Most observers feel that the Travers will again be a two-horse race, but if a long shot has a chance to upset these two magnificent thoroughbreds anywhere, the Travers could be the place. It was in that race, back in 1930, that a 100-to-1 shot named Jim Dandy sneaked past Triple Crown winner Gallant Fox, who went off at odds of 3 to 5 in what is regarded by some as the biggest upset in racing history. One can imagine Gallant Fox thinking to himself as the long shot went shooting by, "Now isn't this just Jim Dandy?" It was, and the upset eventually led to Saratoga naming a stakes race after Jim Dandy, which was won by Affirmed last week (page 24).
If you have been tempted to wash your tennis game, equipment and instructor down the nearest drain, a book has been written just for you. It's called Bathroom Tennis, and according to author Alan S. Boltin, the only thing keeping you from cleaning up against your local Bjorn Borg is the failure to read his booklet during a daily eight-minute stint in the bathroom.
Boltin is a tennis pro who has instructed the likes of Farrah Fawcett-Majors and Priscilla Presley, and his "book," which is actually a kit, includes a 64-page manual and four waterproof charts. The manual is based largely on the Zen philosophy of mind over matter and banks on the capitalist-pig philosophy that a tennis addict will buy anything. To be sure, the manual does offer elementary advice on how to stroke a tennis ball, but the bread and butter of Bathroom Tennis deals with the mental aspects of the game. A chapter like "Make The Ball Your Friend," for instance—a concept Boltin doubtless borrowed from Jimmy (Love-that-Ball) Connors—can easily be mastered while lathering up. Another section discusses the Zen method of retrieving a particularly difficult shot. "You [and the ball] both exist in a new reality together. You are the ball, and the ball is you...."
To facilitate practicing in the shower, two of the acetate charts depict empty tennis courts and have space at the top in which vindictively to write the name of your chosen opponent. "You can't lose in the shower," Boltin gleefully points out. While washing the soap from his ears, the conscientious student imagines running deep to his forehand, executing a perfect lob, then dashing to the net for the killing volley. "Your nervous system doesn't know the difference if you're actually playing or just imagining yourself on the court," Boltin says. "This practice is effective because you are fooling your nervous system. It thinks you're on a court in the hot sun practicing and sweating like a pig...."
One can imagine bathrooms all over the country being tied up by tennis fanatics, and harried spouses pleading, "Hey in there, get off the court."
"Later, dear. I've got Nastase 5-1."
You can look it up. In a Babe Ruth League game in Manchester, N.H. on July 22, Steve Lapointe, whose team was leading 7-0, was one out away from pitching a no-hitter. Then, with runners on first and second via walks, the batter, Andy Hebert, hit a routine ground ball between first and second, but the runner on first was struck by the ball before it could be fielded. The runner was called out, the game was over and Lapointe had his no-hitter, right? Wrong.
According to the rules of baseball, a base hit shall be scored in the following case: "When a fair ball which has not been touched by a fielder touches a runner or an umpire."