To Avoid an Argument
To avoid an argument the New York Nationals, regardless of what the rule specifies, will be admitted as the fifth club in the playoff series to decide the championship of the American Soccer League. That was the decision of the weak-kneed executives of the circuit at a meeting held in Boston last night. The league has been accused of taking peculiar stands in certain matters where influence and partiality seem to hold sway, but never any in comparison as ridiculous as the action to admit the New York Nationals into the select set to battle for the title. Insofar as arguments are concerned, the rule in the bylaws is such that there could absolutely be no argument on the issue. However, Stoneham, new owner of the Nationals, wants his club in the running for the league title and because his representative, Mr. Viberg, has carried the plea to the league executives the latter acquiesced to avoid an "argument."
A Slap at the Other Club
Other clubs in the league not included in the playoffs can hardly view this action in a favorable light. Nat Agar, the stormy petrel of the circuit, has a kick and one back up with heavier and more substantial argument than the Nationals if the rule is to be adhered to. It is specifically stated that the club having the highest percentage in either the first or second half is the club to be admitted in the playoff. IF Mr. Cunningham and his cohorts scan the percentage tables they will find that on the whole the Brooklyn club can produce far better figures than the Nationals. It would seem that if the executives had an inclination to deviate in their interpretation of the rule and admit a fifth club that a fairer method would have been to take the average of the clubs for the entire season. Brooklyn in the first half had a better average than the Nationals in the second half and a far better average in the second half than the Nationals compiled in the first half. For the enlightenment of the parties interested and to reveal the business methods of the league executives, Brooklyn's averages at the end of both half seasons was: 603, first half; .420, second half. Nationals: 283, first half; 583, second half.
The Nationals horning their way into the playoff is nothing short of a gross injustice to the clubs not included in this round robin series. Bethlehem goes into this series as the fourth club, qualifying on merit. The Nationals come in through favoritism, influence or some other drag and not because their campaigning merited choice. In the first half of the season the Nationals were a cellar club. It was their fortune to strengthen from time to time until the team was developed to a winning club. The rule has been ignored and it might be suggested that in the future the rule book might just as well be thrown away for with this action as a precedent clubs in the league can have little respect for rules. If big league baseball was conducted in this slip shod manner the major pastime would have been on the rocks long ago.
Now For the Jolt
It is understood that the powers that be are under the impression that Bethlehem, being drawn to meet the Nationals in the first round of the series will play its home games in Brooklyn, New York City, or perhaps in Philadelphia. Also that the second game which must be played on or before June 6 with the Nationals the choice of home grounds, and to be a twilight game. Somebody is due for a rude jolt when Bethlehem notified the league of its decision. The home game for the Steelmen will be played right here in their own back yard. Lehigh Field, corner Elizabeth Avenue and Center Street, and on Monday afternoon with the kickoff promptly at 5:30 o'clock. Bethlehem has no choice in the matter of grounds for the second game but will be firm in its demand that this contest will not be played by means of artificial light.