The blackout in New York City seems to fit well within the depressing pattern of problems, sports and otherwise, that have beset the "Big Apple."
The All-Star Game will be played at Yankee Stadium Tuesday night (by the grace of Con Edison) and perhaps this will be a positive sports note.
This has surely been a summer of discontent in New York. The Yankees keep squabbling and the off-track betting parlors, according to the sports pundits, are making book on how long manager Billy Martin will keep his job.
Martin has been having another of those interminable soap-opera confrontations with his boss, George Steinbrenner, who already has performed a remarkable service by making many people forget about Charlie Finley. Martin doesn't like to take orders from his bosses. He has been fired three times already for insubordination. But he is a good manager who protects his players against managerment and the press.
That seems to be the rub - the press. It used to be that reporters who covered baseball got to know the players, their families, their problems. And players and reporters were great drinking buddies.
It's all different today. Walk into any major league clubhouse and it's like walking into an enemy camp. The players suddenly quiet down. One will yell: "Here comes Poison Pen." That's the nicest thing said about reporters.
But the Yankees, alone, aren't responsible for the hostility in New York. Everybody seems to be fighting everybody else.
The football Giants have moved to New Jersey. The Jets are unhappy with the stranglehold the Mets have on municipally owned Shea Stadium. Critics of the MEts single out M. Donald Grant, chairman of the board of the baseball team, as the heavy. They say the city of New York gave the Mets a "grant" in more meanings than one.
The Jet's problem is that until this year they never have been permitted to play even an exhibition game at home until the end of the Mets season.
The Nets basketball team also wants to move to New Jersey.
So far, there has been no sign that the hockey Rangers want to defect. But perhaps, there aren't many people who care. The Rangers haven't been a contender since the ice age.