Next year, pitching coaches on major league teams will include Roger Craig of the San Diego Padres, Galen Cisco of the Kansas City Royals, Al Jackson of the Boston Red Sox and Bob Miller of the Toronto Blue Jays.
You know what Craig, Cisco, Jackson and Miller have in common? They all pitched for the 1962 Mets.
THIS YEAR'S CROP OF MISSES
If you have the feeling that pro football teams are missing an awful lot of extra points this year, you're right—in a sense. Through the first nine weeks of the season, 11.2% of all extra-point attempts failed, compared to 7.7% last year and 8.7% in 1974, the year the goalposts were moved from the goal line to the back of the end zone. If you are impressed by percentages, the increase in failures this year is startling—nearly 45% more than in the previous season. Perfectionist coaches are driven crazy by figures like this, particularly since no one seems to agree on the reasons for the increase.
On the other hand, if you look at the situation from a quantitative point of view, the number of extra points being missed isn't all that startling. In the 126 games played through the first nine weeks, 65 extra-point tries were blown, which works out to only one miss every two games. Moreover, if you compare that with the failure rate for the past two years, you'll find it means about one more miss every six games, which isn't anything to get excited about.
Unless, of course, you happen to have a bet on a team to win by seven and it flubs the kick and wins by six.
Winning is the only thing, Vince Lombardi is supposed to have said. Maybe he did and maybe he didn't. And maybe it is and maybe it isn't. The other day Barbara Roche, the star of Northwestern's women's field hockey team, broke a 0-0 tie in the second half of a game with Valparaiso by dribbling down the left side, cutting toward the middle and deftly putting a short flip shot into the lower left corner of the net. The officials signaled a goal, it was so noted by the scorer, and the players on both teams moved toward midfield to line up for a face-off. All except Barbara Roche, who went up to an official and said, "It wasn't a goal. I hit it off the back of my stick." Hitting the ball with the back of the stick is illegal in field hockey.
The official blinked once or twice but declared it no goal and gave the ball to Valparaiso to put into play from its end of the field. Fourteen minutes later Northwestern scored (on a rebound of a shot by Roche) and held on to win 1-0.
Asked after the game about her "non-goal," Roche said, 'I didn't think it was right. The referee didn't see it, but I did." She refused to say anything more about the incident, declaring that she did not want to sound "too religious."