Page:America's National Game (1911).djvu/253

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223
AMERICA'S NATIONAL GAME

majority, dying in infancy. As it was, the game made slow progress, not many new clubs were organized, while financial failures attended most ventures in a professional way. Not all League clubs lost money, but most of them did, and the gambling element was in high feather because of its assurance that the old order of things would soon be reinstated.

However, the League managers were immovable in their determination that the game should be kept clean and honest. Every case requiring discipline, whether of club or player, received it promptly, and in allopathic doses. So far as the executive heads of offending clubs were concerned, had they been rolling in wealth, no more unyielding temper could have been displayed by the League management. The effect was just what had been intended and hoped for. Confidence, always quick to take alarm in times of trouble and fly away, began slowly to return. It was evidenced in 1878 by an unexpected increase in the number of new clubs organized throughout the country, by unwonted interest and approval on the part of the press, and by revived activity at the turnstiles.

This renewed interest in the sport was doubtless due in part to certain changes introduced in the game itself under League control. Players and managers had been alike agreed for some time that the use of a "lively ball," that is, one containing so much rubber as to cause the sphere to bound inordinately, was prejudicial to the best presentation of the game. It made the exhibitions too long. Nightfall saw many contests unfinished that had