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GRASS VERSUS TURF
Allow me to point out that the Orange and Fiesta Bowls are played on grass, while Oklahoma and Nebraska play in a conference with no grass fields. Option offenses depend on the ability of backs to cut sharply upfield. How often have we seen a back—college or pro—who is used to artificial turf try to plant his foot on grass and lose his footing? You will never see Oklahoma's wishbone at its best on a grass field.
I believe that a grass field, on the other hand, favors a passing game. When footing is so-so, the player who knows where he is going (the receiver) has an obvious advantage over the player who has to react to him suddenly (the defensive back). Linebackers and defensive backs seem to hit the deck much more often on grass fields, providing easy passing opportunities. Do you think it is just a coincidence that virtually every major-college option offense plays on artificial turf?
I believe the same factor may partially explain the Big Ten's dismal record in the Rose Bowl (grass field) in recent years. Commentators frequently point out that Pac-10 dominance began around 1970, but none seems to have noticed that that is when many Big Ten teams installed artificial turf in their stadiums. Only Purdue has a grass field today. Five Pac-10 teams play on grass.
WISHES FOR '88
Let's suppose, as Fimrite suggests, that the Cubs had hired Billy Williams as manager. Would Williams end up much as Maury Wills did with the Seattle Mariners—unable to succeed because he had very little previous managerial experience?
Yes, it is miserable that major league baseball has no black managers. However, the problem is not that blacks aren't hired as managers a year or two after they retire as players. The real problem is that they aren't brought up through the managerial system. Ask Jim Leyland or Tom Kelley or Jimy Williams how much they learned about managing during their years in Evansville or Visalia, Calif. or Salt Lake City.
If George Steinbrenner or Frey or any other major league owner or general manager is really interested in having a black manager by 1990, why aren't blacks being hired for minor league managerial jobs?
Just because Williams was a solid hitter and later a good batting instructor, it doesn't follow that he would be a good manager. A year or two as a Triple A skipper would increase his chances of succeeding.