CRIME AND PUNISHMENT
Pete Rose of the Cincinnati Reds was fined $250 for his part in baseball's great playoff fight. Bud Harrelson of the New York Mets was fined only $100 for his part. An also-ran in the melee, Pedro Borbon of the Reds, got a $150 jolt. Other participants were given a free ride.
All right. That's done and done. But a question remains. Why has Charles Stoneham Feeney, president of the National League, not fined the New York. Met front office, which failed so miserably to control the obscene element among its fans, in the stands during the game as well as on the field after it, despite a previous history of bad behavior? The fight between the players was a minor incident compared to the near riot after the final out of the playoffs.
A new football phrase has originated in the Southwest: a "powder burn" letter-man, a new breed of football player rising from a loophole in the freshman eligibility rule that the NCAA passed in 1972. Players have four years of eligibility, but if a man fails to compete on the varsity as a freshman he has only three seasons of eligibility remaining. What is happening now is that coaches are giving some players game experience as freshmen and then holding them out—redshirting is the old phrase—as sophomores. When they come back to the fray as mature juniors, they still have three seasons of eligibility left. Fifth-year seniors are going to be more commonplace.
The term "powder burn"? Well, that's because the letter-winning freshmen are usually sent into the game in the waning moments and are on the field when the final gun sounds.
THE HAMBO MOVES
The Hambletonian Society voted last week to move its famous trotting race from rural Du Quoin, Ill. to Philadelphia for three years, starting in 1975. Arguments for the move centered primarily on the expectation that more people would attend the race in Philadelphia than in Du Quoin, and that they would be able to bet on the event, as they had not been in Du Quoin.
We believe the Society has made a serious error in judgment. The move destroys the unique rural character of a traditional event, and demeans it by putting it on the auction block to the highest bidder every few years. It lets the commercial imperative override all sporting considerations, joining a trend that has proved ruinous in other areas, and turns a genuine classic event into just another $100,000 race.
Finally, on the personal level, it is indeed a cynical reward to the Hayes family of Du Quoin for many years of devoted effort in presenting the Hambletonian in an appropriate and graceful setting. All in all, this is a distressing episode in the long history of the sport.