"Aw," said the first. "What do you know about goff?"
"I know they make $40,000," the second man said, "and I say make 'em work for it."
Some things are going well for the Detroit Tigers this year—for instance, that trade of Pitcher Mickey Lolich (3-9 with the New York Mets) for Outfielder Rusty Staub (.316 with Detroit and a likely American League All-Star)—but others not so well. The Tigers had one of those Bat Days recently at which kids 14 and under were given free bats. The club cautioned that it had only about 17,000 of them to give away, so come early. The kids showed up and were duly given their prizes—among them Nate Colbert bats, Jim Northrup bats, Gates Brown bats. Enthusiasm was restrained, with reason. Colbert, a bust with the Tigers, was sold a year ago. Northrup was traded two years ago. Brown retired at the end of last season.
The Tigers explained that they had been unable to order enough new bats in time and had to give away leftovers from past Bat Days. As it was, they did not even deplete the back stock, which did include some Al Kalines and Norm Cashes. Maybe, later in the season, they could dispose of those at another Bat Day, after throwing in a few Frank House or Charlie Maxwell bats to perk up interest.
GIVING HIS ALL
In another part of Detroit, things are better—period. The Pistons report that since the merger of the NBA and ABA, ticket sales for next season's games are soaring. Most dramatic evidence of this came one Friday afternoon when a man strode into the Pistons' office, tossed his Ford Motor Co. paycheck for $186.44 on the desk of Assistant General Manager Tom Abbott and said, "Give me all the tickets you can for Dr. J, George Gervin and George McGinnis."
Nelson Bunker Hunt, the Texan who owns millionairess Dahlia and at least 599 other thoroughbreds (SI, June 21), has been had. Really had. Hunt has been victimized by the racing rule which declares that a horse imported to this country must have the Roman numeral II placed after its name if another horse by the same name has raced in the U.S. before. In practice, many racing programs drop the Roman numeral and use the designation "2nd" instead. Hunt had the misfortune of importing such a horse from France at the end of last year. Abroad the horse won $22,637 in 1975 but in five 1976 starts at Santa Anita and Hollywood Park has failed to finish in the money. Obviously the horse knows his new name is the problem. It is now Numero Uno 2nd.