When the horses aren't running, and that is for most of the year, a racetrack is a piece of property going to waste. But Golden Gate Fields near San Francisco already has an infield golf course of nine holes, mostly par-3s, and now is adding 10 tennis courts, to be opened for the Golden Gate Pacific Coast Tennis Classic Sept. 18, when women pros will compete for $20,000 one week and men pros for $34,000 the next.
When that is over, Dennis Van der Meer will conduct tennis classes and rent courts to all comers. Then, when racing returns, nine courts will become parking lots on Saturdays and holidays. Only the center court will remain untouched.
CLOUDS OVER ORLANDO
One reason minor league baseball is so much fun to watch is that so many strange things happen on the field, incidents that remind one of the good old Brooklyn Dodger days at Ebbets Field.
Less than a week after Early Wynn was inducted into the Hall of Fame, his Orlando Twins of the Class A Florida State League did some very fancy losing. They lost not just a twin bill but a tripleheader, scheduled because two previous games had been rained out. The Cocoa Astros whipped them 5-0, 2-0, 4-3. No arrests were made.
And Pancho Herrera, the Philadelphia Phillie from the 1958-61 era, has been reviving a lost art as playing manager of the Key West Conchs. Playing first base, he may have come up with a new baseball record. He has pulled off the hidden ball trick no fewer than 16 times this season, including twice in one game against Orlando.
DANGER AL FRESCO
Books have been written about how easy it is to search around in the wilds, or even in vacant lots, and find delicious and nutritious stuff that cannot be bought in supermarkets. It is true that this can be done. It is also true that it is dangerous fun, as mushroom fanciers will tell you.
Two Baltimore youngsters died recently. One, a 15-year-old girl keenly interested in organic foods, had come across the fact that a tall, coarse herb known as pokeweed is edible when boiled. So it is, but only when the poke-weed shoots are young, gathered in early spring, and boiled not once but several times. She boiled the shoots only once, in summer, and died.
The other victim was a boy who was found dead in a woods. His hobby was botany. In his hand was a list of botanical products, like Solomon's seal and foxglove, which are poisonous. He had died, as Socrates did 2,371 years ago, by drinking an extract from the bark of the hemlock.