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But the sport was always scandalously expensive. A typical six-gun shoot required 10 full-time, all-year stalkers and gamekeepers to trap eagles and hawks and exterminate varmints. The Scotch themselves could not afford it. A century ago they began renting uncultivated and uncultivable land to the English gentry. The visiting English in turn paid the costs of beaters and loaders and all other expenses during the then three-month season. Bags were enormous. More than 2,900 grouse were brought down in one day on an eight-gun shoot. By 1910 each bird shot cost at least three shillings.
Now the economic problem works out like this: the moor owner gets perhaps �4,000 in rent, turns over �1,000 to the county in taxes, and pays �2,000 of the remainder to his skeleton staff (half prewar size) of year-round keepers and stalkers. The moor renter pays roughly another �3,000 for the expense of maintaining a six-gun shoot for six weeks as follows: 20 beaters at �1 a day (usually university students on vacation); 6 loaders; 6 pony men; 6 pannier ponies; 6 riding ponies; one bus to transport the beaters; one estate car; two jeeps; household help; food; supplies. So the total is apt to be around �7,000 or $20,000 in American money.
Thanks to visiting Americans who pay from �100 to �250 a week for the privilege of joining the shoots, some of the old moor-leasing gentry may nearly manage to balance their budgets this season. But it is doubtful whether Lagopus scoticus has ever been paid a more glistening economic compliment. His cost to the shooter—not counting the whisky to wash him down—may come as high as $30 a dish, eaten at breakfast, lunch and supper. Broiled and basted in his own juice, of course, Lagopus scoticus is a glorious bird.
BASEBALL IN A HURRY
On the theory that baseball is not the fastest game but need not be the slowest, the Louisville [Ky.] City Recreation Department organized four of its teen-age teams into an Experimental League, had them test 21 ideas designed to speed up ball games. After seven weeks of play they now offer these to Commissioner Ford Frick:
1) Every batter, even the pitcher, should be in the on-deck circle while the preceding batter is at the plate.
2) Once in the box, the batter ought to stay there. He should not step out to rub dirt on his hands, to look for signals from coaches or regain composure.
3) No more tossing the ball around the infield after an out.
4) The pitcher should take no more than 15 seconds or less than 10 (to guard the batter against sneak pitches) to deliver the ball.
5) On intentional walks, wave the batter to first. Forget about those four pitches.