But a fraction of a second is not enough to spoil our dream of a race between Speedy Scot and Overtrick. They are about as even in speed potential as horses can be, and we are already letting our thoughts roam over niceties of position and strategy: the advantage of having the rail, whether there would be an all-out sprint from the gate or whether Drivers Ralph Baldwin and Johnny Patterson would play it cool for three-quarters, then put on a save-the-fortress charge. Such a contest need not be just a dream. We warmly recommend that it be made possible.
WHAT'S GOOD FOR FLORIDA
Although jai alai exists handsomely in Florida, it is played nowhere else in the U.S. The Basque game—something like handball except that the players use a long, curved basket called a cesta to carom a hard ball off three concrete walls—is nothing much to watch, for all its speed, unless you have a bet down. It has been tried without legalized gambling in cities like New York, Chicago and Boston, drew curious crowds briefly, and expired.
Now a new crusader, Jack I. Goldner, a Manhattan dress manufacturer, has formed the Knickerbocker Jai-Lai Fronton Corporation and, after misspelling the name of the game, is seeking to win for it the same gambling privileges horse racing enjoys. It will, he asserted at a preliminary meeting, be a tourist attraction, a new industry and a new source of revenue. There are six jai alai frontons (arenas) in Florida, he said. Last season they drew well over 1 million bettors who wagered $41 million, of which the state, claiming better than 5% of the action, got some $2 million. Translating Florida figures into a hypothetical New York situation, Goldner concluded that the state would realize a gorgeous $24 million in extra revenue, something New York politicians have been looking for most eagerly of late.
There will, to be sure, be opposition from the horse racing interests, who want the pari-mutuels all to themselves, but Goldner is confident that no politician can pass up the kind of money he is dangling.
LOSER, SPARE THOSE SPARERIBS!
Norm Gerdeman, Houston Colt steward, and his wife Evelyn pride themselves on setting a fine table for visiting ball clubs. Instead of crackers and peanut butter, they provide such delicacies as barbecued spareribs, gravied chicken, corn, cucumbers, cantaloupe and other delights ballplayers make for avidly, win or lose, after a game. The players appreciate the succulent stuff, but losing managers do not.
After the Cincinnati Reds lost to the Colt .45s, Manager Fred Hutchinson watched his hungry players forget their loss and rush from the field to the victuals. "Run, you—— —— ——," he shouted, "run! That's all you think about, getting your bellies full." The players kept on running.
Then Gene Mauch, Phillie manager, watched in disgust as his team lost in the ninth inning to the Colts, a game that could have kept them in fourth place and maintained hopes of a share of World Series money if they had been as eager for hits as they were for spareribs. When Mauch found the team munching on the Gerdeman goodies, he rushed to the table, upturned it and sent spare-ribs and chicken with gravy over walls and ceiling and onto the expensive suits of Wes Covington and Tony Gonzalez. "Little Leaguers!" he called the players, among less decorous epithets.
The Gerdemans, contemplating the mess, sighed that it was bound to happen sooner or later, but they may have to go to stainless food if it keeps up.