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Wait a minute. Are we talking about turnstile attendance or paid attendance, in which no-shows should be included? And of the fans actually on hand, isn't it possible that a few were visiting the rest rooms, the concession stands or the first-aid station at the time the described actions were taking place? And, hey, at such a nerve-racking moment don't you think that maybe some eyes were averted and thus weren't "on" Casey? And isn't it likely that quite a few folks were so choked up by the tension that their tongues weren't applauding?
We'd guess it was around 13,600 paid, with 11,952 actually in the ball park.
THE FIRST RUG
Darned if we didn't miss it. AstroTurf has celebrated its 20th birthday. It was in the fall of 1964 that the first artificial grass surface was installed in the field house of Moses Brown School in Providence. The new carpeting didn't yet have a name—Monsanto came up with the AstroTurf handle when a rug was installed in the Houston Astrodome in 1966—and few could have foreseen how popular it would become. AstroTurf is used on more than 400 athletic fields, indoor and outdoor, and it remains No. 1 among artificial surfaces despite a growing number of competitors and widespread complaints from athletes and fans that the stuff is too hard, too hot and too, well, artificial.
Even Monsanto seems a bit confused about AstroTurf's origins. The company developed it at the urging of the Ford Foundation, which saw simulated grass as a way of providing playing fields for inner-city children, who lagged behind rural and small-town kids in physical-fitness tests. Today a Monsanto spokesman confidently spreads the word that Moses Brown was chosen for the first AstroTurf installation because it's a big-city school populated by "underprivileged" youngsters. Truth is, Moses Brown is a fairly tony prep school with a tuition for boarders of $9,000. It was chosen as the showcase for the new surface because its then headmaster had served on Ford Foundation committees and thus had the inside track with AstroTurf's developers.
That historic first rug, by the way, is still in use. "It's held up pretty well," says Moses Brown athletic director Jerry Zeoli. "One patch where we pole-vault wore out a little bit, but everything else is the original."
On the premise that few hockey fans can remember the names of the NHL's conferences and divisions, The Globe and Mail in Toronto has come up with names of its own devising. Whereas the league officially has a Wales Conference consisting of the Patrick and Adams divisions and a Campbell Conference comprised of the Norris and Smythe divisions, The Globe and Mail has for the past couple of months used designations based on geography. The newspaper refers to the Wales as the Eastern Conference and the Campbell as the Western Conference. The Patrick and Adams divisions have been renamed the Atlantic and Northern divisions, respectively. The paper lists the Norris and Smythe divisions as the Central and Pacific divisions, respectively.
"We thought it was silly that nobody can remember what teams play in what divisions," says assistant sports editor Jack McHale. "Even the hockey writers have to stop to think about it. This way at least you can get an idea of what area the teams are from."
Some readers appreciate the newspaper's move, others emphatically don't. In the latter category is Jay Greenberg, a Philadelphia sportswriter who, in a column in The Hockey News, accused The Globe and Mail of being "just a shade arrogant" in messing with the NHL's nomenclature. In making his case, Greenberg asks, "How come The Globe and Mail has two names when just about every other paper has only one?" He concludes, "Sorry, The Globe and Mail is too confusing. From now on I'm going to call it the Gazette."