- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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Howard Schenken, who died last week at the age of 75, was widely regarded as the greatest bridge player in the world, as the following, perhaps apocryphal, exchange between two tournament players attests:
"If you had to play a match for your life, whom would you choose as a partner?"
" Howard Schenken."
"And if Schenken weren't available?"
"I'd wait until he was."
TEARS FOR TWO
In Philip Roth's 1959 novel Goodbye, Columbus, Ron Patimkin splashed up to his sister Brenda in a swimming pool and said excitedly, "The Yankees took two." Since then the chances of the Yankees—or anybody else—taking two have diminished. In 1959 the major leagues had 16 teams and 87 scheduled doubleheaders. There are now 26 teams and slightly longer schedules (162 games vs. 154), yet only 63 doubleheaders are on tap for the upcoming season. Although rainouts could increase the total, the trend is clearly away from good old bargain-day twin bills.
One might assume that the only reason doubleheaders are in decline is the natural desire of clubs to schedule as many separate admissions as possible. But California Angel Vice-President Buzzy Bavasi says that increased concession sales make doubleheaders almost as profitable as two separate admissions. He and other front-office men insist that the main consideration is that doubleheaders put too much strain on players. That explanation would have appalled Iron Man Joe McGinnity, who pitched and won both ends of a doubleheader three times in a single month in 1903, but today's ballplayers are a different breed. Tommy John, the ex-Dodger now with Ron Patimkin's beloved Yankees, says, "Doubleheaders make for a long, long day. And they tear down pitching staffs."
There are few offensive systems in college football more mystifying than the one devised by Harvard Coach Joe Restic. Based on the idea that a lot of movement is the best way to disrupt a defense, Restic's entertaining but abstruse "multiflex" attack involves a seemingly endless variety of formations, including such novelties as men dropping on and off the line before the snap and quarterbacks going into motion. Restic needn't worry about his playbook falling into unfriendly hands: the thieves wouldn't grasp what they were looking at, anyway.