On the computerized All-Star Game voting: "The basic idea is good. It has heightened interest in the All-Star Game, but the write-ins have not yet vindicated the system."
On Jim Bouton and his book: "I told him it was a poor thing for him to write. It was inconsistent with his standard of playing. It is not proper for one in baseball to criticize baseball. In the entertainment business, it is not in the best interest to criticize the quality of the product."
On reaction to his Denny McLain decision: "We count no mail. The letters fit into three categories—those who agree, those who thought the penalty was too harsh and those who thought the penalty was too lenient."
On beanballs: "We're continuing to study equipment for additional protection and are giving serious consideration to proposals to avoid knockdown pitches."
On beanballs, Commissioner Kuhn would do well to listen to Frank Lane. Come to think of it, it's hard not to listen to Frank Lane. The voluble onetime Chicago White Sox general manager, now the so-called superscout for the Baltimore Orioles, says in his cautious, equivocating way: "Certainly it's possible to get rid of the beanball. Why risk lives in something that is supposed to be a non-contact sport? I've got a rule I've been advocating for 15 years, but so far I haven't been able to get our commissioners to pay attention to me. I suggested that if a batter is hit on the head by a pitched ball, the pitcher should be fined $1,000 and suspended for 10 days and his manager should be fined $500 and suspended for three days."
Lane says he has written Kuhn about the proposal and hopes to receive more satisfaction than he did from Kuhn's predecessor, General William Eckert. "I had to send Eckert two letters before he answered," Lane says, "and when he did he said he didn't think the pitchers were throwing at the hitters intentionally. Intent has nothing to do with it. Besides, you can't read a pitcher's mind. You can't ask an umpire to take on a job that's almost impossible. With this rule, if a batter is hit above the shoulders the fine and suspensions are automatic. If a manager knows he is going to lose his pitcher for a couple of turns and be suspended himself, he's a lot less likely to give the order for a knockdown pitch."
SMALL CHEERFUL NOTE
Another gleam of hope in the gloomy state of the natural world is the news that eight cahows hatched this year, one more than last year. The cahow, or Bermuda petrel, is one of the rarest birds in the world, with perhaps 75 individuals having survived a number of unnatural threats, most recently DDT (SI, Nov. 4, 1968 et seq.).
Naturalist David Wingate, who has almost singlehandedly protected and, probably, saved the species, reported that four of the chicks had already departed from their nesting grounds on islets off Bermuda. However, the four remaining seemed to be in trouble because of inadequate feeding: apparently the mother birds were not finding sufficient food on the ocean and were visiting the nests less often, so the chicks' development was arrested.