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- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
As a publicity gag it probably was inevitable, but it was hard to top. The press and TV gathered at New York's Summit hotel last week to watch a mountain climber rappel down the sheer marble face of the building. To the publicity-conscious group of climbers that is heading for 20,000 foot Mount Koh-i-Marchek in Afghanistan, the 220-foot Summit on Lexington Avenue wasn't much of a challenge. The temperature at the peak was a balmy 80�, blizzards were unlikely and no base camp was needed, except the one in the Presidential Suite. Nonetheless, the venture fell flat when the New York police department intervened. Climbing on the Summit, it said, would be illegal on five counts under three laws: penal, health and labor. Furthermore, the police pointed out, the action was scheduled for lunchtime when peak crowds were on the sidewalks.
It's a good thing the Afghans are more sporting.
In the past three weeks the North American Soccer League staked its reputation and won. What reputation? All right, it didn't have much to lose, but by spending $160,000 to import the legendary Pel� and his team, Santos of Brazil, and then being fortunate enough to have two NASL teams defeat the world-class club, America's fledgling league has achieved recognition as something other than utterly minor.
Though Pel� is now past his prime, the Brazilian club had a 54-3 won-lost record for the year, which is a significant measure of its strength.
Santos won four of its exhibition games against NASL clubs—in St. Louis, Kansas City, Washington and Boston. But last week Cleveland edged the Brazilians 2-1 and, when a Santos goal was disallowed near the end of the game, a melee ensued. Pel� tried to take on all the officials and Santos players spat and threw dirt at the fans, which gave the spectators a good feel of gritty, big-time soccer competition.
The exhibition games have been such a success—drawing 109,882—that the NASL intends to schedule more of them during the regular season. The hope is that the games will carry NASL teams financially until the league games can generate the same level of interest.
The Fort Lauderdale Yankees of the Florida State League had 22 games rained out last month. In one stretch the team was rained out on eight consecutive days in four different cities.