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HOLD THAT TIGER
FAST BREAKS & BREAKFASTS
Officials at KOIN-TV, the CBS affiliate in Portland, Ore., were getting a lot of flak over their decision to show Thursday's sixth and, as it turned out, deciding game of the NBA championship series between Boston and Houston on a delayed basis, at 11:30 p.m. One fan who wanted the game aired live in prime time was Don Berchtold, owner of a well-known local restaurant, Johns Meatmarket. "When games start at 11:30, nobody makes it to the third quarter," Berchtold complained to KOIN-TV General Manager Mick Schafbuch and Station Manager Howard Kennedy.
Schafbuch and Kennedy argued that there were fans who would stay up late to watch playoff games, and they devised a scheme to prove it. By arrangement with a doubting Berchtold, they inserted several 30-second spots into the delayed telecast, announcing that the first 600 people who showed up between 6 and 9 a.m. on Friday at Johns Meatmarket, which normally isn't open that early, would get a full breakfast for 6�. The point the station officials were trying to make was that there would be 600 takers. Berchtold predicted there wouldn't be that many.
Fifty people were in line when the restaurant opened at 6 a.m., and more followed quickly. The bargain-seekers included a lot of night people, not all of them basketball fans. Among those who partook of the 6� breakfast, which consisted of scrambled eggs, sausages, hash browns, cinnamon rolls, orange juice, gin fizzes and all the coffee one could drink, were a dozen nurses from the night shift at Good Samaritan Hospital. One of them, Carol Newman, said they learned of the offer from patients. "They were all watching the game," she said. "We couldn't get any of them to go to sleep, especially that guy in 52." Patrick Fetsch, a student at Portland State University, showed up with a date and said, "It's not very often I can take a lady friend out and wine and dine her for 12�. I guess I'm the last of the big-time spenders." Said Doris Hall, after driving 15 miles to the restaurant, "I was astounded when I heard it on TV. I'm a nocturnal person. I don't normally get up until noon. But I wouldn't have missed this."
But Berchtold turned out to be right. When 9 a.m. arrived, "only" 475 people had taken advantage of the breakfast offer, this despite the fact that radio stations had carried news of the 6� breakfast throughout the morning. "We didn't even reach 600," Berchtold said. "If more people had been watching that game, they would've been knocking down the doors." To be sure, the crush of business may have been more than enough for one of the restaurant's waitresses. When a customer arrived at 8:30 a.m. and asked, "Are you still having the basketball breakfast?" she wearily replied, "We're all out of basketballs, but we still have food."
THIS SPUD'S FOR YOU
Ed Myers, the catcher for Fredonia ( Ariz.) High, cocked his arm and let fly in an apparent attempt to pick Ash Fork High's Bill Robertson off third. The throw sailed into leftfield, and Robertson trotted home for what looked like a certain run, only to be tagged out by Myers. A stunned Robertson demanded, "Where'd you get that ball?"
The ball had been hidden in Myers' mitt all along. What the catcher had thrown into leftfield was a potato. The Fredonia boys had been schooled in the hidden potato trick by Coach Clint Long, who said he'd always wanted to try it after hearing tales about its having once been pulled, date and details unknown, in a major league game. The trick worked beyond Long's fondest expectations. The spud shattered on impact, and the Fredonia leftfielder quickly ate most of the evidence, effectively foiling efforts by the umpires to collect incriminating fragments. Ash Fork Coach Lynn Painter protested, but Long stumped the huddled umps by asking, gloatingly, "Is there anything in the rule book that says you can't fire a potato into leftfield?" To keep the peace, Long finally relented and allowed the home plate umpire, who had called Robertson out, to reverse himself. After the game, which his team won 18-7, a thoroughly satisfied Long confided that Myers had bought the potato for 20�. "He was looking for a good throwing potato," the coach said.
TROUTISH ON AMERICA