Because of the dreadful winter weather Buffalo's pro teams have had a lot of trouble getting to and from games. Late in January, for example, the hockey Sabres had to postpone a home game with Los Angeles because of a blizzard. The day before, the Sabres managed to leave (their flight was 20 hours late) for Montreal to play the Canadiens. Even though four players, including top goal-scorer Rick Martin, weren't able to get to the airport and had to be left behind, the Sabres held the league-leading Canadiens to a 3-3 tie.
Yet the high point of the game was the radio broadcast of it. Ted Darling does play-by-play of Sabre games on radio, except when a game is televised, in which case he does the TV play-by-play. He had never missed a Sabre game since Buffalo joined the NHL in 1970, and he had "broadcast every one of them, on radio or TV. He missed this one. He tried, but it was impossible to get from his home in a Buffalo suburb to the airport. Yet he broadcast it. He was supposed to do the TV play-by-play in Montreal, but a newspaperman was drafted in his stead and Darling did the radio from his home. He watched the game on television and broadcast it by telephone to the Buffalo radio station carrying the game. He turned the TV sound down and had his son Joe listen to it through an earphone so he could feed his father such information as the times of goals, which players were given assists and what the various penalties were.
It was easy. You would have sworn he was there. Oh, the wonders of electronic journalism!
Those Player Locator Boards (SCORECARD, Jan. 31) that were introduced to U.S. golfing fans at the Hawaiian Open last week worked fine. So fine, in fact, that a spectator arriving at noon on the first day was moved to ask, "Where is everybody? This must be the smallest gallery they've ever had at this tournament."
It was actually the largest ever for the Hawaiian, but the least visible. Fans coming onto the course checked the locator boards and scooted off to join and root for their favorites instead of milling about in aimless frustration. The system—a big board with a map of the course and magnetized numbers identifying the players and their precise location at any moment—worked so well that it raised the inevitable question: Why wasn't it done before? One might assume that locator boards now will be erected at all big tournaments. Hawaiian Open officials, their eyes dancing with visions of royalties, are even talking of patenting the system.
NAMES AND NUMBERS
Because Arizona and Arizona State have withdrawn from the Western Athletic Conference in order to join the Pacific Eight, usually called the Pac-8, a small question has arisen over the expanded conference's name. Pac-8 no longer works. Pac-10 seems likely, although a more formal title may be chosen.
This adjusting of name to fit number has given rise to speculation. Suppose the four northern schools—Washington, Washington State, Oregon and Oregon State—decide to withdraw from the conference, what then? No problem. With its strength reduced to half a dozen, the conference could rename itself the Six Pac.