With so many colossi around, the swimming pool became center stage. The curious tried to figure whether Mike Lucci was wearing a padded chest or if he really was that muscular. They speculated as to whether Johnny Bench would actually be able to persuade the stewardesses that he needed some live-in nurses to tend the scar from his off-season lung operation. And they wondered if and when Joe Namath would show up in a monokini, an event that seemed likely to send the pink-haired matrons with orange faces into a picture-snapping frenzy. Early in the week they fluttered through one false alarm when Joe Battaglia, a New York film producer, came over the hotel in a helicopter to shoot some aerial scenes. The poolside habitu�s wrongly guessed that it was Namath arriving.
The pool was also the posture capital of the world for this week as everyone paraded around with depressed stomachs—the men struggling to appear no less virile than anyone else and the women pining for even just one covetous glance. One afternoon a lissome creature in a scant bathing suit, her skin roasted to well done, sauntered up to a group that included Bench, Mike Lucci, Ron Santo, Ed Podolak, Wayne Walker and assorted others whose faces are big on bubble-gum cards. She was carrying a large rock.
"Why you carryin' the rock?" someone asked.
"I'm a schoolteacher and I want to take it back to show to my kids," she answered.
The schoolmarm asked Bench if he would be so gallant as to carry her show-and-tell prize over to the bottom of some nearby steps. Off went Bench, the girl and the rock.
"Where's Johnny?" someone asked a few minutes later.
"I saw him go into that room with the schoolteacher," someone else said.
The attentive players studied the door of the room. "Go get 'em, John!" they yipped. "Go, John!" Just then a guy—the girl's boyfriend, the gallery guessed, or maybe her husband—walked up to the door, found it locked and started fumbling for his key as the ballplayers hooted. "Out the window, John!" they screeched. "Run for it!" The perplexed man got the door open and went inside to view some unknown scene.
A few minutes later the door opened again. Out came the girl. Out came Bench. "He's just a friend," the schoolteacher explained to the audience at poolside. "But I was so embarrassed when he walked in. I said to him, 'This is Johnny Bench.' And then I said, 'Johnny, this is....' You know, I couldn't remember his name."