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In the first game Pitcher Bob Buhl weakened badly in the late innings. Other Braves felt groggy from the effects of Brooklyn heat and humidity. Lacks set up the tanks in the dugout runway and invited trials. Buhl sampled it, thought it helped, and others followed. Since then Pitcher Gene Conley, Outfielder Bobby Thomson, Third Baseman Eddie Mathews and others have all become enthusiastic oxygen sniffers.
"On a hot day," says Lacks, "a pitcher just plain runs out of gas, so to speak. Well, here's something that will get him going again. The cause of fatigue is an oxygen deficit. A couple of whiffs of the gas combining with the hemoglobin passing through the lungs help oxygenate the blood. Oxygen balance is restored and fatigue disappears.
"In addition," says Lacks with a smile, "I think it has some psychological value."
Lacks believes the time will come when all major league teams will keep oxygen in the dugout. For the information of the Pittsburgh Pirates and other teams who may need a little oxygenating right away, a portable kit, similar to the one carried by the Braves, can be had at any medical supply house for about $125. Refill tanks cost about $3 and last a full hour with the valve wide open.
THE WRIGHT WAY
Belmont is considered one of the pleasantest of U.S. horse tracks but white-haired old Frank Lloyd Wright, the eminent modern architect, flinched visibly when he went to the races there one fine day last summer. In fact, as he looked out over the crowded apron, he was seized with an indignation quite similar to that which sent Physician Philippe Pinel marching into the bedlams of Paris in 1793 to strike the chains off the imprisoned lunatics. Wright grandly resolved to unchain the $2 bettor from what struck him as horrifying thralldom to convention and also, in passing, to give racing a "dignity and beauty" which he feels it has been denied.
"I was really shocked," he said, pacing his ornate suite at New York's Plaza Hotel last week. Wright, now 87, is a man of authoritative, even premier-like bearing. His shock of snowy hair was carefully combed; he wore a stiff collar with an old-fashioned black cravat and beautifully cut gray summer suit. "I couldn't imagine Belmont could have been that bad," he said.
"Oh," he added with a lenient wave, "they've done the best they could—but my God! That grandstand. Even the newest racing grandstands were all designed in England hundreds of years ago and haven't changed a bit since.
"Posts," he said. "The view is obscured. The seats! And if you want to bet, you have to walk all over the place and queue up. And if you're lucky you might even get back in time to see the race you've bet on. The grandstand is set back to make room for that mob of shirtsleeved people all down there stepping on each other's toes. You can't see the race properly from the grandstand and you can't see it properly from down below. They told me that all those fellows prefer to mill around. I can't say that I blame them if the alternative is sitting in the grandstand. Nothing has been done for the spectator's comfort."
With this he indicated a set of sketches of what he has entitled The New Sports Pavilion. "Here," he said, "is the thing that is needed at Belmont—at any race track. It is a thin plastic canopy suspended on a bridge—that is, by cables, by steel under tension, � la Roebling's Brooklyn Bridge—the whole slung independently of the great concrete slab which forms the seats. You have unobscured vision, and since there is room for 65,000 people, the seats will be immediately over the track and nobody will have to stand out in front.