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WEEK OF INDECISION
As news stories waned on the Meeting at the Summit last week, readers began to discover another meeting on another summit where the Big Four had been replaced by the Big Five. There were no Eisenhowers, Bulganins, Edens or Faures in the cast, but the names involved were, to many Americans, even more familiar: White Sox, Yankees, Indians, Red Sox and Tigers. Geneva had given way to the American League, which was having its hottest pennant race in 15 years.
The standings and events in no way reflected the preseason odds ( Cleveland even money, New York 6-5, Chicago 5-1, Boston and Detroit 20-1). In one seven-day period the lead changed three times, and no one was ready to predict what would happen in the next seven days—or by then which of the five teams would be ahead. It was as close as that. No less an authority than Casey Stengel believed that any team which could win eight in a row could start printing up World Series tickets. "But nobody can do it," the grizzled Yankee manager growled. "The rest of 'em won't let you."
Perhaps nowhere was the electrical excitement of the pennant fight more evident than in the air which surrounded Manager Slats Marion of the White Sox. As his team rolled into New York to win two out of three from the Yankees and—for the second time in a week—take over first place by a decimal, the quiet man of the White Sox argued every questionable play with the umpires, moved around the dugout like a caged panther and held court in his dressing room offices before an unending stream of newsmen, photographers and radio people.
"I guess this sudden popularity goes with first place," Marion grinned. "It's kind of unnerving—but I hope it lasts all summer."
NOTES IN MIDSUMMER
The American League race has entered a period of crisis whose outcome no man can foresee, and properly enough the attention of the U.S. is concentrated on baseball. Yet here and there are absorbed individuals, many thousands of them, who continue in their own unique sporting ventures, untroubled by the lack of public interest in their victories or defeats. Near Los Angeles some of these dedicated souls are flocking to a newly opened, drive-in, do-it-yourself rodeo, where, for $3, they can try to rope a steer. In Madrid, an enterprising innkeeper has opened a bullring for tourists; for $17.50 a visitor can fight an inexperienced animal and for $12.50 one that has been in the ring before. In Portland, Ore. boys and girls 9 to 13 are playing daily matches of bicycle polo.
The bear hunting season for archers opened in California's Los Angeles County. Up in Humboldt County there is no closed season and no limit; a hunter can bring in all the bears he wants, provided he will use bow and arrow alone and will not take firearms into the woods with him.
The International Junior Champion Chess Tournament was under way in Antwerp, for contestants under 21, with the Russian contender, Boris Spassky, hard pressed by Edmar Mednis of The Bronx, 17. Mednis paid his own fare, aided by friends who scraped together $360, which left him $15 for expenses. Two great roller-skating tournaments were rolling in Toledo, Ohio and Mineola, Long Island. Fishing boats were setting out each day for the bluefish run off the Jersey coast, and feelings ran so high that the captain of the Ebbie II was charged with having fired a 20-gauge shotgun across the bows of the Henrietta III, the Swordfish and the Seaspray, to warn them off his bluefish chumming grounds. The Campbell's Soup people began to promote in sporting circles a drink called soup on the rocks, consisting of beef bouillon poured over ice cubes, and garnished with lemon peel, mint or cucumber. In the San Juan Islands of the Pacific Northwest farmers hunted the five-pound rabbits that have become a pest—two men ride in stripped-down jalopies over the trackless fields at night, one operating a searchlight, the other a salmon net affixed to an eight-foot pole—a game expected to bring in 10,000 live, edible rabbits this summer. It's valuable also, since some naturalists solemnly affirm that the San Juan rabbits are so big and multiply so fast that they could destroy American agriculture if they ever reached the mainland. In Cedar Rapids, Iowa kids who read 10 library books get free ball game tickets.
And in France authorities worried because an old-time flyer named Jean Salis (he was the first man to fly over Mont Blanc) has built a replica of the plane in which Bl�riot first crossed the Channel, and has just duplicated Bl�riot's flight. The authorities worried because another replica has been built, and they foresee a vogue for old planes like that for old automobiles.