In a letter received the other morning by AAU executive director Ollan Cassell, lawyers for Asdic-Arena Co., U.S. distributor of Arena swimwear, accused the sports body of sanctioning the "violation of antitrust principles." No manufacturer had the right to "attempt to force its product onto the amateur," the letter asserted, adding that amateur athletes should enjoy "freedom to select the equipment with which they compete."
What was upsetting Arena was the AAU's selection of rival Speedo—in return for $5,000 a year—to continue providing the official swimsuit for U.S. teams. Australia-based Speedo has long been the No. 1 outfitter in big-time swimming, the latest evidence coming at this year's NCAA championships, where 70 of the 74 finalists wore the suits. Largely responsible for these numbers is Bill Lee, Speedo's resourceful general manager for North America, who tirelessly woos swim coaches, 34 of whom serve on the company's advisory board, and passes out free swimwear to the sport's top performers.
Despite Lee's efforts, Arena has recently been giving Speedo a run for it. The Adidas subsidiary has signed Mark Spitz and Shane Gould for endorsements and has been making a mighty splash in Europe. It paid the organizers for permission to put the world championship symbol on its suits next month at Cali, Colombia, and it bought the right to outfit the U.S. divers and the water polo and synchronized swimming teams.
The fact that some U.S. competitors at Cali will be clad in Speedo and others in Arena is just one of many anomalies. Another is that many of the coaches on Speedo's advisory board (plus a few signed up by Arena) sit on the very AAU committees that select U.S. team uniforms. But Asdic-Arena's claim that somebody is forcing swimwear on U.S. athletes is not quite right. The AAU naturally wants its teams dressed in a uniform that is uniform, but Aquatics Administrator Lynn Jamison says, "If a swimmer insists on wearing another suit, there's nothing to stop him." Indeed, at the 1974 U.S.-East Germany meet, Shirley Babashoff competed in a Ribbolastic suit while the rest of the team wore official red, white and blue Speedos.
But then, the Arena folks probably knew that all along.
WIN, PLACE AND WHOA
She may not have been fastest in the field, but Dual Purpose has a lot of heart, as they say in racing. Minutes after the 3-year-old filly had finished 10th in a 12-horse race at California's Golden Gate Fields, she hobbled wearily back to her stall and delivered a foal. Trainer Jann Batchelor gave her a look of utter surprise. "There definitely was no sign that the horse was pregnant," he said. One would like to think that Dual Purpose gave him a look of utter reproach.
THE FAN DANCER
It makes one feel warm all over to note Philadelphia's civic pride in its Stanley Cup champions, an emotion that sweeps right to the marquee of the Troc burlesque house. One of the strippers is now billed as Phyllis Flire.
ARNIE'S BLIGHTY ARMY
The Ryder Cup, that bi-annual golfing competition between pros from Great Britain and the U.S., will be staged this September in Ligonier, Pa., not far from Arnold Palmer's front porch. This is fitting, since Palmer is captain of the U.S. team. But here come the ironies. First, it appears that Palmer will be a nonplaying captain because he has not accumulated enough Ryder points, i.e., played well enough to be one of the 12 pros chosen. Which brings us to the fact that Palmer recently trekked to Europe for the Spanish Open and the British PGA Championship, both of which he won. Thus he not only became the leading money-winner on the European circuit, but picked up enough Ryder Cup points—British version—to head Great Britain's team. Naturally, Palmer cannot play for Great Britain, nor can his British points be added to the points he earned in this country. Which leaves us with one consolation: it should at least be psychologically upsetting to the British to know that their best player is captain of the U.S. team.
THEY CALL HIM MR. 400
It has been slightly more than a year now since the bombastic Andy Granatelli left auto racing, having built STP to a status just this side of Coca-Cola—and taking care at the same time to sell himself as one of the most colorful characters in sport. That part was easy enough, since Granatelli is a man of giant passions. He spent 23 futile years trying to win the Indy 500 and when his car finally did so in 1969, he scooped up tiny Mario Andretti and gave him the world's most crushing kiss in a scene that fans will never forget, then plopped his driver back into the race car like a victorious rag doll.
Granatelli has retired to Florida where he tends his portfolio, which is a bit like letting a natural resource go to waste. Still, since he is only 50 and full of fire, someone surely ought to sign him up and send him off on another career. Meanwhile, the big man is not idle. His new passion is dieting.
Andy won't reveal the exact weight he once packed, but his suit coat was size 56 and his waist measured 55 inches. Today he is down to a 39-inch waist and a size-48 coat, having lost 80 pounds. In a couple of weeks he'll hit his goal of losing exactly 100 pounds and then he intends to write the ultimate diet book. After all, "none of those doctors who tell you how to lose weight have ever lost anything like an even hunnert, right?"
It wouldn't be sporting to reveal all of Andy's dieting secrets, but this one won't hurt: "You start out at breakfast eating one lousy soft-boiled egg, which you boil too hard, and then you don't put any salt on it, which makes it taste even worse. After a few days of that junk you add a little salt and it tastes so good yer ashamed to eat it." Andy used to breakfast on a minimum of three fried eggs, slabs of ham, toast, jelly, bagels and lox, and occasionally gained three to four pounds per meal.
The change is as stunning as going from one of Granatelli's gigantic old Novi race cars to a sleek new turbine. In fact, perhaps the svelte new Andy should un-retire back into racing. This time everybody would be able to tell which one is the car.
BYE, BYE BIRDIE
Whither the Baltimore Orioles? Not the team. The birds. Two years ago the mighty American Ornithologists Union announced that it was stripping the Baltimore Oriole of its status as a separate species and now along comes the American Birding Association with a similar downgrading. That group's updated field guide lists the black and orange whistler as the "Northern Oriole," and cites interbreeding with the Bullock's Oriole, a Western species, as clouding the family line.
This direct aspersion notwithstanding, Maryland's tourist department has indicated it will not budge, pointing out that the Baltimore Oriole has been the official state bird since 1947. Let's hope it stays that way; this morals rap is just a cheap shot.
That old refrain about gamblers being born losers is familiar enough—but it ain't necessarily so, says one expert who should know. Professor Felicia Florine Campbell teaches English literature at the University of Nevada, the state that betting built, and she allows that, if anything, gambling is a resource, a tranquilizer and a psychological training ground for creative thinking.
"Gambling has served us well," says Dr. Campbell. "It is an outlet for the bruised and insulted adventurer within us. Part of ourselves lusts for change, wooing the unknown, and it sends us both to the gaming tables and the moon." This sort of stand will salve a lot of horse-playing and crap-shooting consciences, particularly Dr. Campbell's theory about creative thinking. "The gambler feels that if he wins he has in some way controlled his world," she says. "If he loses, it is simply a tough break." True. Especially if the creative thinker had bet the rent money.
The Great Excesses of the Modern World award goes this week to the National Table-Tennis League, which is fiercely proud of its new official Ping-Pong table. In production even now, the table will be used exclusively at all NTTL pro matches.
This is no old green and white job. The new table is royal blue with red stripes and features a blue net with white piping. But that's mere cosmetics—the real overkill comes with the table's construction: laminated woods, hollow aluminum core—and implanted microphones to amplify the sound of balls striking the surface. This is supposed to improve player response, says the NTTL, adding that the table will cost $25,000. Paddles are extra.
THE LUSH LIFE
This is not to imply that major-leaguers are getting soft, but one authoritative source points out that, in terms of team refreshments, they now prefer soda pop, milk and orange juice. This information comes from Mike Morris, who manages the visiting clubhouse for the Chicago White Sox, serving up food and drink, among other duties. Such teams as the Baltimore Orioles now consume only one case of beer per game, Morris says. Far cry from his favorite, a large outfielder who obviously was of the old school. "He tipped $20 a day during a series," Morris recalls, "and the only thing he ever asked was that you keep a case of beer in his locker. He never ate. He just drank."
Evidence continues to mount that computers are sneakily taking over everything, and here is more...well, more input to confirm it. Intrigued by longstanding arguments over who are the best tennis players of all time, Dallas radio executive Gordon McLendon is polling authorities in the sport to find their choices, dating back to 1920. Each ballot will list eight top men and eight top women, dead or alive. The selections will then go to officials of World Championship Tennis, who will tabulate entries, seed the players and draw up a schedule of seven matches. Back go the lists to the authorities who this time will pick a winner in each imaginary match and give set-by-set scores. That's where the computer comes in: the whole shebang will be punched in and the computer will produce consensus winners. Printouts in hand, McLendon will re-create all the matches in a series of radio broadcasts, acting as if each match were being played on Centre Court at Wimbledon. Every effort will be made to keep final winners secret, he says. And one more thing: if you disagree with the programmed results, don't go crying to McLendon. Go kick the computer.
SETTING THE HOOK
Goodwill is one thing, but when a state needs revenue like, say, Maine, a few grumbles won't hurt. That's why Governor James B. Longley signed a bill killing the state's traditional courtesy hunting and fishing licenses. From here on in, everybody pays the $6.50 resident and $15.50 nonresident fishing fee, even U.S. customs officials who had been trading free angling favors with their counterparts along the Canadian border. Last year, 427 courtesy hunting and fishing licenses went out to a mix of visitors, from outdoor writers publicizing Maine to such notables as Ted Williams and Stan Musial. Estimated revenue will be only about $25,000 a year. It won't balance the budget, but it's a start.
THEY SAID IT
•Al McGuire, basketball coach at Marquette, on producing winners: "I want my teams to have my personality—surly, obnoxious and arrogant."
•Paul Anderson, 373-pound weight lifter: "Sure, I was once a 97-pound weakling. When I was four years old."
•Brian Vriesman, 6'5" Hope College forward, on who had the most influence on his basketball career: "My six-foot mother."
•Rene Riera, Cuban jockey, on choosing that career: "My friend Robert Delgado was a jockey. I saw that he drove a big Cadillac and had lots of girls."
•Danny Ozark, Philadelphia Phillies manager, on his rightfielder: "Mike Anderson's limitations are limitless."