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Cal Griffith of the Twins is the only owner in the majors who has always derived his income solely from the operation of his club. Although Griffith has a reputation as a penny pincher, he talks as if he can compete with richer owners and make Minnesota a profitable organization that can support him as well as two brothers, a sister, a son and three nephews who also work for the club.
In the last two years Griffith has lost three of his top players—Bill Campbell, Larry Hisle and Lyman Bostock—in the free-agent draft, and it now looks as if he is going to lose Rod Carew, six-time American League batting champion. Relations with Carew, who doubts Griffith can pay him what he wants when his contract expires this year, have been up and down. Carew has said Griffith would be better off trading him, but Griffith says he is going to try to sign him. Last week Griffith and Twins Manager Gene Mauch, who tried to get out of his contract after last season so he could go to the Angels, had differences about veteran reliever Mike Marshall. Mauch wanted the Twins to sign Marshall after he looked good in a tryout, but Griffith refused, prompting Carew to state he was "going to stick it to Calvin" by playing out his option and then vetoing any trade Griffith proposed. At week's end Griffith reversed himself and announced he would sign Marshall.
It will take more than Marshall to rescue the Twins, now in last place and hurting in attendance. Last week the Minneapolis Tribune offered prizes to readers who come closest to predicting the day the Twins will be eliminated from the AL West pennant race. First prize is two box seats for the final home game. Second prize is four box seats.
IF AT FIRST
The wonder of the America's Cup is not that the U.S. wins, but that the foreigners keep coming back for more. Last week the New York Yacht Club, the custodian of the cup, announced that a record six challenges have been received for 1980.
France has mounted two. Baron Marcel Bich, the pen tycoon, will be risking more red ink with his fourth try and a new boat, France 3. The other challenge comes from La Soci�t� des R�gates Rochelaises, whose members doubt Bich can ever succeed. The new group plans to launch Marianne, to be designed by Philippe Briand, who collaborated in building Sweden's Sverige.
Sverige will be back from the Royal Yacht Club in Gothenburg with Pelle Petterson again at the helm. This time, however, Petterson will have more dependable masts; Sverige was dismasted twice during her last campaign. Britain's prestigious Royal Southern Yacht Club is also challenging. Club members include Prince Philip and ex-Prime Minister Edward Heath, although neither is part of the syndicate that will foot the bill.
The perpetually hopeful Australians will mount two challenges. The Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron will be making its sixth. Its first came in 1962 when press lord Sir Frank Packer came closer to winning than any other modern challenger, with Gretel. Naval architect Alan Payne, designer of the esteemed Gretel II, which gave our Intrepid fits in 1970, will build two identical 12-meter yachts to be named Gretel HI and Gretel IV. Most challengers have suffered from a lack of intense American-style pre-cup competition. Evidently the Sydney group intends to minimize that disadvantage by pitting the two new Gretels against each other.