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BOWLS OF GRAVY
"Blacking out," a television term that means keeping an event off TV screens in or near the city in which it takes place, has always been a special annoyance to sports fans. They would like to have the choice of seeing a local event in person or watching it on a screen. The local blackout, however, must be considered a minor irritation compared to the major arrogance now under consideration by some promoters in connection with football bowl games.
If the idea is approved, people in Los Angeles not only will be unable to see a telecast of the Rose Bowl but will find the Cotton, Orange and Sugar bowls missing as well. The same super-blackout will apply in Dallas, Miami and New Orleans. In other words, you go to your local bowl game or you don't see any bowl game at all. "It is my personal belief," said Stuart W. Patton, TV-radio chairman of the Orange Bowl Committee, last week, "that the blackout system must be adopted within five years. Television, which has been of vast benefit to bowl games, is now becoming a menace. But the bowl people are concerned about the public opinion in such a blackout."
Mr. Patton and all other bowl promoters had damn well better be concerned about the reaction to a plan so clearly based on greed. The over-all average attendance at the four big bowl games for the past five years was 82,177. At no time in these five years did the crowd at any of them fall below 68,000. That ought to satisfy any promoter.
?After 70 years of building wooden boats, Chris-Craft, world's biggest producer of pleasure craft, is going to try fiber glass. Within two months the company will announce a new line of plastic cruisers and runabouts.
?The Los Angeles team in the new National Professional Bowling League will offer season tickets for its 68-match home schedule for $350 (about $5.10 per match), while tickets for individual matches will go for $4.95, $4.60 and $3.50. Other promoters doubt that the bowling sponsors will be able to maintain these sky-high prices.
?The New York Racing Association will change the conditions of the middle leg of The Triple Crown for Fillies—The Mother Goose—so that all three races will be run on an equal-weight basis in 1962. Under this year's conditions, Bowl of Flowers had to give four pounds to Funloving and was beaten by a head. A length, according to handicapping principles, equals three pounds at a mile. Bowl of Flowers won the other two legs of The Triple Crown and probably would have won The Mother Goose at equal weights.
Too often, we believe, our colleagues on the political side try to illuminate a complex international situation by comparing it with one in sport—and the result is linguistic chaos. Here in evidence is the lead editorial from a recent issue of that noted British magazine, The Economist: