The best players do not want to play in France anymore because the purse is low, the French promoters have been consistently rude to professionals, the tournament drags on for two weeks and the matches—on clay, best of five sets, no tie breakers—are more grueling than elsewhere. Also, the French championships (as well as Wimbledon and Forest Hills) are not included in World Championship Tennis' 20-tournament schedule, where the 32 WCT pros pick up points in an attempt to qualify for a $100,000 November playoff.
Already one of the world's top players has said he probably won't bother to enter the two-week Forest Hills grind, either, and for much the same reasons. Money has taken over tennis in a rush. Before long it will be Wimbledon and 51 Tucson Clay-Court Opens.
A survey of graduates of the University of Pittsburgh business school concludes that men over 6 feet make about 10% more in starting salary than those under 6 feet. The disparity is increasing too; in 1967 tall men started off only 4% ahead of the little fellows. Last year the tallest graduate surveyed had the lowest grades but drew the highest salary. For all those little people who always must ask: the weather has never been better up there.
GATOR AID AND GUM SHY
Science marches on, sometimes forward. In an effort to stop poachers, a team of experts at the University of Florida has perfected a way of identifying alligator skins by means of belly prints. Says Dr. George Cornwell, a professor in wildlife ecology, "We've gone to a number of fingerprint experts, and they think it's foolproof. All prior methods of marking have failed. The usual tattooing and marking techniques either come off or can be forged." Hopefully, the method, whereby gator bellies may be photographed and computerized just like the whorls on human fingers, will cut down considerably on poaching of hides and help establish a multimillion-dollar legitimate alligator farming industry in Florida.
A more dubious technological gift to the sporting world is a so-called "audiodontic" device that will allow people—such as quarterbacks—to receive radio messages through their teeth. The thought that Paul Brown will turn to messenger molars instead of messenger guards is frightful to contemplate. Envision a Cincinnati Bengal scouting report: "Prospect is 6'2", 245, with top lateral speed, five fillings, two caps and one sweet tooth that could even pick up the spotter in the press box."
Remember when the Yankees used to shuttle players to the Kansas City A's as if they were a farm team? The same cozy thing has been going on between the Montreal Canadiens and the expansion Minnesota North Stars since the Stars were granted a franchise in 1967. Thirty-three players have been dealt between the two teams. Besides, Montreal gained rights to Minnesota's first draft choices in 1969, 1970, 1971, and it has the 1972 choice in hand. When Claude LaRose went from the Canadiens to the North Stars and became a genuine West Division All-Star, Minnesota then politely returned him to the Canadiens—much as the A's did in the famous Ralph Terry case.
The analogy does not run deep, though. Whereas the Yankees strip-mined the A's in exchange for players of little or no value, Minnesota has judiciously selected the right Montreal leftovers and used them to build the strongest expansion franchise. Wren Blair, the Minnesota general manager, is not the least bit embarrassed at his dependence on Montreal, and the wholesale trading between the two teams can be expected to continue in the future. Blair says that Sam Pollock, the Montreal general manager, usually calls him when a third club is bidding for one of Montreal's players. If Minnesota wants that player, Pollock offers the Stars an opportunity to come up with a better deal.