THE CASE FOR KEEPING
"We see that we can corrupt and destroy our lands, our rivers, our forests and the atmosphere itself—all in the name of progress and necessity.... We see that there is another course.... Despite all of our wealth and knowledge, we cannot create a redwood forest, a wild river, or a gleaming seashore. But we can keep those we have."
Thus Lyndon Johnson to Congress last week in a special message on conservation. Ever the Southwesterner appreciative of water, the President emphasized the noxious condition of our rivers. "Every river system in America [suffers] some degree of pollution," he somberly admitted, then proposed a massive program to free "all of America's rivers"—repeat, all—from pollution. He proposed the creation of eight new national recreation areas, support of hiking trails, preservation of historic sites and passage of the Wild Rivers bill. A badly located and undersized Redwood National Park mars the program; otherwise, the President took the words right out of our mouth.
There they are, Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale, teamed up to ask the Dodgers for equal three-year contracts totaling $1 million, or $166,000 apiece per year. General Manager Buzzie Bavasi refuses to listen to their demands. "There are 38 other players on this club that are just as important to me," Bavasi says. Walter O'Malley coyly adds, "I wish the boys well. They are entitled to get everything they can get out of Buzzie. Their problem is what Buzzie can get out of me."
What are K&D really worth to the Dodgers? In terms of standings, the Dodgers are world champs with them, second-division bums without them and their 49 wins. A second-division finish means at least a 300,000 attendance drop, and at $4.50 per fan that is a loss of $1.35 million. What's more, Koufax draws an extra 10,000 fans when he pitches, and he starts 20 times at home. So there is another $900,000, making the total loss $2.25 million, not counting road receipts.
Walter, give Buzzie the money.
PLAYING IT COOL?
Do pro football players want to join the Teamsters Union? Tackle Bob St. Clair, recently retired from the 49ers, says yes. "It's unfair to ask players what they think of joining," St. Clair says. "They know management wouldn't approve of the Teamsters, so they play it cool and tell reporters everything is fine the way it is. The union would be invaluable when it comes to pensions. And it would give disabled players better protection. Pro football has never taken care of the cripples, those guys who go around with trick knees and pulled tendons. Look at me. I suffered torn Achilles tendons in both heels. I must be 25% disabled. All I'll get is a pension when I reach 65. If we had a union, I'm sure disabled guys like me would be getting compensation."
Football Coach Dave Nelson of Delaware is one of the superior strategists of the college game. Other coaches seek him out the way market investors used to sidle up to Bernard Baruch. Nelson, secretary of the NCAA Football Rules Committee, would like to restore excitement to the punt return. He says fans rarely get a boot out of a return nowadays, because of the way a kicking team lines up in a spread so players can rip downfield to cover the ball. Moreover, the receiving team will not field a punt headed for the end zone, preferring a safe touchback and possession on the 20. "This," says Nelson, "is a nothing maneuver that puts people to sleep."