THE FADING GREEN
For more than 60 years the sports section of the San Francisco Chronicle has been printed on green paper, but on Sept. 14 the "Sporting Green" will fade to black and white, except for a small area of green across the top and down the left-hand side. According to the newspaper, the increasing difficulty of a separate pressrun doomed the Sporting Green. A tradition has fallen victim to the bottom line, and SI senior writer Ron Fimrite is not happy about it. Fimrite, whose column "The Sporting Tiger" appeared in the Chronicle from 1966 to '71, writes:
"The demise of the Green is shocking and appalling and yet another example of the transformation of the Chronicle from an entertaining newspaper into just another dull, gray entity. The Green was the most distinctive sports section in the country and not just because you could find it so easily. When I recall great sportswriters like Will Connolly, who recently died, Ed Hughes, Dick Friendlich, Bill Leiser, Harry B. Smith, Charles McCabe, I see them on green paper. Reading my own words in that color gave them a special, out-of-the-ordinary feeling. After all, green is the background to many of our sports."
When Don Coryell coached the San Diego Chargers, their offense was known as Air Coryell. Now that Al Saunders is the coach, the offense has been renamed El Al.
BRAVE NEW WORLD
This month officials of the U.S. Soccer Federation will travel to Zurich, Switzerland, to deliver a document that could change the face of sports in this country. The heavy load of paper they will be carrying to FIFA, the world soccer organization, is a proposal by the U.S. to host the 1994 World Cup.
Considering the fact that the U.S. does not have a major outdoor soccer league, the bid might seem laughable. Indeed, FIFA did laugh at a 1983 U.S. bid. But that was before the Olympics in Los Angeles, where a crowd of 101,799 turned out for the soccer final in the Rose Bowl. U.S.S.F. president Werner Fricker told SI's Clive Gammon, "The L.A. Olympics proved we could put on soccer with style."
The other countries bidding for the '94 World Cup are Brazil, Chile and Morocco, and the decision won't be made until next June, but Fricker says with unbridled optimism, "We are in the pole position." The stakes in the race for the World Cup are enormously high. The '86 Cup in Mexico had a cumulative TV audience of 12.8 billion. On a more spiritual level, fans in the U.S. see a World Cup as the key to establishing soccer in this country.
FIFA president Dr. Joctao Havelange is from Brazil, which might seem to favor that country's presentation, but, as Fricker points out, " Brazil doesn't know if she wants it or not.... And Brazilian stadiums? Well, they were fine in 1950." Moreover, Fricker feels Havelange is leaning toward the U.S. "He is a strong president, and he would like to see the Cup here, because then he would be the man who joined us to the rest of the world."