ONLY YOU, ROONE ARLEDGE
Congratulations to SI, Roone Arledge and Gilbert Rogin on the perspicuous article, It's Sport, It's Money, It's TV (April 25). Television has had a staggering impact on sports, and it's time the relationship of the two was placed in perspective. More discussion on this subject would certainly be advantageous to both "industries."
St. Petersburg, Fla.
In his analysis of sports on television, Roone Arledge outlines certain characteristics that make a sport desirable to televise: 1) a pace and rhythm that create action or, at least an aura of anticipation; 2) a larger-than-life physical quality that can be conveyed to the viewer by use of the closeup; and 3) a structure to the event that provides time-outs or breaks to get the commercials in. I submit that he has given us a fine definition of boxing. Has he thought of bringing this sport back to us?
Thank you for giving us Roone Arledge's view of sports and TV, but I hope he will take a closer look at hockey. A spectator's attention is held longer by something difficult and penetrating than by something easy, so long as the tension is relieved in the end. Hockey fans won't take their eyes off the game for fear of missing the rare scoring play. This is the release they have been waiting for. If TV should change the game to include five-man teams and 10-8 scores, as Arledge suggests, viewers would turn on the set only for the last five minutes of the game, as so many, myself included, now do with basketball.
JOHN R. PACKARD
Roone Arledge says, "Golf is a great game for television." Golf is a great game to play on sunny weekends and watch on television on rainy days.
Arledge says, "Some sports are overexposed if you see them twice a year." Golf is being overexposed when you see it on TV Saturday and Sunday, all year long.
Arledge says, "We started all this, I'm sorry to say." It's too late to be sorry. So many golf balls have been bogeyed through my picture tube, the set is dead—thank goodness.
RUSSELL D. CHEDISTER
Merritt Island, Fla.
THE EVIL EYE
Your concern over the purchase of the New York Yankees by CBS, as expressed in your LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER (April 25), may be justified, but I feel that your objections are based on the wrong reasons.
It seems clear to me that CBS has every right in the world to have a financial interest in baseball. In the first place, it's obvious that baseball can no longer be considered purely as a sport. Baseball is business. Big business. Baseball is also a legitimate entertainment function of television, and I believe that CBS has a right to be involved in the presentation of such entertainment material, even in an ownership capacity.
As for conflict of interest, you seem to be forgetting the fact that the Yankees are only one of 20 teams in major league baseball, all of which compete in a most direct way.
What does concern me is the gradual removal of baseball men from the management of the sport. The Wrigleys, Yawkeys and Griffiths have not always been the most generous of leaders, but it has been clear that their interest in baseball has been motivated by something more than profit. The shift in management to corporation and group ownership has hurt baseball. In other words, the dangerous precedent inherent in CBS ownership of the Yankees is not ownership by television as such, but ownership by anyone whose paramount interest is larger or smaller than the best interests of baseball.
New Bedford, Mass.
How in the world can you say that it is wrong for a TV and radio network (CBS) to own a baseball club? You say the worst that can happen is that the network might distort the ball club into its own image. Considering the state of baseball today, that just might be the best thing to do. If anyone is concerned with a public image, it is CBS, which must live or die by ratings. Every move they make has to meet public approval. Do you prefer baseball in the image of individual owners like William Bartholomay and John McHale, who run a traveling circus and pitch tent wherever they please, or Charlie Finley, who aptly rides a mule, while the A's flounder in the cellar of the AL?
New Haven, Conn.
How long will it be before CBS cancels the Johnny Keane show?
Chapel Hill, N.C.
I was surprised to read your opinion regarding the Milwaukee-Atlanta legal struggle over the Braves (SCORECARD, April 25). I don't believe you can place the "raping" of Milwaukee by the carpetbaggers in the same category with the moving of the Boston franchise to Milwaukee in 1953.
Milwaukee did not seek out or entice the Boston Braves as Atlanta did the Milwaukee franchise. Prior to the Braves' move to Milwaukee Bill Veeck, the former successful owner of the Milwaukee Brewers, had shown a genuine interest in moving his St. Louis Browns to Milwaukee. It was at this time that Lou Perini entered the picture. His Boston Braves had attracted 281,000 spectators in 1952, and rather than let Veeck snatch a lucrative baseball territory from him, Perini decided he would move the Braves to Milwaukee. He already had the inside track, because he owned the Milwaukee franchise in the American Association.
Your article leaves a great many things unsaid regarding Wisconsin's case against the migratory Braves. You neglected to mention that as recently as 1964 Milwaukee outdrew 10 of the 20 major league franchises. Even the falling attendance was due not to lack of fan interest, but to inept front-office management.
Also, when the Braves moved to Milwaukee in 1953 they did not leave Boston devoid of a major league team, as is the case with their move from Milwaukee to Atlanta. On such rests Wisconsin's antitrust suit, and there are many fans like myself who hope they win it all down the line and restore some dignity to a once proud "sport."
As a citizen of Atlanta, I thought I should reply to your comment that the citizens of Atlanta "seem to have their doubts" as to their approval of the tactics used by the Braves' owners in their move here. This is not true. The Southeast has long been denied major league sports, and now that we have them, nobody is shedding any tears for Milwaukee on Peachtree Street.
As for Judge Roller, we don't bear a grudge against him. In fact, there's a rumor that a statue of the legal genius of Milwaukee may be erected right here—next to the statue of General Sherman.
I noticed in reading about the Masters playoff that the round took over five hours. To me this is absolutely ridiculous. As if golf isn't slow enough already. Things like this automatically encourage every weekend hacker to dillydally around the course more than he already does. There is no excuse for 18 holes ever to take more than three and a half to four hours.
What I would like to ask is how the professional golfers themselves can justify playing that slow. Is it really necessary to spend an eternity lining up a putt just to miss it as badly as Jack Nicklaus did on the 17th hole of the fourth round or Gay Brewer on the 18th? Unfortunately, too many amateurs feel that they are not really playing golf unless they take a similar amount of time to line up a putt or select a club out on the fairway. Yet, other than allowing for a very quick appraisal of the general slope of a green, I seriously doubt if any golfer above a five handicap benefits himself (or herself) from lining up a putt. As a matter of fact, most amateurs hardly know what they are looking for.
As a solution to this problem I would like to suggest a new rule for the USGA and the PGA, namely, that once a player reaches his ball he be allowed no more than 45 seconds in which to hit it, under penalty of two strokes for each infraction.
GORDON R. LUDWIG
Your recent article, Gentlemanly Game for Ruffians (April 4), was read with interest here in Hawaii. The University of California has indeed produced outstanding ruggers. Their Australia-bound team visited us last year. Mr. Norman V. Chimenti of New Haven, Conn. (19TH HOLE, April 25) noted that the Yale Rugby Club plays a fair game, too.
We in Hawaii are equally proud of our Rugby. As an undergraduate at Yale I played an occasional match in the late 1950s. Although the game has undoubtedly grown vastly in stature since then, the ruffians from Yale would, nevertheless, find a series of matches against the six teams that comprise Hawaii's Rugby Union most interesting and demanding.
Hawaii's spring Rugby season ended April 23 with a pair of games at the Iolani School Scholarship Fund Carnival. We shall resume play in October and continue to mid-April 1967. Perhaps Mr. Chimenti and his team would agree to visit us during Yale's 1967 spring vacation. Cal and Stanford have already been invited.
GERRIT M. KEATOR