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June 10, 1968
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June 10, 1968


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No city has been so often tantalized—nor so frequently disappointed—by sports expansion as the Queen City of the Lakes, Buffalo, which last week lost out once again. Buffalo representatives figured they were a cinch for one of the two new National League baseball franchises, along with San Diego, but Montreal turned out to be the dark horse, even though League President Warren Giles was not aware of who backed the Canadian entry. "I don't know their names," he admitted blandly. It was all very reminiscent of the recent National Hockey League expansion when St. Louis won a franchise over Buffalo even though it was not represented at the meeting.

Buffalo has had two major league entries. One was in Branch Rickey's aborted Continental Baseball League, a venture that ranks with Romney for President. Buffalo does still have the AFL Bills, but they arc owned by Ralph Wilson of Detroit. The city wants desperately to keep the Bills, though, so sentiment remains high to go ahead and build a new stadium. It is unlikely now, however, that the proposed $50 million domed stadium will be constructed. Bloodied but unbowed, civic leaders have themselves just switched battle plans and are now already on the prowl, searching for an existing baseball club that looks itchy enough to think about moving.

Buffalo may take some consolation from the harsh economic realities of modern sports peregrination. The new Kansas City Royals and the Seattle Pilots each forked up $5,350,OOO to enter the American League. The Nationals socked it to Montreal and San Diego for $10 million apiece. Already Royals Owner Ewing Kauffman, the drug moneyaire, can be thankful he got in cheap; he has found player-development costs to be so excessive that a $10 million initiation fee would have disrupted his budget to the point that the Royals would have been unable to instigate proper farm and scouting programs. In the unwieldy 12-club, one-division setup that the Nationals are foolishly planning, it may be many, many years before the new teams can achieve parity.


A decade ago, at a time when every college kid absolutely had to wear a crew cut, when the only concern students felt was how to duplicate the norm in every thought and appearance, Gordon Batcheller, an All-Ivy League football tackle, was genuinely his own man. "He wears his hair long and roams the [ Princeton] campus dressed in a black leather jacket and a pair of black leather boots," SPORTS ILLUSTRATED noted (Nov. 30, 1959). Those who, then as now, immediately dismiss any young man in shaggy hair as an amoral, un-American instrument of anarchy, nihilism and the devil, regarded Batcheller with scorn. "They call me a hood," he said.

On January 31, in courageous action outside of Hu�, career Marine Captain Batcheller, head shaven, in combat issue, was wounded three times. One bullet shattered his thigh. He is now at the military hospital in Quantico, Va. in a body-length cast, facing hospitalization up to a year. When wounded he was, for those who give relevance to such detail, growing a large, bushy mustache.


It is fiddlehead season up North, and now, just like other big-time vegetables, fiddleheads even have their own festival. It was held for the second straight year the other weekend on Savage Island in the St. John River in New Brunswick, and fiddlehead fans made it to the ceremonies on a barge that was passed off as a ferry. Among those in attendance were descendants of the Malecite Indians, who had first harvested fiddleheads three centuries ago. The Fiddlehead Festival featured sports, storytelling, Indian dancing and the crowning of the 1968 fiddlehead princess, but the highlight was a dinner of roast beef and, of course, fiddleheads.

Everybody is getting on the fiddlehead bandwagon, it seems. Fiddleheads are on the verge of becoming the first chichi vegetable since broccoli was so In it was even featured in versions of Cole Porter's You're the Top, along with a symphony by Strauss and Mickey Mouse.

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