DEATH AT MONZA
A world-famous racing driver and 14 spectators are dead (see page 18), and once again society wonders what to do. Can a civilized people condone a sport which brings the danger of death and injury not only to its participants but also to its spectators? Or should the disaster at Monza be the end?
Motor sport uniquely risks the lives of uncommitted watchers who have neither fame nor prizes to win. Eighty-two of these innocents died at Le Mans in 1955; 11 at the Mille Miglia in 1957; 17 at an Argentine stock car race in 1960. The upshot has always been the same: a public outcry, a few improvements in safety precautions, a quieting of conscience, new races, new tragedies.
One way out of this macabre cycle is to ban motor racing. We do not believe this is necessary or even possible. The alternative is the strictest possible revision of the standards of the F�d�ration Internationale de L'Automobile, world governing body of racing. No half-safety may be tolerated here. Spectators should be barred outright from dangerous corners and curves. Grandstands should be set a safe distance back from the track, and amply protected by networks of Indianapolis-type protective steel cables. No trackside standing should be permitted; there is no conceivable way, short of opaque sheets of battleship steel, to protect close-up spectators.
The FIA has the power to order such worldwide standards and to enforce them by throwing out any racecourse failing to comply. It also has the power to take the Italian Grand Prix away from Monza for this year's failure to be more than half-safe in its protective measures and crowd control. It must take both steps, and quickly, or motor sport will soon have become its own executioner.
Baseball's most hallowed taboo holds that no one may mention a no-hitter while a pitcher is working on one. The argument was that the pitcher would become rattled and lose both no-hitter and game. For some time now Broadcasters Dizzy Dean and Pee Wee Reese have been campaigning against this taboo, but with little success. Now comes Ron Woods, pitcher for the Charleston ( S.C.) team in the South Atlantic League. The other night Woods walked to the mound in Greenville after pitching six innings of no-hit ball. A few scientifically minded fans, seeking to enlist the services of the taboo, began shouting "No hitter! No hitter!" Woods set the side down in order. In the seventh and eighth innings the shouts grew louder, and by the ninth practically everyone in the stands was trying to put the humbug on the young pitcher. Somehow Woods overcame the black magic, not only pitched a no-hitter but the first perfect game in the history of the league.
A PLACE FOR EVERYTHING
Last week two candidates for mayor of New York City got in touch with Yankee Stadium and inquired as to whether they could come to a night game and be introduced. The Yankee brass, to its ever-lasting credit, said that they would be more than welcome, but that the P.A. system would be busy with other matters.
A few days later still another of the bumper crop of mayoralty candidates just happened to be strolling through The Bronx when he came upon a group getting ready to play Irish football. He insisted upon throwing out the first ball, whereupon a player shouted in a thick brogue: "We don't want you! This park is for players, not politicians." We view these events as salutary.
NO HOOFS ACROSS THE SEA