SI Vault
September 04, 1961
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September 04, 1961


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One of our writers, touring Europe, was struck by the identification the lesser roads supply—France looks like France, Italy like Italy, etc. Then, heading for London from the Midlands, he got on the mighty new M-1 throughway. "I thought I was in New Jersey," he said.

We do not favor obscuring an Alp or a Grand Canyon with a billboard boosting a motel, nor are we admirers of litter. But we do say, and we would not love nature half so much loved we not alertness {i.e., living) more, that a lot of foliage loses by overexposure and that a certain amount of roadside raucous-ness keeps motorists awake. It also lets them know where they are, like what country, dad.

The 1,000 scientists who make up the International Astronomical Union came out last week for a cleaner Outer Space. What set them off was a White House O.K. on the Air Force's project to disperse 350 million copper needles beyond the ionosphere as a reflecting band for radio signals. This magazine has come, out for cleaner banks on rivers, cleaner sewage around cities and cleaner hands in boxing, and would like to add its own protest. And while we're at it, let's not draw the line just at copper needles. We. think people should be reminded not to leave cigarette butts, beer cans, sandwich ' wrappers and, most of all, vodka bottles around the celestial landscape, ruining these farthest remaining reaches of the outest outdoors for future generations.


According to Frank Lane, the recently fired general manager of the Kansas City Athletics, Charles O. Finley frequently reminded him that the O in the name stands for Owner. Owner Finley, who bought controlling stock in the Athletics last year, has been much in the news but seldom with elegance or effect.

In February, for example, Finley posed beside a burning bus with the words "Shuttle Bus to Yankee Stadium" written on the sides. This burning of the bus was an attempt by Finley to pacify outraged Athletic fans, who had seen such players as Roger Maris and Hector Lopez traded to New York. Finley indicated that there would be no more such trades, but not too long ago he made a trade with the Yankees.

In June, after giving Manager Joe Gordon a public vote of confidence, Finley fired him. Two weeks ago Finley tried to intimidate the Kansas City Star's sports editor, Ernest Mehl, by giving him a "poison pen award," because Mehl had criticized Finley's interference with the running of the ball club on the field, one of the sorriest things any owner can do. (Last week Baseball Commissioner Ford Frick publicly apologized to Mehl "in the name of all baseball" for Finley's childish stunt.)

Even though major league baseball has two exciting pennant races going for it this season, the drawing power of Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle and two new franchises, over-all attendance is down 1,122,784 compared to 1960.

We believe that the owners of baseball are responsible for this decline. It is the dreary result of their essential lack of respect for the sport. Charles O. Finley is a particularly egregious, but by no means singular, case in point. O may stand for Owner, but it also stands for zero.

The proponents of physical fitness, from Bonnie Prudden to Pittsburgh Pirates' Dr. Jay Bender, pretty much agree that tensing one's muscles without moving the exterior corpus does about as much good as tossing boulders around. The scientific name for this concept is "isometric contractions." It used to be called bunk, or worse, when that famous 97-pound weakling, Charles Atlas, first marketed it in The Twenties under the name of "Dynamic Tension." Ah there, Charlie.

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