Symbolism in K.C.
In the geography of baseball, Kansas City has rarely been as happily located as it is right now. The Athletics have been in the first division all spring, lead the American League in batting, with four regulars at the .300 mark. And the team has played better than .500 ball from the start.
This does not mean that Kansas City is without its discontents. The trouble is geography, in a way; for years, ardent publicists have taken advantage of Kansas City's inland location by making it known as the Heart of America, with its symbol a big heart. Now when the Athletics were located in Philadelphia their symbol was a big elephant. When the franchise was sold to Kansas City, the elephant symbol went along with the team.
There it affronted the pride of members of the Southside Democratic Club. A South Kansas City merchants' association took up the cause. Before anybody was quite aware of it, a considerable movement had developed to replace the elephant with the heart, and the Athletics were beginning to think uneasily of the day when they would have large hearts sewed on their uniforms, like so many Valentines, and what hostile fans and bench jockeys might say about that.
On May 28 Charles Fisher (Democrat) introduced a resolution in the city council. The elephant, he orated, was not in keeping with the Heart of America. While he didn't quite spell it out, he got across the idea that the elephant was not in keeping with the symbol of the Democratic Party either. Fisher's resolution passed 7 to 1, with the lone Republican on the city council voting to stand pat. The resolution as passed did not, to be sure, outlaw the elephant symbol, or make the heart symbol compulsory, but it did call upon the ball club to replace the Gothic A and the elephant on the players' shirt fronts, at least on out-of-town games, with something solid like KANSAS CITY.
Last week petitions to the same effect were circulating in Kansas City. Said the Chamber of Commerce, in a hasty statement: "We have not taken a stand on this matter." Nor had the old left-hander who frequently turns up from Independence, Harry Truman, though obviously, in a matter of this kind, his feelings about elephants could be taken for granted.
As for the Kansas City A's themselves—well, a club spokesman spoke for them. "All they have on their minds," he said, "is staying in the first division. They don't care if you put FRANK LANE LOVES GEORGE WEISS across the front," he declared, opening up still more awesome possibilities, "so long as they continue playing .500 ball."
A modern dante once depicted the special Hades of golfers as a course whose perfection of tee, green and fairway was beyond anything known to mortal man. Its private clubhouse was a bower of infinite beauty and its bar an empyrean spring. Its caddie house was peopled with young men as tactful as Jeeves, as wise as Bob Jones and as quietly indefatigable as old Enos Slaughter. The bags they carried were loaded with exquisite sets of matched irons and woods cunningly designed to make Sam Sneads of the veriest duffer. What then was the catch in this vision of joy? The hell of it was simply that there were no golf balls.
While no mortal golfer as far as we know has yet experienced quite such hellish frustration as this, few of us have escaped the sample that occurs when, on a perfect morning on an ideal course after a flawless drive and an inspired approach, we take three putts on the green.