A LITTLE EDUCATION
One major league manager last summer took copies of the hitting articles by Ted Williams that appeared in this magazine (SI, June 10, 1968 et seq.) and distributed them to his players as required reading. Naturally, the manager was Jim Lemon, who this winter lost his job as manager of the Washington Senators to Williams. Unbitter, Lemon still insists, "Those were the best pieces ever written about hitting. I don't feel so bad, knowing that Ted Williams replaced me."
Jerry Colangelo, general manager of the Phoenix Suns of the NBA, is making a month-long promotion out of the forthcoming Lew Alcindor coin flip. Phoenix, which is certain to finish last in the Western Division, will toss with the last-place Eastern team, probably Milwaukee, to determine which team gets first pick in the NBA draft. The winner will select Alcindor, of course, and then engage the ABA in a contract-waving contest.
The big question right now in Arizona is: if the Suns call, should they say heads or tails? Since this obviously is too profound a decision to be left to a spur-of-the-moment brain wave, the Suns are polling spectators at their remaining games.
"We'll go by what the majority decides," says Colangelo. Further, a drawing will be held to select a fan to travel to the coin-tossing ceremony. "If we get to make the call," declares Colangelo, "our fans will be a real part of the biggest coin flip in sports history."
And if the Suns lose the toss, the representative fan probably will have to walk home.
A report from Germany says that the chief of the future Olympic press center in Munich has what he thinks is a marvelous idea. He is tired of this new Olympic habit—only one Olympics old, to be sure—of having a pretty girl run into the stadium with the Olympic torch at the opening ceremonies. What he would like to do is combine the marathon and the opening ceremonies: instead of being the last event of the track and field program, the marathon would be the first. As the lead runner neared the stadium toward the end of the 26-mile 385-yard grind, he would be handed the torch! What a sight, what significance: the winner of the most treasured gold medal in the Games carrying his torch past the cheering thousands!
Unhappily, a couple of nagging doubts keep cropping up. A prize tour de force at the opening ceremonies has been the smooth, driving, unhesitating sprint by the torchbearer up the steep stairway that climbs from the track to the very topmost part of the stadium. There, hardly puffing, he—or she—plunges the torch into the cauldron, which stays lighted for the duration of the Games. Somehow we can't envisage a man who has just run 26 miles, 385 yards dashing up that stairway with �lan.
And another point. Suppose the marathon develops into a stretch duel, with two—or even three or four—men fighting for the lead as they approach and enter the stadium? Does this mean that when a man wrests the lead away from an opponent, he must wrest the torch away, too?