a I ra" I v.,,,I--j- - L- -L1 We nes Iy - Jun),-197
ImH ARMono^ v nIY
Wednesday, June S, 1974
BY GIEOElGE Tigers,
George Hastings i S rn
World Team Tenn Is . . . i hWeeosi
. .. here to stay?
A READER PAGING through the sports page of his news-
paper this summer might just run into something strange-
a set of standings with the league initials "WTT" atop them. This
year, for the first time since 1946, a professional league was
founded in a sport in which nobody had ever tried it before, and
the result has been World Team Tennis.
Today, the new league is a month old. It drew a lot of pub-
licity and some big crowds when it first opened, but since then
the novelty has begun to wear off, and it seems fair to ask where
this new professional sport is going.
So far, attendance has gone pretty much as expected. The
kick-off matches, especially the very first one in Philadelphia fea-
turing Billy Jean King, were greeted by some fairly large groups
of fans. Since then, however, the crowd numbers have receded
throughout the league, below the point at which the owners claim
to be able to make money.
In Detroit, for example, the Loves played before 3,600 fans
the first evening, but with one exception the crowds have been
between 900 and 2100. With the number of people in the Detroit
area who play tennis, this would seem like a low number.
On the other hand, the quality of the sport as a spectator
event for the fans who do come has been exceedingly good. The
format the new league has adopted, despite all the criticism from
th staid tennis elite, has been a success.
The simplified scoring system has made for more drama and
a briefer match. Games can be decided by one point - there is
no deuce or advantage, and games don't drag on. That rule, plus
the fact that every game played makes a difference in the final
standings (in other words, it helps your team much more to win
6-0 than to win 7-6), forces the players to give their all on every
point. There is no holding back or pacing oneself.
The league also showed very early in the going that it was
enlightened enough to make the necessary changes to make the
sport a viabl spectator event. When the owners found that the
matches were dragging on too long, they cut the number of sets
from six to five, chopping a good half hour off every match and
leaving a reasonable two-to-two and a half hour affair.
But the most important thing, of course, is the quality of the
play itself-and there the league, at least in Detroit, has shined.
In the WTT, the best players in the world - the Billie Jean Kings,
the John Newcombes, the Jimmy Connors, and the Roemary
Casals - are playing top flight tennis every day in arenas that
millions of tennis buffs can easily get to.
The players, clearly, are behind the league, and that is one
of its greatest strengths. The big names are willing to do a little
extra to make the sport work, even if it means adding a little
hokum for the benefit of the paying customers.
When highly ranked players Tom Okker and Ion Tiriac came
into town, they both hammed it up, playing their rolls as hot-
headed Europeans to the hilt. When Newcombe came in, he stayed
on the bench afterward and signed hundreds of autographs. All
the players have been willing to take time and talk with the
members of the press.
Naturally, the doonisayers are
already out in full force, pre-
dicting that the league will not
last for another season. And
they are correct in saying that
the financial losses the owners
are going to suffer this year
will make them think twice
about continuing the business.
a But on the other hand, there
are some wealthy people be-
hind World Team Tennis with
enough money and patience to
sit out two or three years of
red ink in hopes that the league
will catch on. If they do, the
crowds might just start coming.
There are a lot of people in
America pl-ying tennis, and
more take it no '-ery day -
they will notice if the WTT
continues to play top flight, ex-
After all, in 1946 they said
the National B-sketball Associa-
tion would not last either.
PHILADELPHIA 0P) -- Hank
Aaron belted his 16th grand
slam home run last night in the
seventh inning of the Atlanta
Braves' 7-3 victory over the
Philadelphia Phillies. The 16th n
grand slam put Aaron one
ahead of Willie McCovey on the
National League list. Lou Geh-
rig, New York Yankee great,
holds the major league record GRIMACING IN PAIN, Oakl
with 23. the 11th annual Shrine night
By The Associated Press
DETROIT-A two-run double
by Aurelio Rodriguez climaxed
a four-run first inning that car-
ried the Detroit Tigers to a 4-1
victory over the Oakland A's
and a split o ftheir twi-night
Oakland took the first game
4-0 behind the three-hit pitch-
ing of Ken Holtzman.
THE TIGERS gave Lerrin
LaGrow, 4-4, all the runs he
needed in the first inning of the
second game. Leadoff man Ron
Cash was safe at second on a
throwing error by Dick Green
and scored on Gary Suther-
Mickey Stanley then walked
and Dick Sharon hit a bloop
single over second base, scoring
Sutherland. The runners moved
up on a wild pitch, then Rod-
riguez blasted relief pitcher
Paul Lindblad's first pitch.
The A's got their only run
W L Pet. GB
Boston 28 23 .548 -
Mlwaukee 25 22 .531 1
Baltoere 24 It.478 3x
Clev-eland 24 21 .4781312
Detroit 24 2I .487 3Y.
New York 25 28 .471 4
Oakland 30 21 .589 -
Kansas City 26 25 .509 3Y,
Texas 21 25 .509 3Y2a
Chirago 2 23 .100 4
California 24 28 .462 6
Minnesota 21 26 .448 6
Oakland 4-1, Detroit 0-4
Chsicato 9, New York 2
Texas 9, Cleveland0, orfeit
Kansas City 8, Baltimore 0
Milwaukee 4, California 3
Boston 4, Minnesota 3, 11 inn.
Texas (Bibby 7-6) at Cleveland
(Johnson 2-2), night.
Kansas City (Dal Canton 3-3) at
Baltimore (McNally 4.4), night.
Oakland (B~lue 4-5) at Detroit
(Coleman 6-6), 8 p.m.
California (Ryan 7-5) at Milwau-
kee (Slaton 6-6), night.
Btoston (Tiant I-I) at Minnesota
(Goltz 3-0), night.
New York (Tidrow 4-6 at Chicago
(Pliock 2-0), night.
off LaGrow in the first oa sin-
gles by Sal Bando, ReggieJack-
son and Deron Johnson.
HOLTZMAN handcuffed the
the Tigers on three singles in
the opening game.
Bando drove in the first run
with a sacrifice fly in the first
inning, Ray Fosse slugged a
two run double in the fourth
and Joe Rudi's sixth homer of
the baseball season in the ninth
inning closed out the scorin.
W L Pet. Ga
St. Louis 21 22 .542 -
Philadelphia 28 24 .538 -
Montreal 22 21 .512 1Y
Chicago 19 76 .422 5T
New York 21 30 .412 6.
Pittsburgh 18 28 .391 7
Los Angeles 37 15 .712 -
Cincinnati 30 10 .60 6
Atlanta 21 24 .538 9
Houston 27 26 .509 10%
San Francisco 27 27 .500 11
San Diego 18 38 .321 21
Atlanta 7, Philadelphia 3
Cineinnati 6, New York 3, 10 inn.
Montreal 5, Houston 0
Pittsburgh at Los Angeles, Inc.
Chicago at San Diego, inc.
St. Louis at San Francisco, inc.
St. Louis (McGlothen 7-2) at San
Faracisco (Caldwell 7-3).
Atlanta txiekro 1-3) at Philadel-
phia (Lonborg 5-5), night
Montreal (Torrez 4-4) at Hous-
ton (Osteen 5-4), night.
Chicago (Hooton 2-5) at San
Diego (Palmer 0-0), night.
Pittsburgh( Roker 1-4) at Los
Angeles (Rau 5-1), night.
BALTIMORE - Al Fitzmorris
of Kansas City, given home run
support by John Mayberry and
Amos Otis who combined to
drive in five runs, checked Bal-
timore on three hits and hurled
the Royals to an 8-0 rout of the
Orioles last night.
Fitamorris, 5-2, with second
baseman Frank White contribut-
ing two fine fielding plays, faced
only two batters over the mini-
CLEVELAND - Last night's
baseball game between Texas
and the Cleveland Indians was
forfeited to the Rangers with
the score tied 5-5 in the bottom
of the ninth inning when unruly
Cleveland fans poured onto the
field after the Indians scored
the tying run.
The game goes into the books
as "a 9-0 Texas victory, but all
CHICAGO-Dick Allen blasted
his first grand slam homer in
the American L e a g u e and
Bucky Dent added a two-run
shot, powering the Chicago
White Sox and Wilbur Wood to a
9-2 victory over the New York
Yankees last night.
Allen's shot off loser Pat Dob-
son, 3-8, came with two out in
the fifth inning and put the
White Sox on top 5-2.
and catcher Gene Tenace (18) falls to the ground after spraining his ankle in tae frst game o
doubleheader at Tiger Stadium in Detroit. The A's won the opener, 4-0.