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February 18, 1963
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February 18, 1963


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?Batters are viewing with some apprehension and pitchers with jubilation the new starting time for Kansas City Athletic night home games, 7 p.m. on week nights and 6 p.m. on Saturdays. Even with lights, twilight shadows make it extremely difficult to follow a pitch at those hours.

? Adolph Rupp, master of basketball at Kentucky, has scorned the zone defense for 32 years, but intricate new shuffle offenses have been giving his team trouble. Now Rupp has Kentucky's freshman "team using the zone defense. Look for Rupp's varsity to try the zone against some teams next season.


New York's Governor Nelson Rockefeller, struggling to reconcile a campaign promise not to raise taxes with the state's apparent need for more revenue, has come up with a proposal to increase the harness racing season by 26 days, from Feb. 25 to December 7, and to have 10 races a night, instead of nine.

Offhand, one would think that more racing means more sport, and if it did just that we'd be all for it. The governor's proposal, however, would diminish the quality of harness racing. For years horsemen have complained that they lack sufficient time during winter months to teach young horses to trot and pace. It takes longer to accustom a Standard-bred to a gait and a sulky than it does to teach a Thoroughbred to run. Extending the season would further reduce training time. There is, besides, a shortage of horses in New York state and, as one track official observed, it is hard enough now to put together nine good races a night, let alone 10.

There have been reports that the Albany politicians also would like to extend the flat racing season, but apparently the New York Racing Association, unlike those who run the trots, is strong enough to argue with Albany. If an increase in racing days gives more people the opportunity to enjoy racing (as in the establishment of the new tracks, Finger Lakes and Liberty Bell), the governor's idea is good. If horsemen need more races for their stock, as at Santa Anita and Hollywood Park, an increase is necessary. But if a state forces tracks to extend seasons solely for revenue and to the detriment of racing, the action is unconscionable.


The millions who get their spectator sport kicks from television, thus avoiding traffic jams, fresh air, the stadium hot dog and like disagreeables, are doing very well in 1963, especially on weekends. In 1958 you could see only two hours of network-distributed sport on a Sunday, and that included an hour and a half of roller derby. In 1963 there are 3� hours of Sunday sport and on Saturday there are 7� hours, for a grand total of 11 weekend hours in which a sedentary person may vicariously ski in Europe, race at Monte Carlo, ride in a rodeo, fight a bull or beat Arnold Palmer at golf.

Quality has improved, too. One of the best of the new shows is NBC's series, Sports International, with Bud Palmer as interlocutor. A couple of weeks ago the series showed an informative and engrossing study of the bullfight, its colorful history and traditions. Other shows will be about big-game fishing, mountain climbing, the sports of Japan and Thailand, automobile racing, and will even cover athletic events behind the Iron Curtain, during which a sharp look at troika racing will be taken.

Some observers feel that the rise of successful Eastern Hockey League franchises in such unlikely locales as Charlotte, Greensboro, Knoxville and Nashville (with Jacksonville and Jackson pending) means that hockey is invading the South. Not so. The South is invading hockey, shaping the game in its own image. Hockey in the North has generally been a Spartan sport, but to southern promoters "icing" means pageantry between periods. In at least one city these gentlemen, reluctant to leave cash customers popping their knuckles during a half hour of intermission, have induced local belles to venture onto the ice. Skate-shod, Confederate-clad and wobbly-legged, the ladies draw cheers on appearance, but the appreciation is most fervent when they bring the Stars and Bars out to center ice. What happens when the Rebel yells have died down? The band plays Dixie.

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