NOT WITH A NIBBLE BUT A GULP
Now who is it who wants to shorten the baseball season, expand the leagues, have interleague play and divisional playoffs? Bill Veeck? Wrong. Some big macher in TV-land? Wrong. Those highflying Baltimore Orioles? Right.
"The season is too long," says Jerry Hoffberger, the Orioles' owner. "It should start later, but not be extended into October as some have suggested. The reason for a late start is valid—poor weather, causing postponements that result in doubleheaders or single games on what were supposed to be rest dates. But a later date without a shorter season isn't worth a hoot."
"It's difficult to maintain interest in baseball over such a long season," says Frank Cashen, the Orioles' executive vice-president. "There is so much for people to do in this day and age. We could easily cut out one game for every team series. We could even cut two games a series, which would reduce the schedule by 18 games."
Cashen believes that much of the attendance lost by eliminating games would be made up by more fans attending the remaining ones. And the Orioles could save a lot of money by not opening the park as frequently—one of the club's biggest expenses.
"The trouble with baseball," Hoffberger concludes, "is that it has nibbled away at its hindquarters but never taken a big bite of the future and tried to digest it. We've got to get away from this traditionalism to some degree. Take the things you know must come—shorter season, additional expansion, interleague play, divisional playoffs at the end of the season—then do them all at once."
WHAT A JUMP!
The event at which public relations people excel is not, as is popularly assumed, the flight of fancy; it is the jump to conclusions.
We are in receipt of a press release from the Illinois Racing Board, which we reprint below, and we congratulate the anonymous press agent who composed it on setting a world record in the jump.
"Francis Crosby, director of the Illinois Bureau of Racetrack Police of the Illinois Racing Board," the handout goes, "proposes as his No. 1 candidate for 'louse of the year' the young man who lifted the wallet of a 92-year-old man at Cahokia Downs racetrack in East St. Louis the other night.