Astronaut Mike Collins, in New Orleans for Mike Collins Day, was the soul of diplomacy before the Oilers-Saints exhibition game, which the Oilers won 30-14 after a halftime fireworks show featuring the lift-off of Apollo 11, the moon landing and a giant portrait of Collins. Asked whom he would be rooting for, Collins replied, "Would a 'no comment' be all right?" New Orleans, you see, bills itself as Collins' "adopted home town," and his father, Major General James Lawton Collins, was born across the Mississippi in Algiers, La. But Houston, of course, is the home of NASA. Mike Collins gave himself away when he jumped up and almost cheered after Oiler Quarterback Pete Beathard completed a long pass. Referring to two bad breaks, Saints' Coach Tom Fears said "it was a black-cat night for us"—-devilishly appropriate when you consider that Collins was born on Halloween.
A group of Texas athletes got jobs this summer as office workers in the state's General Land Office, which is salvaging several million dollars worth of treasure from Spanish galleons sunk off the Gulf Coast. One morning a truck arrived in Austin bearing some of the treasure and the boys learned why they were hired for office work. It took eight of them, including three from the University of Texas—football players Paul Kristynik and Travis Roach and basketball player Wayne Doyal—to hold each of six rare Lombard cannons, weighing 1,200 pounds apiece, upright in an undersized elevator as it rose to a third-floor vault. "They got all the strong backs and feeble minds for the job," said one athlete. "It was the slowest elevator I've ever ridden," said another.
Vacationing in Hot Springs, Ark. recently, Senator Fulbright played a round of golf and, having shot about 90, reflected that golf is man's most frustrating game. Still, he allowed, it has its compensations. "I've played football and a lot of other sports," he said, "and what makes golf different is that a sorry player like myself can hit a shot just as good as a good player." Besides, he added, "it keeps your mind off other problems." Golf, concluded the Senator, might even be the antidote to ease the world's tensions. "I am sponsoring a movement," he said, "to build a golf course in the Soviet Union. We will give them the course and free membership. If they ever get to competing at golf they'll really be distracted."
Bob Lanier, St. Bonaventure's 6'11" All-America center, was recently arraigned in City Court in Buffalo, N.Y. The charge: speeding. Acting as his own lawyer, Lanier pleaded innocent. Judge Ann T. Mikoll tried to arrange a trial date to suit Lanier. Lanier complained that it was a 60-mile drive from St. Bonaventure to Buffalo. Judge Mikoll said she thought he could make it and fixed a date. Said Lanier, "I won't be here, baby." Said the judge, "I am not your baby." Lanier was there and pleaded guilty. "Use your speed on the court," said the judge.
Dick Smothers, a motor sports buff who races whenever and wherever he can, popped up in St. Jovite, Quebec last weekend to drive a Formula B Chevron. Meanwhile, rumors have been popping up that CBS, which has virtually ignored motor sports, is looking for ways to increase its coverage. Aha! At least one Smothers brother could be back on CBS after all. And in the driver's seat at that.
The Mets are riding high, they may even win something, and whatever happened to Marvelous Marv Throneberry, whose claim to fame as the Amazins' first baseman in 1962 was an almost supernatural ability to misjudge pop flies, let throws carom off his glove and allow grounders to slip between his legs? Well, Throneberry does public relations work for a truck rental firm in Memphis, has become a Yankee fan and hasn't seen a major league game since he last played, after a fashion, in one. Actually, his reputation as a clown was less fact than fiction. Says Throneberry, a bit wistfully, "Baseball was always more of a job than a game or a pleasure."
Besides playing first base, a Chicago institution known as Ernie Banks owns a Ford agency, writes a column, does a TV sportscast and has now been appointed to the seven-man Chicago Transit Authority by Governor Richard Ogilvie. Said the grateful Banks: "Since the governor has honored me with this position, I promise to get him some World Series tickets." However, the governor may have a little more in mind. As Chicago Daily News columnist Mike Royko has written, Ogilvie is "a man of vision.... He has visions of Cub fans shouting 'Hey-Hey Ogilvie!' as they file into the voting booth and visions of a beaming Banks at his side when he campaigns for re-election in black neighborhoods."
"In baseball a home run is a home run, a dropped ball is a dropped ball, a stolen base is a stolen base...." The speaker was Frank Reynolds, the ABC-TV news commentator, and he was lamenting the lack of clarity in general news as compared to sports news, which he found "easy to comprehend." Said Reynolds: "It is possible that one reason for the tremendous interest in sports these days is that so much of the other current news seems to make no sense." How about the shenanigans of the NCAA, the AAU, the IOC and the ABA, Reynolds?