Now the Houston Astros, not content to have the game's first domed stadium, are working on a scoreboard to surpass them all. Weighing 300 tons, it will be four stories high and cost $2 million. Six technicians and a producer—yes, a producer—will operate it. Here is what will happen when a Houston batter hits a home run:
A lighted reproduction of the domed stadium will appear on the board, with sound effects and flashing lights. A ball will travel across the top of the board while fireworks explode and skyrockets soar. Two cowboys, firing six-shooters, will enter, followed by two gigantic steers snorting fire. A cowboy will ride in and lasso one of the steers' horns. For the finale: a skyrocket display.
Babe Ruth, you were born far too soon.
With only three holes to play in the National Football League golf tournament in Hollywood Beach, Fla., Green Bay Defensive Back Jesse Whittenton had a five-stroke lead on the field. A broken-nosed, slow-swinging West Texan from Big Spring, he was staying well ahead of his closest competitor—San Francisco 49er Quarterback John Brodie, a former touring golf pro. The winner's prize, a new blue Ford Mustang, was parked behind the 18th green, where Whittenton's wife had eyed it hopefully. Then on the 16th tee, the needle went in.
"See those trees on the right, Jesse? Watch out for those trees," said Brodie. "Hey, Jesse, here's where things start happening on your backswing," yelled another player from the gallery. With all that in mind, Whittenton hit the ball into the trees and lost two shots to Brodie's par. On the 17th Whittenton hit into the trees again, made a double-bogey to Brodie's birdie and they came into 18 even. Several NFL players pointedly clutched their throats and gargled like turkeys. "Let's get this over with," growled Whittenton, and made a fine trap shot but left his 10-foot putt on the lip of the cup. Brodie's final par won the tournament, and the blue Mustang, by one stroke. "Never mind, honey," Mrs. Whittenton said tearfully, "that car wasn't our color anyway."
Then, in an ironic aftermath, Brodie had to decline the car to keep his USGA status as a reinstated amateur, and the NFL had to revise its prize list. Looks as if Whittenton won the Mustang.
Bengt Soderstrom did not win the 2,500-mile Royal Automobile Club Rally of Great Britain. Running fifth in his British Ford Cortina over icy forest roads, Soderstrom was some 500 miles from the finish and low on fuel when his gearbox broke down, leaving only reverse gear in operation. No special problem there. He turned the car and raced onward 20 miles in reverse to a refueling point, and another 17 miles to the Ford repair station. Though only 89 of the 158 entries finished the four-day event, Soderstrom came in an admirable fifth, just as good coming as going.
During his three-year career with the New York Mets, Pitcher Craig Anderson contributed not a little to their legend by winning three games and losing 20, the last 19 of them in a row. It was a period in which he was deeply involved with the Syntax, semantics and double-speak of his manager, Casey Stengel.