
To a predictable Little League objection—that there is too much danger of girls being seriously injured—we offer the reaction of one sixth-grade teacher when informed that the boys and their dads wanted to keep the game half national. "They should," she said with only a trace of sarcasm. "Girls of that age are too big for the boys."
TAKEN FOR A RIDE
A quartet of hotdog skiers landed at Boston's Logan International Airport and airily hailed a taxi. Where to? Why, Waterville, said Fuzzy and Ernst Garhammer of Munich, Frenchman Henri Authier and Swiss Paterlini Meschino. They were headed for the Eastern Hotdog Championships in Waterville Valley, N.H. The driver took them to Waterville, Maine, where there are no mountains. When they finally straightened that out, the driver turned west and eventually deposited the four in the right Waterville. He thought $300 would about cover the tour. "We talked him out of $100," Ernst said later while the others stood around giggling. "We're all so embarrassed we don't even like to talk about it."
STICK TO AUTOMATIC
The question may rapidly become academic but, in case you have wondered, it is more relaxing and safer to drive a car with automatic transmission than one with four on the floor. Tests made in Britain on identical twins showed that in heavy traffic their pulse rates in the manually operated auto sometimes shot up to 150 beats per minute—a dangerous level for people with heart trouble.
TWIST ON A TWIST
Thought you had it with the cute names? The Macon Whoopees, the Brussels Sprouts, the Havana Cigars and the Hershey Bars? Well, there is a new game based on the latest fad of christening teams in the singular, like the Dallas Tornado, the Chicago Fire, the Southern California Sun and the Philadelphia Bell. The possibilities, you will quickly note, are almost as endless as the parade of rock combos that may have inspired all this.
Just to get into the swing of the thing: the Tijuana Jail, the Charlotte Bront√´, the Mobile Home, the Cleveland Amory, the Montgomery Ward, the St. Louis Woman, the Florence Nightingale, the Alexandria Quartet, the Jackson Five (a basketball team, of course).
Or maybe the Johnstown Flood, the Tokyo Rose, the Berlin Wall, the London Fog, the Watts Riot, the Vienna Waltz, the Austin-Healey, the Ogden Nash and the Sydney Greenstreet.
But wait, this is only the half of it. What do you call a member of one of these teams? Not a Fire. How about a Tongue or a Spark? Members of the Sun, for sure, would be Beams, the Bell, Dingalings, and the Tornado, Gusts. So take it away Sioux City Sue (players will be called Suitors), Bombay Gin (Hotshots) and New Delhi Catessen (Salamis). The Flushing John and the Bath Room will have to provide for themselves. Modesty forbids.
FOR THE BIRDS
The birds aren't attacking humans yet, as they did in the eerie Alfred Hitchcock tingler of a decade ago, but for dogs and cows the place not to be these days is Graceham, Md. The tiny village is the unhappy focus of this year's annual roost of some 10 million starlings, grackles and blackbirds.
"Our dog Herman shakes when they fly by," says Mrs. Clare Myers, whose house adjoins the 60-acre white-pine forest that currently serves as headquarters for the invaders. "They go into his doghouse, chase him out and eat his food." They also dive-bomb cattle at their feed troughs and rip open seedbags.
The outraged citizenry has responded with the usual counterinsurgencies—explosives, loud noises, shotguns—but one suggestion from an unknown hero ranks right in there with that of the genius who developed the defense against the pigeon population—scaring them away with strategically placed toy snakes, sometimes coiled as though ready to strike. The Graceham solution? Put 10,000 starving cats out in the woods.
WHAT THE MAN SAID
It was not the sort of ringing declaration that will go down in history like, say, "Fire when ready, Gridley," but Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn did seem to say that he wanted Henry Aaron to play at least two-thirds of the time in Cincinnati. Speaking right out, Kuhn said (italics ours): "I have had a number of discussions with Bill Bartholomay about his February announcement regarding Henry Aaron. Although he has advanced some substantial arguments in support of his announcement, he has not been able to persuade me that the procedure he wishes to follow is good for baseball. As a result, I have advised him I am disapproving the announcement and that, barring disability, I will expect the Braves to use Henry Aaron in the opening series in Cincinnati, in accordance with the pattern of his use in 1973 when he started approximately two of every three Braves games."
Now, that is an order! It is, isn't it?
NEARER THY GOAL TO THEE
Football recruiters in the Southwest, famed for their ingenuity, have found a bonanza in the energy crisis, all at the expense of Texas Tech.
Even in an oil-rich state, Tech has the disadvantage of its location, which is at Lubbock, on remote, windswept plains hundreds of miles from any major city. Coaches from rival schools are telling parents of recruits that if their boys opt for Lubbock, the parents might never get to see them play. The tactic, Tech people report sadly, has already worked in a couple of cases.
On Netherlands television not long ago a native who prefers to remain anonymous told a story more weird than any in the 153-year history of Britain's Epsom Derby.
Anon, said he was walking with a friend past Duindigt racecourse in Holland when he heard a loudspeaker barking out announcements. There was no racing that day and the surprised strollers stopped to listen.
"Here are the runners for the 1976 Derby," said a voice, and it went on to list the names of the entries two years hence. A mistiness hauntingly reminiscent of Hermann Hesse's Steppenwolf pervaded the Dutch track, and through it the two men saw jockey's caps. Then they "heard" the results: first, second and third. The winner was a 395-to-1 shot. Three other races followed.
Though not thoroughbred men, the extrasensory perceivers made inquiries about which horses were already registered in England for the 1976 Derby. One of them, sensing a coup for the couple, went to London and hired a solicitor who agreed to negotiate a futures bet in the greatest secrecy, provided he was allowed to put a few pounds on the 395-to-l shot himself. Whether or not English bookmakers smell a spook and refuse wagers when the action gets going, "Phantom"—whoever he is—will never go off at 395 to 1. We can hardly wait for the results of the Spirit of '76.
THREE KING PINS
Bowlers, according to the old stereotype, were phlegmatic endomorphs who passionlessly rolled for strikes and retired to the bar for a drink. Partly through publicity, partly through exposure on TV and partly through the national tour with its intense competition for big-money prizes, a new image has arisen of driven people who nervously stalk the backs of alleys and calibrate their next toss in millimeters. Well, today's pros are not all that wrought up, but they do look for an edge and suffer the tortures of the damned when they lose it.
Don Carter, for instance, says that at 46 and after his third knee operation in 15 years he is testing and holding before he decides whether to enter the American Bowling Congress' Masters tournament next month. "People think that because bowling is not a contact sport you don't have to stay in shape," he says, "but pros will bowl 80 games a week. If your legs aren't in good condition, that throws off the timing and your game is shot. It's all in the legs. Whether I bowl depends upon how practice goes."
Practice goes swimmingly for Billy Hardwick. With Carter and Dick Weber, he is rated among the best ever in the sport, and on the friendly lanes of his home turf in Louisville he has achieved an astonishing 222 average. But from a high of $64,160 in prize earnings in 1969 his income has slipped to the middle four figures and he is not about to raise it in championship competition. His troubles: some arthritis and those millimeters. In his winning days Hardwick took well-publicized advantage of the smooth left-hand side of the lanes—only 18% of tour bowlers are southpaws—and created his own angles outside of the track used by righthanders. But when lefties started dominating tournaments, the Professional Bowlers Association equalized the lanes and took away their exclusive angle—and some of Hardwick's money.
John McKillen depends upon blinders rather than angles and says that despite the inevitable neighs and whinnies, he has improved his game measurably. A chemical engineer for Chrysler, McKillen attaches side shields to his glasses and for six years now has been joyously oblivious of distractions as he comes up to the line. Concentrating with a vengeance this month in the American Bowling Congress Tournament in Indianapolis, he finished with a 642 series in singles for a nine-game all-events total of 1,731.
The cowhide came off that so-called voodoo ball made in Haiti (SI, Aug. 27) in an exhibition game between the Mets and the Red Sox. But that was not what gave Chub Feeney, whose presidential signature is on the official National League ball, the willies. Out of approximately 50 cars parked in the executive parking lot at another spring game—in Scottsdale, Ariz, between the Cubs and the Padres—an errant ball with his name on it shattered his windshield. That's what gave Chub the willies.
THEY SAID IT
•Brooks Robinson, on spring training: "This is my best time of the year. Heck, once the season starts, I go to work."
•Gene Sarazen, now 72, asked which was the greater thrill, his double eagle in the Masters or his televised hole in one last summer in the British Open: "Neither. Getting my first Social Security check."
•Johnny Orr, Michigan basketball coach: "Don Canham's the best athletic director in the country. He just extended my contract—from 30 days to a year. With Canham, that's tenure."
•Lou Brock, St. Louis Cardinal outfielder: "When I was a kid, I used to imagine animals running under my bed. I told my dad, and he solved the problem quickly. He cut the legs off the bed."