SHOWS AND NO-SHOWS
The no-show controversy bubbles on. The National Football League said that the federal law requiring teams to allow local telecasts of sold-out home games was responsible for 656,290 no-shows this past season, and argued that this caused an immediate financial decline in the areas of parking and concessions and will cause a future decline in season-ticket sales. Proponents of the anti-blackout law, among them Representative Torbert Macdonald of Massachusetts and Senator John Pastore of Rhode Island, claimed that the NFL was exaggerating the importance of no-shows and that the new four-year NFL television contract is expected to total $220 million compared to S 184 million for the four-year contract that ran through this past season. Pas-tore commented on the "upgrading in value" of the television contract, but actually the ratings for NFL football, which were off slightly in 1972, were down a bit again this past season.
Meanwhile, a San Diego football fan named Don Peters has a suggestion that ignores the issue but could go a long way toward filling the empty seats left by no-shows, not to mention parking lots and concession stands. He proposes that an office, possibly staffed by volunteer workers, be established in each NFL city to function as a clearinghouse for no-show tickets. Fans without tickets would sign a waiting list, ticket holders not attending the game would advise the central office, and the no-show tickets would end up with the no-ticket people. If the idea works, a lot of eager fans would fill those cheerless empty spaces. It might be worth a try.
The Southeastern Conference, proud bastion of Southern football, really took the pipe in postseason bowl games. The cream of the conference—Alabama, LSU, Auburn, Tennessee, Florida and Georgia—played in bowls, and Alabama, LSU, Auburn, Tennessee and Florida went down to defeat. Only Georgia, with an edgy one-point win over Maryland, salvaged anything.
Five defeats in six games is insufficient evidence for a blanket indictment, of course, but for the moment it appears that the rebel yell is "Ouch."
Who is this mare Secretariat's name has been linked with, she who is to be the mother of his first child? According to Bill Taylor of Claiborne Farm, where Secretariat is at stud, she has no name, only a number, and Taylor could not even remember her number. She is an Appaloosa mare, one of that exotic spotted breed, and worth between $500 and $600. Taylor is not sure how old she is—"Seven, eight or nine, somewhere in there," he said—nor how many foals she has had before.
"I guess she's had four or five," he said. "She's been used pretty regularly as a nurse mare." Nurse mares are bred to any ragtag male in order to get them in foal so that they will be able to produce milk for thoroughbred foals whose mothers are unable to nurse them. The Secretariat mare's earlier foals were sold as riding horses or to the University of Kentucky for experimental purposes. The average price was $50 to $60.
What, $50 or $60 for Secretariat's first child, even an unfashionable, non-thoroughbred child? Taylor agreed that seemed low. "I had a mare once in foal to Buckpasser," he recalled, "and I got a nice piece of change for it. I think I sold it to a girl to use as a show horse." He thought the Secretariat foal might make a useful hunter or jumper.