RUMORS OF WAR
If you can believe what you read in the papers, we are now in the midst of what has been termed A Grid War. To date, however, it seems to have been chiefly fought with hot-air guns, and, far from the NFL and the AFL seriously bloodying one another, they have gotten a lot of ink (if it is still called that) in the middle of the baseball season, to their mutual advantage.
The first shot was fired by the New York Giants, who signed Pete Gogolak, Buffalo's famed soccer-style place-kicker, who had played out his option in the AFL, and was thereby a free agent. But there was supposed to be a "gentleman's agreement" among the owners of the rival leagues that they would not "tamper" with each other's players, free or indentured.
Since Gogolak's defection, there has been a lot of vague sniping from both sides. The Giants say that Greg Larson and Steve Thurlow were approached by the San Diego Chargers, and that Houston contacted Tucker Frederickson—but that one turned out to be a hoax. Then Alex Karras signed an unprecedented seven-year contract with Detroit (actually seven one-year contracts at more than $35,000 per annum, but the club can still drop him at the end of any year). Depending on the source, Karras had been solicited by George Wilson, coach of the AFL's Miami Dolphins, or had merely paid a social call on his old coach, or both. Coincidentally, the NFL may move its Runner-up Bowl out of Miami.
Long-term contracts are, of course, one way an owner and a gentleman can protect his property, and more power to the players that can command them. For some reason the players seem to have gotten the short end from the working press. Apparently they are supposed to abide by a gentleman's agreement not to try to better their lot. The chief concern of the press appears to be for the owners and The Fate of Football. We feel certain the pro football fans of America can sleep easy these nights. When they awake, both leagues will still be there. Perhaps the owners will be a trifle poorer, but then the players may be a little richer. It's good for the economy.
MORE GET LESS
There were those who did not believe that renaming the Los Angeles Angels the California Angels and moving them to Anaheim would sweeten the gate.
But how sweet it is! In their first 19 home dates at Anaheim Stadium the Angels have drawn 386,810 paid, compared to last year's 19-date total at Dodger Stadium of 186,719. And the Angels packed these mortals in playing second-division teams.
So what's the gimmick? One thing it isn't is the hot dogs. When the Angels left L.A. they changed concessionaires as well as their name. A 35� hot dog at Dodger Stadium was eight inches long and weighed five ounces. A 35� hot dog at Anaheim is four inches long and weighs three ounces.
WHERE THE ACTION ISN'T