Peter Carry, in writing about the College World Series (Odd One for the Sun Devils, June 30), says, "After losing 3-2 to NYU's No. 4 starter in a game that ended with a close call at first, the Longhorns put on a boorish display that was remarkable in a series that otherwise was a model of old-fashioned, cheer-your-opponent good sportsmanship."
Since then UT President Norman Hackerman and Baseball Coach Cliff Gustafson have received a letter from Cap Timm, chairman of the NCAA World Series committee, saying that they can be "justifiably proud" of the Longhorns. The letter praised the conduct of the Texas players during and after the disputed game. Timm indicated that the Horns were justified in the argument and that they handled themselves well.
Carry carefully avoided describing the close play and left the impression that the Horns were protesting needlessly over a clear-cut call. On the play, Jack Miller hit a sharp grounder to the NYU first baseman. The first baseman narrowly won the race to the bag but collided with Miller. The ball rolled about 150 feet down the right-field foul line, and Tommy Harmon scored the would-be tying run. The umpire called Miller out and ran off the field with his three colleagues, not any of them seeing the ball roll free. However, the umpires were apparently the only people in the stadium who did not see the play, and most of the spectators immediately sided with the Longhorns.
The rule covering such a play can be found on page 37 of Knotty Problems of Baseball, published by the Sporting News. "After catching the ball, a fielder must have secure possession while making the out and, if a collision immediately follows the catch and the fielder drops the ball, the runner is safe."
July 20, 1969
SPORTS ILLUSTRATED should not tolerate such irresponsible reporting. By reporting only one side of the issue, Carry has degraded the Longhorn coach, the team and the University of Texas.
Peter Carry must have broken the hearts of the 12,000 University of Massachusetts students, many alumni and proud supporters, as well as members of the fighting Red-men baseball team who fought their way to the College World Series in Omaha and there not only beat first-ranked Southern Illinois but brought pride to themselves and their school. Mr. Carry listed at various points in his article seven of the eight participants, but for reasons unknown, nary a mention of our gallant University of Massachusetts team. Perhaps you can reverse your decision just this once.
Your fine report of the Coaches All-America Game (Replay of the 12th-man Theme, July 7) gave me what we psychologists refer to as an "aha phenomenon"—i.e., a little bit of insight!
Since the night of the game I've been in a quandary, wondering how it was possible that Paul Gipson was judged the most valuable player in the game. It seems to me that Bob Campbell did just about everything except sell popcorn and programs at halftime (and, judging from your story, he probably did that too, in addition to helping sell tickets at the gate!). All evening, Bud Wilkinson used the Campbell name almost exclusively-punting, running, catching, etc.—or did I miss the fact that it was the soup company that was one of the sponsors?
Well, now, it all fits into place. It would have been just too logical to award the prize to the most deserving. It would have deterred from the two hours of slapstick comedy! I hope Bobby is saying, "Thank God, maybe the watch had no movement inside anyway!"
DR. GEORGE SIDNEY
The Coaches All-America Game was a flagrant display of bad officiating. It is this type of rule enforcement that is hurting the game of football today. It is hard to believe that in this day of modern technology, such calls can be made and enforced (especially on touchdowns). With all the new slow-motion, instant replay and television equipment, there should be a judge who, when a disputed call is made, would call time out, check the play carefully and then make a decision.
Besides the officiating, the judging for the most valuable player award didn't seem right. Not to detract from Paul Gipson's play in the game, but whoever the judges were, they undoubtedly didn't notice the excellent play of Bob Campbell, who punted for an average of about 50 yards, was used as a pass receiver, a running back and scored the East's only touchdown.
Your article, Replay of the 12th-man Theme, was as amazing as the voice of Paul Christman finally admitting the truth. In these days of swifter, larger, more intelligent athletes, sports have advanced at a rapid rate. However, the officials still remain slow and incompetent. The sports whirl has speeded up so much in the last decade, the officials have fallen far behind. We need to have guidelines, to make sure that athletes get a fair shake on a call. Most TV commentators are always telling us that the slow-motion, stop-action camera shows us how accurate the calls have been. It only shows how often they are wrong! To err is human, but for an official to give a game away is a crime.
JOHN F. WATERS
Southwest Harbor, Me.
Possibly the best comment concerning the questionable officiating in the Coaches All-America game was found in an otherwise sterile wire-service article the next day. Someone with a sense of humor had written, "Enyart scored from the two on a one-yard plunge."
I certainly hope the example of the officiating doesn't set the stage for the remainder of what should be a fine season. There are enough other ways of making the scores higher.
JOSEPH A. SNYDER
NEEDLES AND PILLS (CONT.)
I must admit that I was reading Bil Gilbert's account of drugs in sports (Problems in a Turned-on World, June 23 et seq.) with a great deal of skepticism. The thought of my infallible baseball heroes being on drugs especially angered me.
After reading his second installment, in fact, I was all ready to let fly a burning letter to Mr. Gilbert. However, I decided to postpone this bit of action until after a televised game between the Tigers and the Orioles which I had just settled down to watch. I was still fuming when, in the top of the first, Willie Horton hit a double and went barreling into second base pulling a hamstring muscle in the process. As I watched Willie kneeling down grimacing, I said to myself, "Aha, Mr. Gilbert! See, my baseball players can take the knocks without any of those painkilling drugs."
Just then the Detroit trainer came trotting out on the field, reached into his pocket and pulled out a bottle of pills. Willie grabbed a couple and immediately gulped them down! Forgive me, Mr. Gilbert, everybody is guilty.
Re Ed Sabol's letter in 19th HOLE (June 23). He forgets that prior to its showing, this film was advertised as the "Official Super Bowl" film by NFL Films, Inc.
He now tries to salvage this idea by claiming that it was "an honest effort to show another view of a great sporting event."
Furthermore, a film showing a view of an event that has the effect of minimizing the efforts of the team that made the event so memorable is indeed a cheap shot. The only people who are happy about this film are those Colts fans who still can't believe their team got beaten.
Rego Park, N.Y.
Who does Ed Sabol think he's kidding? When Green Bay was winning Super Bowls, NFL Films concentrated on how they won and who starred for them. Now after nine years of scorn and ridicule the Jets have given the AFL a shot at the glory given a champion and a showcase for its stars. But is the Super Bowl film about Namath, Snell, Sauer or the other record-setting Jets? No. This year Sabol tries something different. Quite a coincidence.
An impression might be gained from this year's PGA tour that there has been a steady improvement in the winning scores. Because the Masters is the only major championship that is always played on the same course, its results offer a means of testing this theory.
The average winning score for the prewar period, 1934-42 inclusive, was 282.0. For the most recent period of equal length. 1961-69 inclusive, it was 279.9. The improvement was 2.1 strokes for four rounds or .425 strokes per round. Periods of nine years in length would seem to be long enough to eliminate the effect of year-to-year variables such as weather, course condition, etc.
Accordingly, it could be claimed that the improvements of the past 30 years in respect to clubs, balls and playing techniques have, in total, resulted in the lowering of the average score of the best players by about half a stroke per round.
Perhaps one of the appealing factors of golf in an era dominated by technology is that it is a game of the individual against the elemental forces of nature.
MELVILLE B. MILLAR
Redondo Beach, Calif.
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