BIRD OF ANOTHER FEATHER
The new Seattle NFL franchise has selected the name Seahawks for its team, which begins play in 1976. The Seattle Seahawks—yes, it would seem logical enough, an image of speed and power, evocative of the Pacific Northwest, alliterative even. However, since the choice was made, certain Seattle critics have been pleased to point out that a seahawk is in reality a skua—or jaeger—a thieving critter specializing in robbing other seabirds of their food. When attacked for said robberies, the seahawk tends to upchuck as a way of showing that it is under stress.
The team's general manager, John Thompson, disagrees, claiming that a seahawk is in fact the dashing, handsome, graceful osprey that swoops out of the sky to snatch fish from the sea.
Who is correct? James Rod of the National Audubon Society says that the seahawk is indeed a thief with impressive capacities for throwing up, that the osprey in Thompson's noble scenario is more likely a fish hawk. The Seattle Fish Hawks? Somehow it seems to go much better with a Super Bowl of bouillabaisse.
In The Merry Widow there is a scene in which Count Danilo receives a desperate message that the Pontevedrinian kingdom is bankrupt and that the count must marry a rich widow to rescue his homeland. It is ordinarily a sentimental moment, but recently in Cincinnati, Baritone Alan Titus, star of the New York City Opera and a renowned baseball fan, gave it a new twist. When the message came, Titus as Count Danilo took it, read it, and cried out, "Do you know what it says here? It says the Reds beat the Mets 3-2!" The crowd roared in delight, and Titus went on to save the kingdom.
RUBBER STAMP POWER
So we are to have seven more years of Bowie Kuhn. To the re-elected baseball commissioner, the new term in office will be worth about a million dollars in salary. To baseball, it will be worth something a lot less tangible, and perhaps something a lot less, period.
Though he resisted—and survived—a cracked-teacup revolt of embittered owners led by that incomparable opportunist and cynic, Charles O. Finley, Kuhn's main saving grace is his patrician bearing. Meeting in Milwaukee, the major league owners returned him to office by a resounding 22-2 vote largely because there has always been a lot more General Eckert than Judge Landis in Kuhn. The owners' overwhelming approval represents a predictable rubber-stamp reaction of a very predictable rubber-stamp commissioner. The lesson from Milwaukee last week was that the closest to real power Bowie Kuhn will ever be allowed to get is the seat he had next to Henry Kissinger at the All-Star Game.
Whatever problems Bowie Kuhn may confront, they won't be half so scary as those facing Obare Asiko, commissioner of the Kenya Football Federation. Not long ago, Asiko felt compelled to warn fans, team officials, players, trainers and practicing witch doctors that anyone found guilty of casting spells with animals during soccer games would be subject to criminal prosecution.