Remember Fred Spiller, the Wichita ( Kans.) truck driver who was arrested for keeping a baseball hit over the fence in an intracity game (SCORECARD, July 30)? When he was found guilty of petty larceny by a municipal court judge, Spiller decided to appeal. But the other day, in district court, he lost again. His lawyer, Jean Oliver Moore, told the jury that rules for sport differ from those for ordinary conduct; that if, for instance, you are beaned with a baseball, you don't file charges against the pitcher. It was no go. Basing its decision on a strict reading of a city ordinance that forbids taking of property, the jury could find no exception for baseballs.
Judge Robert Stephan fined Spiller $100 (four times the fine imposed in the original trial) plus court costs. Then, indulging in judicial whimsy, the court gave Spiller the option of shagging balls for 10 games at one of two local parks instead of paying the fine. Moore turned this down as an indignity, declaring, "My client based his case on his honest assumption that a ball out of play is a free ball. There is no reason to make a clown out of him." When Moore later estimated that court costs would probably be in excess of $300, the judge agreed that the sentence was too high and said he would reconsider his decision on it sometime this week.
Spiller can still appeal to a higher court but, seeing the way the ball is bouncing, he has decided not to carry his pitch any farther.
A BIKE AND A BARK
Sakti Prosad Potader of Calcutta, India has been touring the world on a bicycle for the past four years. After visiting 58 countries on four continents, he has some interesting observations. The friendliest people he met were Arabs. "There is no way to describe the hospitality of these people," he says. "It is basic to their religion. Next to Allah, the guest is the most sacred thing. They will do anything for you." He did not care for Turks. "They seem not to like tourists in Turkey," he says. "I felt the hostility." The Balkan countries were pleasant, but in the Soviet Union he was not allowed to move about where he pleased. "They don't encourage the kind of contact with ordinary people that I am interested in," Potader says.
But one of the worst annoyances he encountered came in the U.S. What was it? Dogs. A seemingly limitless succession of dogs barking and chasing after his bike made his travel miserable.
A prominent educator in Arizona said the other day that big universities should stop pretending that college football is an aspect of education and, instead, go out and hire professional teams to represent the school. Weldon P. Shofstall, superintendent of public instruction in the state since 1969 and an ex-officio regent of Arizona State University, said, "Let's take the hypocrisy out of college football. Why don't we just make it professional?"
Shofstall spent 10 years at Arizona State working on a scholarship committee. The committee, he said, used scholarships to subsidize athletes. "We were out to get men who would win and gain publicity for the university," he said. "It was public relations, not education—except that some of the players were preparing for pro football jobs. I guess that's as legitimate as preparing doctors and lawyers, but that's not what we say we're doing."