"Boat speed" is a term America's Cup yachtsmen have been using a lot this summer. When a sailor says this 12-meter has more "boat speed" than that one, he seems to imply something more complicated than that one boat goes faster than another, although it is not clear exactly what. Last week The New York Times was explaining why the Giants had cut Lineman Al Simpson. He may have been too slow, but you couldn't be sure. The reason Simpson was let go, the Times reported, was that he lacked "foot speed." At this rate, horses may soon be winning races with "hoof speed" and pitchers will soon be striking out batters with "ball speed." Hey, it might even replace "velocity."
The city of Los Angeles has released a survey showing that 70% of those interviewed in L.A. County favor holding the 1984 Olympics there. A survey to measure local support, or the lack of it, is required by the U.S. Olympic Committee, as a result of the rejection of the 1976 Winter Olympics by Denver voters. But the L.A. survey revealed taxpayers are concerned. If city and county funds are needed to put on the Games, only 35% of those interviewed want them.
The lively baseball may be even livelier than SI's tests indicated (June 13). According to Robert H. Kingsley of the Kingsley Baseball Service in Rockville, Md., home-run production in the major leagues through Sept. 9 was up a whopping 51% over last season. The American League's is higher (55.5%) than the National's (46.5%). The former not only has two expansion teams, but also their parks, the Kingdome in Seattle and Exhibition Stadium in Toronto, are relatively conducive to homers. In contrast to last year, the National League now has three parks that are tougher—Olympic Stadium in Montreal, the Astrodome, which has moved back its fences, and Busch Memorial Stadium in St. Louis, where the temporary center-field fence was removed.
Last year 2,235 homers were hit in the majors, an average of 93.1 per team. Kingsley calculates that by the end of the season the team average will be 138, which is just dandy for him. Some years ago he figured out that a team average of 135 homers would be "best for baseball from all points of view." Says Kingsley, "We are happy to see the home run come back to its rightful place."
ROYAL AND BROYLES
What happens to former college football coaches when a new season begins? In the case of Darrell Royal of Texas and Frank Broyles of Arkansas, both of whom retired after last season, they were able to get a good night's sleep before last Saturday's opening games.
Broyles, who is the athletic director at Arkansas, spent Saturday playing nine holes of golf and then attended a fashion show with his wife Barbara. That evening in Fayetteville, the Broyles and their twin daughters, who are freshmen at Arkansas, watched the Razorbacks wallop New Mexico State 53-10. It was the first time in 30 years that Broyles and his wife saw a game together in which they had a real rooting interest. Says Broyles of the day, "It was like a spring game—when you want everything to go right, but don't have to make any decisions."
Over in Austin, Royal was surprised to find himself "really keyed up" about the game with Boston College when he awoke at 7:30 on Saturday. The athletic director at Texas, Royal went to his office in Memorial Stadium to pick up some tickets and ran into Fred Akers, his successor as coach. "His jaws were real tight," says Royal. "I know the feeling." After attending a reception for House Speaker Tip O'Neill, a Boston College alumnus, Royal went to his press-box seat in the stadium, and there his anxiety vanished as Texas built a 23-0 halftime lead. "They've got a good passing game going," he said. "They're looking great." Royal was also impressed by the Texas band. "I've always said the Longhorn band was outstanding, but I said it largely on blind faith. Now, after seeing them at halftime, I know it's true."