SURFEIT OF RICHES
A devoted follower of sport, still feeling the afterglow of the pennant races, the playoffs and the World Series, up to his giddy eyes in college football on Saturdays and pro football on Sundays, overwhelmed by the beginning of the hockey and pro basketball seasons, and all too aware that college basketball is right there in the wings, waiting to go on, has suggested in the interest of a sane and rational approach to things that there be a one-month moratorium in sport. Just one month—during which there would be no baseball, no football, no basketball, no hockey, no sport pages, nothing.
Members of the staff of this magazine like the idea. They say a month's vacation would give them a chance to get caught up on their golf, touch football, Softball, jogging, bowling, billiards, driveway basketball, hunting, sailing, canoeing, swimming, surfing, fishing or just sitting around looking at nothing in particular for a while.
Then bring on your Rosebowlsuper-bowlholidaytournamentlosangelesopen-millrosegamesNITdivisionalplay-offstanleycupNCAAspringtrainingmas-terstournament. We'll be ready.
We'll be ready anyway.
A few days after Billy Martin was fired as manager of the Minnesota Twins, the Theo. Hamm Brewing Company announced that it would no longer sponsor radio and TV broadcasts of Twin games. There was an immediate and widespread assumption that the startling announcement (Hamm's had sponsored Twin games since 1961, the year the ball club began in Minnesota) was a reaction to the Martin firing. Irate fans had been urging the brewery to drop the Twins, and after the word came out the company switchboard lit up with congratulatory calls.
But Hamm's insisted that its decision was a long-range one and had no relation whatever to Martin's ouster. The brewery said that it also sponsored the Minnesota North Stars (hockey), the Detroit Lions (football) and Oakland Athletics (baseball), and that it was trying to achieve a greater flexibility in its advertising budget—it wanted to use a wider range of advertising media, like radio and TV spot commercials, billboards, magazines. In short, it no longer wanted to tie up more than half a million dollars a year in one market with one audience.
That seemed reasonable enough, but there appeared to be another reason for the cancellation—and this one was not stressed, even though it could be of great importance to baseball. Hamm's implied that surveys showed the sport was not reaching enough of the young beer-drinking adults whom brewers consider a prime market. Yet the recent upsurge of interest in baseball—look at the Red Sox and the Mets, for example—is to a certain extent a youth movement. The surveys may be wrong, but the onus of proof is on baseball.