The Cincinnati Reds are only minutes away from the National League pennant, but a few diehards, notably the New York Yankees, are still rooting for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Is the reason tradition or the joy of East defeating West? Not at all. The reason is money.
In a Yankee-Dodger World Series the winning players would receive about $16,000 each, while the losers would get $9,000—thanks to that vast, 92,500-seat cavern, the L.A. Coliseum. Crosley Field in Cincinnati, by contrast, seats only 30,274. Thus, a Yankee-Red Series would mean only $11,000 to the winners and $6,000 to the losers.
Players on teams finishing second, third and fourth in each league also would feel the squeeze. If the Dodgers played the Yankees, runners-up would get $2,800, $1,200 and $715 each. With a Yankee-Red Series, however, they would get only $1,900, $875 and $600. Some weeks you just can't lay up a nickel.
The Government of the U.S. got badly burned when it tried to legislate drinking out of existence. Undaunted (or forgetful), Congress passed and last week President Kennedy signed bills aimed at curbing gambling in interstate commerce.
Under these new laws, you can be imprisoned for five years for carrying or sending across state lines records, ticket slips or other data used in bookmaking, the numbers game or sports wagering pools. Also, you can lose your telephone if it is used for bookmaking or other gambling.
One odd feature is that a person who furnishes a betting line on a baseball game, football game or fight goes to jail if he is giving the line to bookies—but he has a right to pass it along to coaches or similar athletic officials! Loopholes like this could make bootleggers—or lineleggers—out of collegians.
For 13 long, raucous years, the American public circumvented an attempt to protect it from itself. The public will do so again, especially if it is made easy. Legislation against gambling excesses is laudable. But first it has to be well thought out. Above all it should be workable.
The late Bert Williams used to sing in revues: