Australians, never a notably placid people, turned flaming red and began spouting steam from their ears when their Gretel II was disqualified in that controversial second race of the America's Cup series. Americans, preoccupied with the pennant race in the National League East and the first games of the football season, may have wondered what the fuss was all about, but in Sydney and Melbourne and Brisbane and Adelaide and Perth the pubs were bouncing with ill-concealed fury. The Aussies disinterred, for conversational purposes, Les Darcy, the Australian wonder boxer who came to America to fight in 1917 and died in Tennessee, and Phar Lap, the Australian wonder horse who came to America to race in 1932 and died in California. The Sydney Daily Mirror asked, "When are the Americans going to stop nobbling our champions?" Another commentator wrote, "Everything the U.S. did for American-Australian good will in the Battle of the Coral Sea in 1942 was undone when the New York Yacht Club ruled out Australia's America's Cup win with a foul."
The Sydney Sun, more temperate, asked, "But what do we do? Send the [aircraft carrier] Melbourne? Withdraw from Vietnam? Confiscate the cost from General Motors' profits? Gretel won that race and gave Intrepid a shove start for good measure. But you can never beat the men who interpret the rule books."
When Gretel II came back to upset Intrepid, most Australian newspapers ran huge heads with just one word: GRETEL. And the Sydney Sun added in a most satisfying subhead: "Gretel's sweet revenge."
Charley Finley, owner of the Oakland Athletics, who pioneered green-and-gold uniforms and white shoes for his baseball players, suggested, after he had bought the National Hockey League's Oakland Seals, that he might put white skates on his hockey players. That suggestion was sternly rejected at the time by hockey authorities, but now, by golly, the staid old NHL has reversed itself. At least six of the 14 teams in the league will have brightly colored underpinnings this winter. The Detroit Red Wings will wear red skates, the Los Angeles Kings purple and gold, the Pittsburgh Penguins two-tone blue, the St. Louis Blues blue and gold and the Philadelphia Flyers orange and black. As for Charley Finley, never mind that placid white. His Seals expect to take the ice in the traditional Finley colors: kelly green and Fort Knox gold.
All right, now, what about those pucks? How about puce? Magenta? A lively psychedelic swirl?
BUCKS FOR THE BUCKS
Final returns on the Milwaukee Bucks' Lew Alcindor investment are in. The Wall Street Journal reports that for the fiscal year ending May 31, 1969—which means without Alcindor—Milwaukee Professional Sports & Services, Inc. reported a loss of $371,894. For the fiscal year ending May 31, 1970—with Alcindor—the Bucks reported a profit of more than half a million dollars. Before Looie, the Bucks were a last-place team with a record of 27 wins and 55 losses. With him, they won 56, lost 26 and made the NBA playoffs. Home attendance increased 50% to an average of 9,490 fans per game, and the Bucks had the best road attendance in the league. All this, and now Oscar Robertson, too.
RISING AND SETTING SUNS
Horse racing, very big in Japan, is apt to get even bigger or, at any rate, better. Japanese horsemen have been buying top bloodstock in Great Britain for the past few years and now have bought The Ridgewood Stud, one of the most modern stud farms in England. The aggressive Japanese have upset the British a bit, particularly in their purchase of Ridgewood. The previous owner, Mrs. Jennie Bolton, died a year ago at the age of 30, and proceeds of the sale are being held in trust for her 2-year-old son. The child's grandfather commented: "It is heartbreaking to see Ridgewood passing out of the family. The stud was bought by an agent on behalf of an unnamed client. I learned two days later that the client was Japanese. That came as a bit of a shock. Not that I have anything against them—but they do appear to be making plans to take us over."
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER
In its Adult Education Program this fall, Schreiber High School of Port Washington, N.Y. is offering a course called Football Togetherness which, according to the catalog, "is designed to help wives and mothers to survive the Fall football season. Whether you watch Little League, college or pro games, a knowledge of football basics can only add to your enjoyment of the crisp Fall air or smoke-filled TV room. Terminology (first down, defensive end, the difference between a block and a tackle) and fine points of play will be explained." Report to Room 10 Tuesday night, Oct. 6. Course costs $7.50 for five two-hour sessions. Pass it and maybe you can go on to more esoteric subjects like "Selected Pass Patterns" and "Advanced Blindside Blocking."