KAPP AND ANDY
Joe Kapp lost and Andy Messersmith won, and what does it all mean? The jury's rejection of Kapp's $12 million suit against the New England Patriots and the National Football League was a victory—if limited—for the management side of sports, which had been in a long losing streak. NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle went so far as to say, "It's a possible turning point for settling these matters in collective bargaining rather than in court."
Perhaps, but NFL owners and players have failed to settle much, if anything, after two years of collective bargaining. Rozelle may mean that the owners' victory in Kapp's suit could jar the players into a less militant stand ("Gee, if Kapp lost in court, so could I") and a greater willingness to compromise. But if the owners set too much store by the Kapp decision, which involved a unique set of circumstances, they could become even more intransigent ("Hey, we won one; maybe we'll win another"), and a settlement in football's labor dispute never will be reached.
Meanwhile, baseball staggers on. The New York Yankees' retreat in the Messersmith affair indicates that they goofed badly—unless their strange behavior is evidence of Messersmith's contention that the owners in general are trying to diminish his value (and that of all free agents) in an open market. The New York Mets' repeated efforts to tarnish the image of their unsigned star, Tom Seaver, tends to add to this feeling. On another front in the baseball wars, the American League remained on a collision course with the National League on the question of Toronto as an expansion city. One American League executive accused Commissioner Bowie Kuhn of partiality in the dispute. " Kuhn was the National League's lawyer," the executive charged, "and he is the National League's commissioner."
Come on, let's play ball.
SO MUCH FOR SAM
Sam Snead revealed a few secrets of golf and some home truths at a golf show in Philadelphia last week.
"Put an old carpet down in your living room," he said, "and chip balls into a bushel basket. Chipping teaches you how to use your hands." Snead added that it was a good idea to practice a lot with a five-iron.
He also said he didn't believe his advice would prove terribly worthwhile. "I know some of you people think you are going to learn something here," he declared, "but I don't think you will."
Nobody—not Babe Ruth nor Henry Aaron nor Casey at the Bat—ever had a day at the plate to equal that of Jim La Fountain, a 200-pound right-handed hitter who plays first base for the University of Louisville. Louisville's game with Western Kentucky the other day was called after five innings with Louisville ahead 26-4. In the five innings, La Fountain hit four home runs, three of them with the bases loaded, two of them in the same inning. He had 14 runs batted in. If a big-league batsman were able to sustain such a pace over a 162-game season, he would end the year with 1,166 home runs and 4,082 runs batted in.