The drive has been heightened in New Orleans to see which public official can dispense the most aimless, unsubstantiated flood of rhetoric. This week's titlist is Dave Dixon, the executive secretary of the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District. Dixon states that having a major league baseball franchise in New Orleans "would be a waste of time for the new stadium." He would prefer a modest little summer festival combining the best of: 1) Disneyland, 2) Expo 67, 3) the New York World's Fair, 4) pro football and 5) the Mardi Gras.
Digging deep into an old bag of clich�s to attack baseball, Dixon says: "In an election year, it will take real courage for a politician to recognize that baseball is a dying sport." Coming at a time when St. Louis has just completed a single home stand that itself attracted more than half a million fans, when attendance in the American League is at a record pace and when NBC has just paid $50 million for a new baseball contract, Dixon's statement is absolutely right—it would take wild courage for a politician to assume such a stance.
The biggest new act in Las Vegas is a 6'10", 212-pound, size-14-shoe heavyweight named Barrie McLellan. He comes from Liverpool, but he claims his mother is Jewish and his father is a Mexican named Alvarado. Let's bill him as The Ecumenical Hope.
Barrie is also a handsome young man, just 21, and when he is not gulping down a dozen cheeseburgers a day at the local eatery where he works as a dishwasher-busboy, he likes best of all to dance with "wee tiny" girls. He got to Vegas by hitchhiking from Houston, though he was detained in Boulder City by suspicious cops who just could not believe that a 6'10" heavyweight with a British accent could really be thumbing through Nevada.
McLellan is awkward, but he has won his first two Vegas fights by knockouts. He says he has never been knocked out in 100 amateur bouts and five or six pro fights all over England.
The British Boxing Board of Control has no record of McLellan, but he says maybe that is just because he fought mostly in "private" or unsanctioned shows. And he is not surprised that no one remembers him. Why should they, he asks. He was only 6'6" then.
Having been granted the injunction that bars Rick Barry from playing with the American Basketball Association Oakland Oaks this season, San Francisco Warrior Owner Franklin Mieuli has now pressed his advantage and filed a $4.5 million damage suit against the Oaks and Owner Pat Boone. The towering figure ("ridiculous," Boone says) was obviously selected with one eye on the possible shock value. Listing of 20,000 shares of Oaks' stock at $100 each had just been approved, and the massive suit put an immediate damper on stock sales. Several substantial Oakland stock prospects were willing to buy, but now they say they are "waiting."
So, too, is Barry—taking careful time to decide if he will play this season with the Warriors. It would be a terribly discomforting and difficult season if he did decide to join the Warriors, but it would be even worse, perhaps, if this marvelous and exciting athlete sat out a full season in the prime of his career.