BASEBALL: FAIR ALL AROUND
I am deeply appreciative of the way Robert Creamer presented the Trouble in Detroit (SI, Aug. 19). It was more than fair to me and doubly fair to my players, and the players, too, are most thankful.
We have awakened a bit of late and are playing better baseball—we may even make third.
Your article is the most accurate appraisal of our ailments that I have read.
JOHN J. McHALE
We have had so many wild shots on the reason for our failures that it was a pleasure to read a well-thought-out story. Actually, it looks like we are going better, and higher realms are not beyond reality.
NEAL K. (DOC) FENKELL
N.Y. TO L.A. (CONT): WIN OR LOSE
In THE 19TH HOLE, August 19, Martha Tunstall accuses Los Angeles of being able to support only a front-runner.
Last year the L.A. Angels won the pennant in a runaway, but this year they are floundering around in only sixth place, yet the attendance has climbed well over last year's mark at this time.
In the 1956 season big Steve Bilko of L.A. was tearing up the league in every department, except pitching, and won the triple crown with 55 homers. He is not nearly so spectacular this year, but the fans are still out to see him.
Give us a winner or a loser, and we'll support it!
San Gabriel, Calif.
N.Y. TO L.A. (CONT.): BIG AS ALL OUTDOORS
We are not a captive audience out here, as the fans in the East are. If we want recreation or entertainment it is no problem to drive a hundred or two hundred miles for anything from water skiing to jack-rabbit hunting. We have the finest beaches available, beautiful parks, riding trails and fine roads. We have backyard barbecues available most of the year, indoor pools open to the public and ski runs within half a day's drive.
Why should we take a second-rate bunch of bums that New York won't support any longer? The Pirates probably mean something to the fans of Pittsburgh and Martha Tunstall. But these Dodgers are only the East Coast's castoffs. They want us to build them a baseball park from our tax money, and then they want to sell televised games.
In other words, these big leaguers, so called, are coming out here after our dollar, offering nothing and playing us for suckers. I for one probably won't support them. There are too many other ways to spend my time without being played for a sucker.
Santa Monica, Calif.
N.Y. TO L.A. (CONT.): WESTERN EXPOSURE
Los Angeles fans expect a winner because we have been exposed to consistent winners in the sports that we do have now. Our two colleges, USC and UCLA, are among the best in the nation in their athletic programs. Even our minor league teams are among the winners. Our pro football team also is a constant contender.
If I were that fan in Pittsburgh, I'd worry about the Pirates and let Mr. O'Malley and L.A. worry about the Dodgers. As for the smog—I'm quite certain that the Dodgers and the L.A. fans know the difference between first-class smog and that pitiful eighth-class smog.
Van Nuys, Calif.
WATER SKIING: AND AWAY WE GO
I was fascinated by your water ski article (All About Water Skiing, SI, Aug. 19), and I wondered if you could tell me the proper way to fasten the tow rope to the boat so that I can get the best ride.
H. A. KING
•Bruce Parker advises that a bridle should be made at the towing end of the rope and the ends fastened to eye-bolts drilled through the transom, as shown in the drawing above. The bolts should be 3 inches below the top of the transom and 3 inches out on each side from the shaft of the propeller. Do not fasten the ends of the bridle to the carrying handles, because the skier in this way obtains so much leverage on the boat that he seriously affects the steering.—ED.
HYDROS: OF TIME AND THE RIVER
I've got to challenge SPORTS ILLUSTRATED on two statements made by Mort Lund in his Gold Cup PREVIEW (SI, Aug. 12).
Lund said: "The first Rolls [engine] to go into an unlimited went into Slo-Mo-V in 1953." Now, ain't it a fact that the Miss Canada boats carried Rolls-Royce Merlins? These boats raced on the Detroit River in Silver Cup, Henry Ford Memorial, Gold Cup and Harmsworth races for years and were the last word in hydroplanes with graduated steps.
And, talking about hydroplanes, Mr. Lund is being very general. He calls the Gold Cup racers "hydro racers." True, the general public may accept this, but not the Detroit River Rats Association (there really is such a group, clubhouse and all). Hydroplanes, unlike the Shanty, have steps on their hulls which permit, at varying speeds, a boat to "get up" and plane. Boats like the Shanty and just about every other craft you mentioned are three-point suspension boats, having, for planing surfaces, two bow sponsons and a planing surface aft.
•Mr. Knight is right. The Miss Canada boats in the 1940s were equipped with Rolls-Royce engines to comply with the Harmsworth rule specifying that the entire boat must be a product of the entering country. SPORTS ILLUSTRATED should have amplified its statement by saying that 1953 was the first year in which the Rolls engine was used in an American boat. As to the distinction between three-point suspension boats and hydros, the term hydroplane has come to serve them all, although purists like the Detroit River Rats may allow themselves the distinction of calling stepped-hull boats "step hydros."—ED.
GOLF: DO IT YOURSELF
We are planning to build a home, and would like to include a regulation putting green. Could you advise where we can get information on this subject?
EVELYN I. WEBSTER
•If Mrs. Webster wants to start from scratch, she will first have to strip the topsoil and contour the green area according to her inclination. Then the area must be covered with topsoil that has enough sand to allow water to percolate through, sufficient organic materials to hold the water and enough clay to hold its contours. Finally the surface should be graded, fertilized and seeded either with Colonial Bent seed (for thin texture) or Velvet Bent seed (thick) or Creeping Bent seed (coarse). A short cut used by Lowell Thomas on his course (SI, Aug. 12) is to buy greenhouse turf and transplant this to the stripped and graded area. If Mrs. Webster needs further details, she should write to Mitchell Bros., North Sutton, N.H.—ED.