At home in Italy,
when he is not serving as Commissioner of Baseball for his native land and the
whole of Europe, Prince Borghese spends his time growing wheat and alfalfa on
1,000 irrigated acres near Nettuno, cultivating vegetables and fattening 200
head of Swiss and Dutch dairy cattle. He also grows mushrooms.
prince spent his youth playing tennis, skiing, "climbing on the rocks"
and rowing on the naval academy crew ("I was the last, the smallest
one"), he had never seen baseball until he watched two GIs playing catch
just after World War II. " 'What is this childish game?' I asked
myself," he says. " 'What possible fun can they be having from it?'
" The prince found out when the manager of the American cemetery at
Anzio-Nettuno asked him if he could spare some land for a diamond. "It
was," says the prince with pride, "the first baseball ground in
prince's Italian organization boasts 100 ball teams. The players, says the
prince, are "amateur in theory," and games are played only on Sunday
because Italians are not accustomed to attending sporting events during the
week. "The Nettuno team, which is sponsored by Algida, an ice-cream
company," he says, "have always been champion but not on account of me;
I only give the ground. It is a cute idea, don't you think? A summer game
sponsored by an ice-cream company; very cute." Nettuno used to be sponsored
by Chlorodent, the toothpaste, and the team was known as the Chlorodents, but
several of the teams have proper American names like the Florence Braves and
the Bologna Green Sox.
people who ever watched a game in Italy," says Prince Borghese, "was
12,000 in 1952, but that wasn't really fair. I had invited Gregory Peck to the
game. How good are the Italian teams? Well, I have asked the catcher of
Glorioso, our best pitcher who now lives on Long Island—he was a plumber—and he
tells me, 'Don't you dare bring an Italian team here to the States!' Do the
spectators shout at the umpires? Yes, they cry, 'More horned than a basket of
snails,' which is a very old Italian saying."
Even today it is
possible to lose a fight on fouls. Though referees no longer stop a bout
because of them, they still have the right to do so if fouling is
Champion Virgil Akins fought Don Jordan in Los Angeles the other night the odds
were 3 to 1 in the champion's favor. He fought like a man with the odds against
It simply is not
Akins' normal style to butt, wrestle and punch low, but he did one or the other
and sometimes all three in every round. The referee warned him about it seven
times during the fight and deducted two points from his score. Even if the
points "had not been deducted Akins still would have lost, since only fair
blows count and he seemed almost careful not to throw enough fair blows to make
any impression on the scoring.
motive for his persistent fouling, so blatant that even TV Announcer Jimmy
Powers commented on it repeatedly, Akins' tactics were a stench in the American
There will, of
course, be a return bout and it probably will be in Akins' home town, St.
Louis. That may give a clue as to whether Akins has set out on the win-lose,
win-lose road that Jimmy Carter took in the lightweight division.