THE COMMISSIONER HOMERS
If George Steinbrenner does not yet understand the seriousness of the crimes to which he pleaded guilty in Federal court, Bowie Kuhn, a lawyer, does. His action in suspending the principal owner of the New York Yankees from any connection with the club for the next two years was his finest hour as Commissioner of Baseball.
Legally, Kuhn may have overstepped his authority. After all, there is no law that says a person who made illegal campaign contributions and attempted to influence employees to make false statements to a Federal grand jury, as Steinbrenner admitted, must disassociate himself from gainful employment. Operationally, too, Kuhn is on soft ground. He has no real enforcement powers if Steinbrenner flouts the ruling and runs the Yankees covertly.
But behind him Kuhn has a fine baseball tradition launched by Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis after the Black Sox scandal of 1919 and continued by Ford Frick in 1953 when he induced Fred Saigh, convicted of income tax evasion, to sell the St. Louis Cardinals. And, hopefully, he has the owners, who will see Steinbrenner's heavy sarcasm of last week—"It is certainly a wonderful Thanksgiving present" and "It's impossible to understand how the Commissioner of Baseball could call me incompetent"—for what it is, a threat to them. As Kuhn said, "Attempting to influence employees to behave dishonestly is the kind of misconduct which, if ignored by baseball, would undermine the public's confidence in our game."
As promotions go, this one laid an egg, with bacon. How 76er General Manager Pat Williams could even think of booking it is a mystery, but it does seem to help explain why Philadelphians are so often considered bootiful.
At any rate, the halftime highlight at a recent 76er game was Chick, the singing pig, accompanied by three fellow porkers and a trio of hens, boo bait in any town. To give him his due, Chick performed amiably during warmups, skidding successfully down a 10-foot slide, but then it came time to croon. All Chick could manage was an occasional bellow delivered in a flat oink. The act was bombing when one of the backups, turning critic, relieved himself at center court. That was the high-water mark. Before the barnyard revue was herded off to its just reward it got a roasting. A newspaper headline caught the spirit of the thing: KNICKS WHIP 76ERS, PIG BOOED.
"What did they expect," asked Williams, "grand opera?"
SWEET SMELL OF FAILURE
A sweet tooth does not a sweet play make. So, in more scholarly language, says a report issued by the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics of the University of Montreal after a yearlong study of the effects of sugar on athletic performance.