BRIDGE: IN MY OPINION
Congratulations on the addition of Mr. Goren to your excellent staff. I'll venture to say that the budget problem of the U.S. Post Office will disappear. Your weekly mail will no doubt soar to unbelievable amounts due to the highly controversial subject of bridge.
I should like to question Mr. Goren's first commandment of the pre-emptive two-spade bid, which, in this illustration, would appear to confuse South's partner. Also, I would question whether it is pre-emptive enough to prevent East and West from arriving at a game contract. In my unauthoritative opinion, the rule of three and two, down three unvulnerable or two vulnerable applies. South has six sure spade tricks and one diamond in the king, since East, surely holding the ace, cannot finesse South. With seven sure tricks and 100 honors in spades, isn't three spades vulnerable or four spades unvulnerable the proper bid in this case? If North and South are doubled, the most they can lose is 400 points and North might have some help for partner.
JOHN S. SPEAR
•South, if he plays the hand, will undoubtedly win six spade tricks, but there is no guarantee he will win the diamond king. Assuming that East does hold the diamond ace, South, to establish his king, must either receive a diamond lead from West (don't count on it) or play a diamond through East. If North holds Spades 6 3; Hearts K 10 9 4 3; Diamonds 9 8; Clubs K 9 8 2, South will find it difficult to reach the board. If North does not hold the club king, reaching the board will be impossible. Therefore, South will lose seven tricks. At a nonvulnerable four spades, doubled—minus honors—the loss is 600 points. At a vulnerable three spades, doubled, the loss is 700 points. Pretty expensive.—ED.
BRIDGE: SOUTHERN EXPOSURE
For four years, my brother, now 12, and myself, 14, have been playing bridge with our parents. I have read with interest My Ten New Commandments (SI, Sept. 16) and I thank you for a fine article. One thing troubles me. That is the fact that in Hand 6 Mr. Goren advises a jump to game in a major suit after a raise, with 19 points in your hand. He tells South to go to game, yet South, as far as I can see, only has 18 points. Can't I count or is there a reason for this move?
•There are only 18 points, Mr. Hayes—17 in high cards, one for the double-ton. But when North replies with two spades, South adds a point for his five-card trump suit. If he held a six-card trump suit, he could add two.—ED.
BASEBALL: WHY, OH WHY?
Being a Redleg fan, I read with great interest, and a lump in my throat, Mr. Creamer's fine article (Wreck of the Red-legs, SI, Sept. 9).
Baseball is considered big business. It certainly follows that it should conduct itself accordingly.
Why, oh why, didn't the powers that be in the Redleg camp do something last spring, before the season began, regarding the pitching staff? They certainly must have known, or at least strongly suspected, that this group wasn't all it should be!
The fact that nothing was done at that time seems to be shockingly poor business judgment on their part. It's unbelievable that pitchers are that hard to come by.
At times, watching them on television was more than one could bear. It seemed like such a waste of superb talent to see them so humiliated by inferior teams.
Birdie Tebbetts has done a wonderful job this year with the material he's had available. If he's cried himself to sleep a few-times it's understandable.
The old saying, "You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear," certainly applies, and no group of people is more sorry this is true than the people in this general area.
BASEBALL: SHARE THE BLAME
As a good Cincinnati fan, I have been seeking a logical explanation for the misfortunes which have befallen my favorite ball club. But I cannot accept the diagnosis offered by Robert Creamer in which he lays the entire blame on the pitching staff.
On June 1, the Reds barbecued the Cubs 22-2. They were in first place by 2½ games and everything looked rosy. The next day they split a double-header with the Cubs. Then the termites got into the bat rack. They went three weeks without scoring over four runs in a game and their average was well under three. That they managed to win enough games to stay in contention during this stretch was due solely to the fact that they got much better pitching than they had any reason to expect.
A check of the records would show that in the 100 or so games played since June 1, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Brooklyn and New York have all scored more runs per game than Birdie's Bombers have.
When you have the eighth-best pitching staff and the fifth-best run production, tragedy is the only possible result. But the hitters pooped out first.
I am a great fan of Mrs. Dorothy Knode. I was sorry that she did not receive any recognition in your magazine when she won in Philadelphia several weeks ago. Since I have never seen a closeup of her, I was sorry that you did not print one.
THOMAS W. FRENCH
•Mrs. Knode, a Californian now living 10 blocks from the West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills, N.Y., is the mother of a 3-year-old daughter and played so convincingly in the just-completed Women's Singles championship that she will probably advance from her current rating of sixth-best woman player to third or fourth.—ED.
The commissioner will frown on this, but, unofficially, I might ask someone to consider the gift of a Norge home freezer to the winner of your Bounce Average (E & D, Aug. 19), the new baseball statistic. The reason might be that "he'd be most in need of cooling off."
A. J. TOBIN
•Final compilation of the Bounce Average of umpires in both leagues will be presented shortly after the close of the regular season.—ED.
DUBLIN CINDER TRACK
I am enclosing a check in the amount of $25 which I would like to have you forward to the Dublin Cinder Track Fund, c/o Mr. Billy Morton.
This gift is made in recognition of Gerald Holland's fine story (McDonough's Magic Shovel, SI, July 22) describing the urgent need of a cinder track in Dublin.
CARL L. BROUGHTON