THE SOONER THE BETTER
As is often the case in such matters, there is no clear right or wrong in the labor dispute between National Football League owners and players. Vice President Ford, writing about the wrangling between the two groups (page 16), finds "neither is particularly attractive," and like most of us he has mixed emotions over the positions they have taken, recognizing the right of an individual in a free enterprise system to realize his full worth and at the same time the need of franchises to turn a profit. The Vice President only touches on the issues of player freedom that have become serious points of contention, but he has caught the mood of a public grown weary of prolonged negotiations, and the charges and countercharges that inevitably accompany them. The sooner both NFL sides iron out their differences, the better for all sport.
It was one of those days. Rain had fallen steadily on Woodbine track near Toronto before the 115th running of last Saturday's Queen's Plate, and the running surface looked like a moat around an infield. Because the royal landau, unequipped with pontoons, remained parked under the stands, the royal representative, the Queen Mother, arrived in a limo. She walked across the track to the infield on wide wooden planks, not the customary red carpet. Then things got bad.
During the salute to Queen Mum, one of the Governor-General's horse guards was unseated and deposited face-first in about six inches of slop. He departed in an ambulance. The rains came again when Queen Mum visited the paddock for the saddling. When she opened a borrowed umbrella, it turned inside out. Amber Herod, a 10-to-1 outsider and the eventual winner, became fascinated with the mud as he was led across the track to the paddock. He dropped to his knees and rolled over. Later, in the winner's circle, he acted up and bumped into the trophy table, very nearly consigning the Queen's Plate Trophy to the slop.
The Queen's Plate is the oldest horserace in North America and the richest, most famous sporting event in Canada. It has survived world wars, depressions, sterling, Expo '67, the horse and buggy and six monarchs, and it may outlive Saturday.
QUESTION OF VALUES
There will always be a car nut. The other day Alec Ulmann, maestro of the Sebring Twelve Hours during that event's 22-year life-span, cracked up a newly restored 1926 Hispano Suiza while taking it for a spin on Long Island. Informed of the calamity, the Madison Avenue Sports Car, Chowder and Marching Club, through a spokesman, expressed cursory interest in member Ulmann's condition but deep anxiety about the Hisso. For the record, Ulmann suffered a fracture of the collarbone, the car, multiple damages. Both are doing nicely, Ulmann freshly released from New York's Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital, the Hisso in Joe Weider's garage in Elmhurst, Queens, N.Y. Rest easily, you old Hisso.
One problem other than managing that has troubled the San Francisco Giants this season is their ball park, and with it an unwelcome phenomenon, the GRD, or ground rule double. The AstroTurf in Candlestick is so hard and the outfield fence so low (eight feet) that 28 GRDs have bounced out of the playing field in 37 games, negating one of the team's chief assets, speed. Opposition drives that otherwise might have been held to singles have bounced in for GRDs, and doubles by the Giants that might have been stretched into triples have ended up GRDs, too.
National League President Chub Feeney deplores the situation. "The GRD robs the game of two of its most exciting plays," he says, "the triple and cutting down a base runner from the outfield."
Cincinnati raised its fences after installing synthetic grass, but no such changes can be made in any park during the season except by league vote. Feeney, however, offers hope. "If the Giants ask to raise their fences, I'm sure there'd be an immediate and unanimous approval."