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September 07, 1973 - Image 10

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1973-09-07

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I I

Page Ten.

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Friday, September 7, 1973

,.. ... _ .._ t

ROZELLE AND KUHN PROTEST

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Ann Arbor

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Congress hits

336 South State Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48108

From Wire Service Reports
THE CONGRESS and the pro-
fessional sports establishment
edged closer to a decisive con-
frontation yesterday when NFL
Commissioner Pete Rozelle join-
ed Baseball Commissioner Bowie
Kuhn in denouncing proposals to
curtail television blackouts of lo-
cal sports contests.
The U. S: House Subcommittee
on Communications is studying a
proposal which would ban local
TV blackouts of home sports
events which are sold out 48
hours prior to gametime. A sim-
ilar initiative in the Senate has
been spearheaded by John Pas-
tore, Democrat from Rhode Is-
land and long-time blackout op-
ponent.
Pastore's bill, which would
ban hometown blackouts of pro-

fessional .,sports for all games
sold out 72 hours in advance, was
approved yesterday 76-6 by the
Senate. If passed by the House
and signed by the President, it
would expire one year after pas-
sage, allowing Congress to check
out claims by professional sports
that such a move will inevitably
cut attendance.
R O Z E L L E CLAIMED
that there is no question that a
ban on local television black-
outs would damage pro football.
"The only realistic issue is now
damaging . . . and how soon
these damaging effects will be
felt," he remarked in testimony
before the House Subcommittee.
Earlier, Kuhn had expressed
baseball opposition to blackout
limitations, claiming that such a
bill would undermine the sport.

APR
ijUITAR

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BeCinners L SIGN UPNOWFOROUR6WEEK
CLASS. Learn to play a song the

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lackouts
He opposed any law "that would
compel any sport to make games
available under , any circum-
stances. That decision should re-
main with the individual clubs."
Not all Congressman have
been particularly impressed by
the sports magnates' testimony.
Representative Torbert H. Mc-
Donald of Massachusetts blasted
Kuhn's statement as "typical of
baseball. Don't rock the boat.
Just leave it like it is, like it
has been since Doubleday."
CONGRESSIONAL observers
rate the chances of some form
of blackout legislation passing
the Congress this session as quite
high. The action of the Senate in
passing the Pastore bill added
strength to their position.
Credit - if you want to call it
that - for the local TV blackout
of home games is generally giv-
en to the late Bert Bell, former
commissioner of the National
Football League. Bell reasoned,
quitesaccurately, that if home
games could be made inacces-
sible to local television, game at-
tendance would increase.
Since the local TV blackout
was imposed, professional foot-
ball attendance has soared.
Many franchises have no trouble
selling out for all home games,
and have been able to compel
season ticket holders to purchase
exhibition game tickets in order
to beablesto attend regular sea-
son games. Baseball, which has
generally not followed such a
stringent policy, has not done
nearly so well as football in game
attendance during this period.
IN SOME AREAS, football
season tickets are considered so
valuable that the rights to pur-
chase them have been written
into ticket-holders' wills. Many
less fortunate people spend sev-
eral hours driving beyond the
blackout area to view their fav-.
orites on television.

s
1

I +

"To the people who run baseball, colorful means wearing your
cap at a jaunty angle"-Jim Bouton in "Ball Four"
"Billy did a great job from foul line to foul line"-Tiger
General Manager Jim Campbell

tI

very

first lesson.

The Martin axing ...
... sad for the game

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- Ste o ,
89.5 S tereo

As almost everybody knows, the Tigers dropped a bombshell
Sunday when they canned their rogueish manager, Billy
Martin. Martin, whose exploits in a variety of fields attracted the
ire of baseball's ossified establishment, was axed not because
he couldn't control his team, but because he couldn't control
himself.
Although most of Detroit's "leading" sports journalists found
the move both inevitable and fundamentally correct, the majority
of the Tiger faithful have condemned the move.
They should. Despite claims in some quarters that Martin
lost control of the club, Billy was. the architect of Detroit's dar-
lings.
With baseball in grave danger of forfeiting its title of
"National Pastime", the dismissal of a popular manager is
likely to send the sport's popularity plummeting and the
sport's patrons heading to buy football tickets.
One reason that baseball, despite an upsurge of late, is suf-
fering is that the "characters" that once made the game
charming are being removed. No Dizzy Deans, Rocky Bridges or
even Billy Martins remain. Stale corporate images, such as
Campbell. seemingly desires, may be neat and clean, but they
sure as hell don't stimulate the customers or arouse fan loyalty.
r Martin's forte was that he gave a personal touch to a sport
which is rapidly becoming innocuous. Despite allegations that
Martin was irresponsible, that he "went too far" by knocking
an organization that desperately needs constructive criticism no
matter -how stern, the real issue in the Martin case is whether
baseball will - or can - allow sparks of life to come to the
front.
Martin gave the 'Tigers a distinctive flair. A bunch of
losers during their last year under Mayo Smith and branded
"Geritol set" by sportswriters throughout the league, the
Tigers evolved under his tutelage into a conglomeration of
Damon Runyon characters. Their three season fight against
the odds just barely fell short.
Yet even though Martin packed rickety Tiger Stadium, even
though he created a team that Detroiters could identify with, even
though he still commands loyalty with key players on the squad,
even though he took a stand on the spitter that a ball club should
have supported; Jim Campbell couldn't take it.
A manager's job, Campbell and Detroit press to the con-
trary, is to A) win ball games and B) protect .his players. Martin
may not have been in the genteel tradition,. but he was effective
and all the outmoded Organization Man notions of the Tiger front
office will not change that.
The Detroit franchise - unlike the Detroit fans - has
traditionally been uncomfortable with charismatic figures
within the ranks. The Ty Cobbs, Mickey Cochranes, Hank
Greenbergs, Rocky Colavitos and Harry Heilmanns were cast
loose by the organization at the first sign that their talents
were fading, while more staid figures such as Charley Geh-
ringer and Al Kaline have been permitted to play out the
string at Michigan and Trumbull. The result has been pre-
dictable: a team which is often fun to watch, generally fih-
ishes in the first division, but more often than not disap-
points the fans by never "putting it all together."
Martin is sure to catch on with another club-he has, that
baseball savvy that will make him attractive. It will be a shamge
if Billy decides that wearing his hat at a jaunty angle is excite-
ment enough.

4

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.

MASS MEETING
For the Gilbert and Sullivan Society's
area premiere of
The Grand Duke
SEPTEMBER 9th-8 p.m.
FACULTY LOUNGE - MICHIGAN UNION

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