METSOMANIA IS SUCH FUN
The vulgar and brutal behavior of spectators at Shea Stadium in New York before and after the Mets defeated the Cincinnati Reds in the final game of the championship playoff last week has been roundly condemned in New York as well as in the rest of the country, but condemnation is not enough. The Met management piously wrung its hands and tsk-tsked, as if to say what could it do? But much the same riotous display happened four years earlier when the Mets won the pennant in 1969. In fact, it happened twice that year—first after the pennant was won and again after the final game of the World Series.
The truth is, the Met management, wallowing in its huge home-attendance figures, not only does little or nothing to stop such lunatic behavior, it actually condones it. The day before the pennant-winning game a handful of so-called Met fans paraded through the grandstand carrying obscene and disgusting banners directed at Pete Rose while uniformed ushers and guards watched tolerantly. And small segments of the crowd chanted equally lovely thoughts, serene in the realization that no one was even going to suggest that they stop. The riot that followed the clincher was no surprise to anyone who had seen Shea's finest in action before.
The responsibility for ending such behavior lies squarely with the ball club. The Mets' management is as much of a disgrace as the fans who caused the trouble.
THE FOREST'S PRIME EVIL
Zoning laws are being extended into the wilderness, at least in the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire, where the U.S. Forest Service is expected to restrict snowmobiles to certain designated areas. Right now, all but a handful of the White Mountain National Forest's 700,000 acres are open to snow-mobilers, but opposition to such unrestricted use is widespread. The three main complaints against snowmobiles have to do with noise, the smell of burning fuel and the inevitable destruction of forest paths and trails. Steve Maddock, an associate director of the Appalachian Mountain Club, said his organization endorsed the confinement of snowmobiles to zoned areas in order that campers and hikers could continue to move along forest trails on foot, "as originally intended." J. Leland Sosman, a vice-president of the U.S. Ski Association, said that restriction of snowmobiles was necessary, as far as skiers were concerned, because "it is totally incompatible to have the two operations together."
The restraint on the snowmobiles will probably go into effect in December.
The Soviet Union's abrupt decision to cancel the proposed visit of two of its hockey teams to the U.S., where they were to play eight games against National Hockey League clubs, had no relationship to the Middle East war, as some people surmised. Rather, it had to do with money and amateur eligibility. The Russians were supposed to receive $25,000 a game in the U.S., or $200,000 in all. But when foreign teams or individuals not under the cultural exchange program earn money in the U.S. they are subject to tax, ordinarily a flat rate of about 30%. The Russians did not like the idea at all. The problem did not arise last year in the Soviet Union-Team Canada matches because that was a home-and-home arrangement, with Canada keeping the money earned in Canada, the Russians that earned in Russia—a considerable amount because of television revenue.
Beyond the tax question was the matter of sanction from the International Ice Hockey Federation, which governs world amateur hockey. The Russian players are technically amateur, which means they are subject to IIHF discipline. Last year plans for the Team Canada matches were made without consulting the IIHF, whose president, John F. (Bunny) Ahearne, said, after the fact. "I approve." But this time Ahearne told Clarence Campbell, president of the NHL, that he would not sanction the matches unless the IIHF was given 10% of the television revenue from the games (last year the Canadians supposedly gave the Russians $20,000 to cover any IIHF demands, but whether it was actually paid to the IIHF is not known). Campbell said the professional NHL would never agree to play any matches under the amateur IIHF sanction and would never give away any part of its North American television rights. Ahearne therefore refused to sanction the matches, and the Russians, fearful that they would be subsequently barred from international competition, including the Olympics, called the whole thing off.