Nevada, the gambling state, is really unique. Last week Governor Paul Laxalt appointed Sammy Cohen, a bookmaker from Las Vegas, to the State Racing Commission.
Well, why not? Bookmaking is a legal occupation in Nevada, and who knows more about racing from a bettor's point of view than a bookie? Besides, Cohen has announced that none of the Las Vegas books will handle betting at the new local track when it opens next year.
Ken MacKenzie, Yale's baseball coach, was a major league pitcher for 661 days from 1960 through 1965, which left him 27 days short of the four years (baseball's years are shorter than ordinary years) he needed to be eligible to collect from the baseball players' pension fund. So this summer, after dismissing his Eli charges for the season, the 35-year-old MacKenzie, a Yale graduate himself, sat down and wrote letters to the five major league teams he had played with (Braves, Mets, Giants, Astros and Cardinals) and explained his plight. He also wrote to John McHale, president of the Montreal Expos. "He was with the Braves when I was with them," explains MacKenzie, "and I knew him pretty well."
Apparently, he did. McHale said he would be happy to have MacKenzie join the Expos after Sept. 1, when big league clubs are allowed to increase their rosters to 40 players. And now MacKenzie is an Expo—though he doesn't do anything except pitch batting practice—and by the end of the season he will have his 27 days. McHale also asked MacKenzie what sort of salary he expected. "I told him I didn't expect anything," MacKenzie says. "They're treating me like a ballplayer, and that's all I want."
The whole thing seems so right, somehow. Who else but an expansion club in its first year, a club doing dismally on the field and splendidly at the gate, one that excites wild and irrational loyalties, could have signed Yale's baseball coach to a player contract for nothing to do nothing?
It takes away the sting of the Mets' going legitimate.