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After all this macho posturing, the bouts are over in a few furious seconds—as soon as one man touches the ground with anything but his feet or goes out of the ring. The long prelude and swift denouement suit the Japanese psychology, according to press handouts, "in the same way that cherry blossoms are profoundly appreciated despite, or because of, their habit of falling to the ground within three days."
Tournament organizers didn't think Garden crowds would be too receptive to some of the ceremony, so they cut down the prebout rituals to two minutes. But spectators cheered lustily for a 21-year-old Hawaiian named Salevaa (Meat Bomb) Atisnoe who, at 490 pounds, is the heaviest wrestler in sumo memory. He's also the only American in the sport.
ROCK IN BOULDER
Bruce Springsteen comes to Boulder about as often as the University of Colorado wins Big Eight football titles. Now the rock star with the rusty-bucket pipes probably won't show at all. The Colorado athletic department refuses to give up Folsom Field for Springsteen concerts scheduled for Sept. 4 and 5, because that would "disrupt preparation" for the Buffaloes' Sept. 7 opener with Colorado State. By giving the Boss the E Street Shuffle, the department is passing up as much as $200,000 in potential revenues from concessions and its share of the gate, and the student body's activities fund loses out on $80,000. And, of course, everyone misses a chance to see somebody play well at Folsom Field.
GOOD NIGHT, SWEET PRINCE
If Curt Gowdy sounds like everybody's brother-in-law, Bob Prince was the favorite uncle. Known as the Gunner, the Pittsburgh Pirates broadcaster, who died last week at 68, scattered opinions like shells from a tommy gun. His loud sport coats tended to resemble test patterns, and his game voice was sandpaperish, as if strained through warning track gravel. In Prince's partisan play-by-play, Bucco line drives landed foul "by a gnat's eyelash." And if his team came back to win on a grand slam in the bottom of the ninth, he'd still crow, "We had 'em all the way."
The phrase "Shut up, Prince!" found wide currency in Pittsburgh during the talk-talk-talk of his 41-year broadcasting career. "I've got to get to the booth," he once told a dinner companion. "A million people are waiting to turn me off."
Prince was at his wiliest when broadcasting games he didn't actually see. He and early partner Rosey Rowswell would take the action pitch by pitch from Western Union at a studio in Pittsburgh's Keystone Hotel. Prince would improvise everything from outfield collisions to run-ins with umpires. When a Pirate hit a homer, Rowswell would scream, "Get upstairs. Aunt Minnie, and open the window." Prince, perched on a chair, would drop a tray of nuts and bolts on the floor. "Ah," Rowswell would say glumly. "Too late."
In those days, if the Pirates played at night, Prince was also expected to do an afternoon game off the ticker. But he insisted nobody was listening. To prove his point, Prince faked a game between the Giants and Cubs. "We had the wrong people hit home runs, the wrong score and then had it called by rain," he recalled. "The next day, after the true story of the game came out in the newspapers, the station didn't get a single letter protesting what we had done." Once again, Prince had 'em all the way.