[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]
FLY THEM PROUDLY
The United States Power Squadrons, an organization half a century old for people who own powerboats, deserves commendation for a number of things. One is its boat-safety program, a second is its nationwide free boating courses (for information call 800-243-6000, toll-free) and a third is its burgees. A burgee is the little pennant boats fly as identification, and the USPS has 372 of them registered, one for each of 372 different power squadrons scattered around the country and even abroad. Many of the burgees have a classic nautical simplicity, but some have the free-swinging imagination of a Welsh-rabbit nightmare. Akron, for instance, has a blimp floating on a ship's wheel. Beaumont shows an oil derrick and Cape Canaveral displays a space station and a spaceship floating in a blue void high above a tiny Earth. Some are literal to an extreme: Key West has a key superimposed on a W, Lansing a lance (oh, dear), Baton Rouge a red stick and Calumet a peace pipe. Wonder winners are Great Neck and Little Neck Bay; the former features a giraffe and the latter a bird with a thin, eentsy-beentsy strip between head and body. Prize of prizes is Banana River Power Squadron, whose burgee shows—honest to God—a yellow banana on a blue and white field.
A year ago Organized Baseball had a couple of minor leagues experiment with the concept of a "designated pinch hitter," a nonfielding batter whose only function was to hit for the pitcher (who remained in the game) each time that weak-hitting worthy was duo to bat. Results were said to be inconclusive—baseball is "studying" them—and this year the experiment was shelved. However, one place where the pinch hitter idea seemed to pay off last year was in Omaha, where Steve Boros of the Royals hit .319 with 10 RBIs, Bo Osborne hit .294 with 16 RBIs and the entire DPH contingent batted .277, quite a respectable figure these days. The Royals, perhaps coincidentally, won the pennant. This summer, with the DPH a thing of the past, Omaha's pitchers had a combined average in August of only .149 and had batted in barely half the runs that Boros and Osborne had, and the club (it could still be a coincidence) was languishing in third place in the league's four-team Eastern Division.
Two of Omaha's nonhitting pitchers were unabashed by all this. Monty Montgomery, who was batting a splendid .057, said, "Heck, I'm not doing too badly. One game I was up four straight times without striking out once." Mike Hedlund, who was hitting .105 and once struck out 13 times in succession, is against a return of the designated pinch-hitter rule. He says, "I think it adds more excitement to the game for the fans to see me mess up at the plate."
A Canadian named Raymond Hull is writing a book called Man's Best Fiend which documents all the bad things he could find about dogs—child-killing packs, cowardice, diseases they carry—and even includes a chapter on how to cook and eat them. Hull, who admits he does not love dogs and has never owned one, claims he does not hate them, either, and has even joined the antivivisection movement. He says, "I just want to be the first author to tell the truth about them."