Your Whitney Tower is to be congratulated for his brilliant prognosis of the 95th running of the Preakness (The Commander May Trail in Pimlico Dust, May 18). His appraisal of the various thoroughbreds that were to gallop Pimlico's track was uncanny, to say the least. However, the highlight of Mr. Tower's article was his prediction of the race's result if the track was fast—and it was.
How many others could have correctly picked Personality first, My Dad George second, Silent Screen third? A garland of black-eyed Susans to you, Whitney Tower!
RICHARD H. PIPES
I am a 23-year-old graduate student with relatively short hair and not a pair of bell-bottoms to my name. However, I must stick up for my generation and the indirect criticism it received from golfer Ben Hogan (Welcome Back, Mister Hogan, May 18).
I'm glad Mr. Hogan remembered his golf game, but I wonder why he forgot that times and styles have changed? As long as a golfer is neat, who is Mr. Hogan to say what clothes will insult tournament sponsors? I wouldn't challenge Hogan's golf game, but if he wants to get into a battle about styles, then I say his longtime-trademark golf hats also look preposterous!
I would like to call to your attention some inaccuracies and false impressions of Astro Turf caused by the "Red Rider" item in the SCORECARD section of your May 18 issue. It's not true that Astro Turf will not withstand galloping hooves. For your information, moose wander all over an Astro Turf golf course at Russian Jack Springs, Anchorage, Alaska, and the Shrine Circus, complete with elephants, is scheduled into St. Louis' Busch Memorial Stadium this summer. There is a reason, however, for horses to stay clear of Astro Turf: a galloping horse might break his leg because the traction is too good on Astro Turf, i.e., his hooves might hit the turf and literally stop on a dime. No give could mean a broken leg.
Texas Tech is not compensating for this problem by installing heavy-duty Tartan Turf, either. Tartan Turf is similar to AstroTurf and is a competitive product. Tech is installing Tartan Track, a smooth-surface synthetic product they sell for running tracks. There's a big difference between the grasslike Tartan Turf and the smooth-surface Tartan Track.
I think you've confused the two products and, without realizing it, implied that our competitor's grasslike product is more rugged and durable than ours. I'm sure this was an innocent mistake and not an attempt to malign Astro Turf but, for the record, I did want to call it to your attention.
DAN R. BISHOP
Astro Turf Surfaces
Some weeks ago you presented a short article (TV TALK, Feb. 23) that conveyed the idea that U.S. television coverage of pro hockey was of a fairly high quality. As you well know, the final game of the Boston Bruins' Stanley Cup march was aired on CBS. I would like to tell you how the affair was covered in Boston. Less than one minute after Bobby Orr scored the winning goal in overtime, CBS paused for commercials. Then, without a word of farewell, a local station, WHDH-TV Channel 5, cut in and switched to the Boston Red Sox-Oakland Athletics baseball game, which was already in progress. For the diehard Bruin fans, who had waited 29 years for this moment, there was no presentation of the Stanley Cup, no jubilant dressing-room scene and no game wrap-up.
Immediately, the WHDH office in Boston was swamped by calls from irate viewers. The administrators told the callers that they were under contract to switch to the Red Sox game as soon as possible. I propose that in the future TV contracts include escape clauses, which would allow the time of baseball broadcasts to be changed when the situation merits a change.
For Boston fans the CBS hockey blunder ranks near the top with NBC's Heidi affair. I certainly hope that television will learn from its mistakes.
GLENDON H. POMEROY
I believe SI to be the finest magazine on the market for important and unimportant (but interesting) sports coverage. But with your last two issues I think someone was asleep at the stick. While you covered what had to be a relatively dull Stanley Cup, not one word of mention was given to this year's most exciting amateur hockey event, the Senior Canadian Hockey championship for the Allen Cup. The most important fact about this year's Allen Cup is that it was won, for the first time in its history, by a team from the U.S.
On Tuesday, May 5 the Spokane Jets won the sixth and deciding game in a best-of-seven series from the Orillia (Ontario) Terriers. The Jets swept through two playoff series before taking on the Terriers.
ROBERT E. SLEETH
If, as Kim Chapin writes in his profile of Mario Andretti (Money in His Pocket, Speed in His Soul, May 11), Mario "in effect raced under his own colors" in 1968, then we of Overseas National Airways and allied interests spent $100,000 for the sponsorship of his USAC cars in the interest of gratifying our corporate passion for anonymity.
In point of fact, 1968 was a disappointing year for Mario, but he managed to garner enough first and second places to lead in the USAC championship standings going into the final race of the year at Riverside, Calif. He lost the championship (to Bobby Unser) by a heartbreaking 11 points, but we thought enough of his gallant effort to produce a film chronicling that season.
We found the association with Mario enormously gratifying personally and commercially and would happily have renewed the relationship but realized that his arrangement with Mr. Granatelli, which included purchase of his cars, would enable him to concentrate on racing. His 1969 achievements demonstrate how prudent a move he made.
VINCENT R. DUFFY
Vice President, Marketing
Overseas National Airways Jamaica, N.Y.
HEROES AND GOATS
On May 8 the New York Knickerbocker basketball team went out on the Garden floor and made a very bad mistake—it won the NBA championship. The reason I say mistake is that the Knicks, according to Frank Deford (Pro Basketball's New Season, Oct. 27), were supposed to finish behind Milwaukee and Baltimore in the Eastern Division. I wrote a letter of disagreement at the time. I believe it was ignored. Later on someone else wrote an article on the NBA, and I wrote another letter asking why the Knicks were only slightly mentioned. I believe it, too, was ignored.
I, along with at least 19,500 other Knick fans, believe we have the greatest basketball team ever assembled. We also want people to realize that Willis Reed is on a par with every other center in the NBA. If this third letter is published, I promise I will forgive Frank Deford and I will bug you no longer. PEACE.
BRIAN (HOMER) BECKER
Red Hook, N.Y.
Concerning the New York Knicks' seventh-game NBA championship victory over the Los Angeles Lakers: Where there's a Willis there's a way!
SPORTS ILLUSTRATED'S Sportsman of the Year for 1970 has to be Bobby Orr. Not only did he capture four major awards, but he and the Bruins also have taken this town and turned it upside down. Bobby Orr epitomizes everything good and wholesome in a pro athlete—i.e., skill, determination, fierce competitive spirit, leadership and, above all, genuine humility. He's the type that American youth certainly can emulate.
That's staid old Boston for ya! Unlike the rascally Mets fans in Noo Yawk, not one fan tried to take a hunk of ice from the playing surface for a souvenir following the Bruins' first Stanley Cup win in 29 years.
J. J. SOLTYS
In your article on wrestling (Down with Masked Villains! April 27) you stated that "Sportade (an imitator of Gatorade) donated $500 for the outstanding-wrestler award."
The part about the award was correct, but I take exception to the parenthetical reference. Sportade was invented and named by me in 1965 at my son's prep school, long before I had ever heard about Gatorade, whose concept appears similar but whose formula is quite different. The invention of Sportade was stimulated by the number of deaths due to heat stroke in early-season high school football that year. There had been a death here in Bergen County at St. Cecilia High School the year before, and its team physician, Dr. Eric Bayer, later used my drink, as did other team physicians of this area.
I might add that I otherwise enjoyed your well-written, humorous article.
GERARD BALAKIAN, M.D.
West Englewood, N.J.
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