New York Post

July 18, 1974

By Paul Zimmerman

The Stars Shone Dimly

The old boilers didn't blow up and everyone had hot showers last night, which, for Randalls Island is an upset. And no one got mugged outside Downing Stadium after the Stars' 32-29 loss to Birmingham, and the traffic wasn't too bad, considering the game was played at the end of the world.

They had a problem with the lights of course. The dimmers were on for the game, and 10 passes were dropped in the gloaming.

"It was worse in the first half," said Birmingham quarterback George Mira, whose receivers dropped seven of his throws. "Then everyone's eyes sort of got adjusted to the dim light and things were better."

"Randalls Island has the lights," said Charley Grossberger, the Stars' Director of special projects. "There were $110,000 worth of lights stored away. The problem was getting Parks Department people to install them. They just couldn't do it in time."

Two hours before kickoff, it was determined that there wasn't enough sideline benches, and a massive hunt was organized to find some in the stadium's inner recesses. They never made it to the field, but it didn't matter, because most of the players stood up on the sidelines anyway.

At 6:30 p.m., an hour and a half before the game, turnstiles were being carted out of the stadium and set up front of the main entrance.

"Those things haven't been used in 30 years," said John Mastandrea, the Senior Supervisor at Randalls Island, "and all of a sudden they decide they're going to use them.

"I'm worried about what's going to happen when they finally plug in everything here. They're liable to blow the whole island."

A minor crisis arose early in the evening when it was discovered that Parks Department employees and maintenance men had used up all of the spaces allotted in the official parking lot.

"Their cars were here at 8 o'clock this morning, and they never moved them," Grossberger said.

Stars' owner Bob Schmertz did not see the team's home opener. He was rumored to be in California on business.

...Best kept secret of the week was ankle injury suffered by starting wide receiver Al Young. He was taken off the active roster two hours before kickoff. The injury was not reported to the league office, but then there's no rule that says you have to.

* * *

Neatest defensive play of the night came in the first quarter when Stars' Gerry Philbin foiled a bit of Birmingham razzle-dazzle by stealing the ball out of the hands of reserve QB Denny Duron.

Duron was in at a flanker in a two-quarterback backfield. He got the ball on a double reverse, and he was looking to pass when Philbin wrestled the ball out of his hands.

"I just pulled his arms apart and the ball went up in the air," said Philbin, the ex-Jet. "We both grabbed it, but I was stronger."