SI Vault
Edited by Bob Ottum
June 16, 1975
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June 16, 1975


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"Gambling has served us well," says Dr. Campbell. "It is an outlet for the bruised and insulted adventurer within us. Part of ourselves lusts for change, wooing the unknown, and it sends us both to the gaming tables and the moon." This sort of stand will salve a lot of horse-playing and crap-shooting consciences, particularly Dr. Campbell's theory about creative thinking. "The gambler feels that if he wins he has in some way controlled his world," she says. "If he loses, it is simply a tough break." True. Especially if the creative thinker had bet the rent money.


The Great Excesses of the Modern World award goes this week to the National Table-Tennis League, which is fiercely proud of its new official Ping-Pong table. In production even now, the table will be used exclusively at all NTTL pro matches.

This is no old green and white job. The new table is royal blue with red stripes and features a blue net with white piping. But that's mere cosmetics—the real overkill comes with the table's construction: laminated woods, hollow aluminum core—and implanted microphones to amplify the sound of balls striking the surface. This is supposed to improve player response, says the NTTL, adding that the table will cost $25,000. Paddles are extra.

This is not to imply that major-leaguers are getting soft, but one authoritative source points out that, in terms of team refreshments, they now prefer soda pop, milk and orange juice. This information comes from Mike Morris, who manages the visiting clubhouse for the Chicago White Sox, serving up food and drink, among other duties. Such teams as the Baltimore Orioles now consume only one case of beer per game, Morris says. Far cry from his favorite, a large outfielder who obviously was of the old school. "He tipped $20 a day during a series," Morris recalls, "and the only thing he ever asked was that you keep a case of beer in his locker. He never ate. He just drank."

Evidence continues to mount that computers are sneakily taking over everything, and here is more...well, more input to confirm it. Intrigued by longstanding arguments over who are the best tennis players of all time, Dallas radio executive Gordon McLendon is polling authorities in the sport to find their choices, dating back to 1920. Each ballot will list eight top men and eight top women, dead or alive. The selections will then go to officials of World Championship Tennis, who will tabulate entries, seed the players and draw up a schedule of seven matches. Back go the lists to the authorities who this time will pick a winner in each imaginary match and give set-by-set scores. That's where the computer comes in: the whole shebang will be punched in and the computer will produce consensus winners. Printouts in hand, McLendon will re-create all the matches in a series of radio broadcasts, acting as if each match were being played on Centre Court at Wimbledon. Every effort will be made to keep final winners secret, he says. And one more thing: if you disagree with the programmed results, don't go crying to McLendon. Go kick the computer.

Goodwill is one thing, but when a state needs revenue like, say, Maine, a few grumbles won't hurt. That's why Governor James B. Longley signed a bill killing the state's traditional courtesy hunting and fishing licenses. From here on in, everybody pays the $6.50 resident and $15.50 nonresident fishing fee, even U.S. customs officials who had been trading free angling favors with their counterparts along the Canadian border. Last year, 427 courtesy hunting and fishing licenses went out to a mix of visitors, from outdoor writers publicizing Maine to such notables as Ted Williams and Stan Musial. Estimated revenue will be only about $25,000 a year. It won't balance the budget, but it's a start.

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