SI Vault
Edited by Robert Sullivan
February 24, 1986
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February 24, 1986


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This nifty item was one of many on view at the first-ever Super Show, staged earlier this month in Atlanta by the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association. It was a colorful scene, with pastel tennis rackets, fluorescent tennis strings and gold lam� sneakers decorating some of the 2,300 booths at the World Congress Center. The very latest in sports was seen in many images: a hot-pink pogo stick called the Jet-Star Super Trainer; a basketball shoe covered, purposely, with graffiti; a Stinky Pinky bag filled with a secret mineral that absorbs foot odor.

If the visitor to Super Show grew tired and thirsty, there was the Sit-N-Sip—a plastic stadium seat that could be filled with a favorite beverage. It has a tube attached and can deliver a most cordial cordial.

The Tee-Wizz and Sit-N-Sip were hardly the Super Show's only gimmicks. There was also Superclass, the largest aerobic exercise class in history. Staged to raise money to fight drug abuse among young people, Superclass was broadcast nationwide on cable television and caused an estimated 75,000 people to perspire in unison. Organizers say the fund-raising aspect of Superclass was "very successful," but we look at it another way: With 75,000 people exercising for two hours straight, each burning up roughly 650 calories per hour, we figure that America worked off nearly 49 million calories—or the equivalent of 13,928 pounds of fat. Dessert, anyone?


The other day at Yale University's stately Sheffield-Sterling-Strathcona Hall, a distinguished panel expounded upon eternal and not-so-eternal verities at a symposium entitled "Does Baseball Have a Future? Or, Does It Have a Great Past Ahead of It?" The panelists agreed that baseball had a future, which immensely cheered an audience of 400. "Baseball is a vital part of our nation's heart and soul," said commissioner Peter Ueberroth. Yale president A. Bartlett Giamatti, a lifelong Red Sox fan, saw deep value in the game. "It crystallizes many issues in American life for us," he said, though he worried that labor disputes and drug problems represented "an invitation to use baseball to make us feel bad instead of good." Roger Angell, who writes elegantly about the game for The New Yorker, said, "I think baseball is strong, with great recuperative powers. It is not immortal, but strong." Peter Gammons, the former Boston Globe baseball writer who recently joined the SI staff, agreed. Noting that baseball had faced its difficulties squarely in the past, he said, "I remain optimistic."

One dour note: All felt that Lou Piniella may have a short term as Yankee manager because, as Giamatti put it, "The spiritual infrastructure of this team in New York is profoundly flawed and weak."


During the same visit to Yale, Ueberroth delivered a Chubb Fellowship lecture in which he detailed his plan to combat international trafficking in illegal drugs. His agenda includes "aggressive diplomacy," and better control of smuggling at U.S. borders. That last item had been touched on in a December speech in which Ueberroth complained that U.S. border patrols had been using " Tinkertoy equipment" while "AWACS are sitting on the ground."

Now if the commissioner would only unveil details of his plan, promised last May, for getting drugs out of baseball.

Will Perdue, a backup center at Vanderbilt, seems to be leading the NCAA in shoe size with a 21� AAAAAAA. But he's hearing footsteps. They belong to North Carolina State forward Charles Shackleford, who wears a size 18� sneaker. The 19-year-old Shackleford is still a growing boy: At 17 he wore a 17 shoe, and at 16 he wore a 16. Perdue's ahead, but it's a footrace.

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