Normally up to its ears in complacency, organized baseball last week took notice of games dragged out to unconscionable length and actually did something about them. It altered the strike zone. Since the rule was last changed in 1950, batters have stood head and shoulders above the strike area. Now this zone takes in the shoulders and goes to the knees. A larger target should enable pitchers to retire batters a little more easily and this, in turn, should speed up the game. There will be confusion on interpretation of the law and there will be test cases involving players trying such gimmicks as deep crouches and stooping.
Still, baseball has heeded the cry of the fan to cut the length of the games. We extend our compliments to baseball's beleaguered big leaguers.
Doreen Porter is not only New Zealand's champion woman sprinter, she is also its prettiest athlete, pretty enough to work as a model. That is why, apparently, she will not compete in the Los Angeles Times Indoor Games February 9.
Originally Peter Snell and a manager were invited to make the trip. Then someone had the wit to recognize that Doreen is prettier than any manager and runs better, too. So the manager's invitation was canceled and Doreen was invited, there being funds for the expenses of only two New Zealanders.
That is when the New Zealand AAA turned prissy. Doreen could not go without a chaperone, the AAA ruled.
FAREWELL TO THE BANDITS?
Wade Walker, Mississippi State athletic director and chairman of the Southeastern Conference officials committee, announced the other day: "The new NCAA football substitution rule has killed the three-team system." The Chinese Bandits, as glamorized by Paul Dietzel at LSU and Army, are dead, he said, and so are Florida's Go-Gators.
Walker's pronouncement came after a meeting in Atlanta of Southeastern Conference football coaches, all of whom agreed with his judgment. The new rule allows only two wild-card substitutions on downs on which the ball changes hands and on the fourth down, and it requires a time-out for substitutions on second and third downs.