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- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
Packed into Madison Square Garden last Sunday afternoon was a huge, seething collection of summer street people—young Latins in white, short-sleeved shirts, long-haired European types in bell-bottoms, Spanish-speaking mothers with a baby in each arm. A fat man in iridescent blue, originally from Ecuador, stood up and roared, "Bra-sil!" A cop sharply blew his whistle and yelled, "Siddown." Yellow-shirted ushers rushed from row to row chasing fans from seats they didn't belong in. All were there to watch the closed-circuit satellite showing of the England- Brazil World Cup soccer game in Mexico. When Brazil's Jair Filho Ventura scored the only goal of the game, a group of frenzied West Indians tore off their shirts with joy.
Elsewhere, much the same scenes occurred. The general manager of the Maurice Richard Arena in Montreal was startled to find he had to turn away 1,000 people after filling to 5,200 capacity. In the San Francisco Cow Palace, a mainly Latin crowd of 10,000 let out a war whoop when Brazil scored, and in Detroit spectators leaving the Masonic Temple auditorium watched a tooting caravan of cars pull away with Brazilian flags flying.
To most Americans, soccer is an unimportant game. To the rest of the world it is the game, with the World Cup the grand climax. Indeed, by the time play ends in Mexico, an estimated one billion people will have watched it, including those delirious fans in the U.S. and Canada last Sunday.
NO BLUES IS GOOD NEWS
In Washington for a game against the Senators, Manager Charlie Metro of the Kansas City Royals saw something unsettling: a TV camera and cameraman in the deep center-field mezzanine boxes in Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium. The camera was not there for the game telecast, and Metro did not believe it was there to help the Senators analyze their batting problems on film the next day. No siree, Metro charged the camera was there to steal the signs of the Kansas City catcher. "I've seen quite a few things in my time," he says, "and I make it a practice when I come to a ball park to look around and check things out. I had no idea Washington was using a camera. I just was looking around and saw it." Metro protested the game early, but his protest became moot after Kansas City won.
Metro, who says that other spy cameras are being used in the majors, has asked American League President Joe Cronin for a ruling. "They had one in Chicago when I was with the Cubs," Metro admits. "It was a closed-circuit camera, and its receiver was kept in a little room behind the Cub dugout that was always locked until the game started. The picture was so clear you could see the cuticle on the catcher's fingernails." Metro claims that he had the camera removed when he became head coach. "I didn't like the device," he says, "and besides, our batters were so poor they couldn't hit the ball even if they knew it was coming. Once when we were using the camera against the Cards, they beat us a doubleheader, 9-0 and 11-0."
THE WAY TO AMERICA'S CUP