NEW LOOK IN PHILLY
Thank you very much for a splendid article on the Phillies' first game in Veterans Stadium (Curtain Up on a Mod New Act, April 19). After seven long years of waiting, everyone here in the Philadelphia area is quite happy about it.
I suffered through the great disaster of 1964 when the Phillies blew a 6½-game lead with 12 games to go and I have not seen such excitement over baseball since then. The Phils may not win the pennant this year, but they are exciting to watch, and they will be contenders in years to come.
Your article was most critical of Philadelphia fans. So far Philadelphia teams have had dismal records and, consequently, there has been nothing to cheer. When Philly finally does get a winner, you'll hear about it in Veterans Stadium.
Drexel Hill, Pa.
Give me a team like the Mets and a ball park like Shea Stadium. All the teams mentioned in your article are obviously trying to fill their ball parks. The Mets have done this all along. Shea Stadium is not domed, it does not have Astro Turf or an exploding scoreboard. All it has is good tenants.
Roselle Park, N.J.
May 2, 1971
In these days when baseball is fighting to stay the nation's No. 1 sport, fancy uniforms are a must. If the fan goes out to admire the stadium or the uniforms, he will soon admire the team playing there. Thanks to Houston for its Astrodome and Oakland for its white shoes.
HOT SPELL IN MONTREAL
To suggest, as you did in your baseball scouting reports (April 12), that the Philadelphia Phillies and the St. Louis Cardinals are better teams than the Montreal Expos is utter nonsense. In your great elation over the Phils winning 10 more games in 1970 than in 1969, you neglected to mention that the Expos increased their wins by 21. The Expos won 73 games, only three less than the total amassed by St. Louis.
Instead of worrying about the spring snows melting in Jarry Park, you should melt some of your American bias and give the Montreal Expos the credit due.
On behalf of all Baltimore Bullet fans, we would like to apologize to Jack Olsen and Lew Alcindor for the complete ruination of their article concerning the finals of the NBA championship between the Milwaukee Bucks and the New York Knicks (We've Got to Spread a Little Anarchy, April 19). Please rest assured that the entire Bullet team will atone for this deed by disposing of the Bucks as it did the Knicks. By the way, what happened to the other half of Earl Monroe's uniform that was left off the cover of your April 19 issue?
The article did not give Baltimore a plugged Knick-el for its chances against New York. All Olsen and Alcindor could talk about was the "upcoming" Milwaukee-New York championship playoffs. Is Olsen willing to bet a Buck now on the final series?
Fantastic job! I loved the interview with Lew Alcindor. You don't have enough articles about the Bucks or the key figures who have made Milwaukee the truly great team it is. It's apparent the Bucks are the best team in the NBA. After all, Lew said so, and what more assurance do you need?
Concerning the Stanley Cup, Montreal Coach Al MacNeil summed up the Bruins-Habs playoff picture perfectly in your April 5 article (Here Come the Big, Good Bruins) when he said: "One year doesn't make a dynasty." The Bruins tried to muscle the Canadiens around but Montreal has the big men to push back. Then they tried finesse, but the Habs forechecked and skated the Bruins into the ice.
One of your predictions came true. Montreal produced the perfect goaltender—Ken Dryden, the law student who tried the Bruins' case and sentenced them to sit out the summer eating burnt baked beans.
As for those so-called loyal fans in Boston who booed Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito, what poor memories they have! It sort of reminds me of the way the Bleacher Bums deserted the Cubs when the Mets beat them in the final days of the 1969 season race.
RICHARD F. DIXON
QUEEN OF THE MOUNTAIN
Rarely (perhaps never) have I seen a sports article written with more flavor or more color than Sylvia Wilkinson's To Be King of the Mountain (April 19). When passing through that area several years ago, I decided to drop in on the Chimney Rock Hill-climb. The color and excitement I witnessed that day are captured perfectly in the article, which has prompted me to begin making plans to return this spring. While I can make no prediction of who will be king of the mountain this year, I think Sylvia Wilkinson must surely be the queen.
My kudos cannot be served without one brickbat, however. The drawings seemed to have little to do with the actual event. Oh, well, you can't satisfy everybody. Thank you again for the splendid reminder.
ERVIN W. HOUSTON
NO HOME ON THE RANGE (CONT.)
After digesting conflicting claims by Jack Olsen and Jack Berryman regarding the use of poisons by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (The Poisoning of The West, March 8 et seq.), reader Judy Ertl wants to know who's lying (19TH HOLE, March 29). As is so often the case with complex ecological questions, I am sure that both sides can find evidence to support their conflicting views. But why can't this particular issue be explored experimentally?
This approach would require the operation of a number of sheep ranches in areas where no predator control was practiced, with careful bookkeeping to determine the cost of bringing one sheep to market. Similar records could be maintained for ranches operated under the loving protection of Fish and Wildlife. Because it is unlikely that any wool grower would volunteer for such an experiment, the operation of the unprotected ranches would have to be subsidized. I should think that Fish and Wildlife would be happy to participate in such a test and be willing to offer partial support. Furthermore, the National Science Foundation is presently financing (with over $1 million this year alone) a study of natural grassland ecosystems directed by Colorado State University. One of the objectives of this program is to study man-environment interactions and to supply the information needed for the development of optimal management strategies. Here is another potential source of support.
So what if it turns out that it is more costly to raise sheep in the company of coyotes and other varmints? We already know that in some areas the cost of killing coyotes and other predators exceeds the value of the livestock destroyed by these animals. So why not simply subsidize the woolgrowers directly, according to losses sustained? Wouldn't it be cheaper and ecologically more sound in the long run?
FREDERICK B. TURNER
BY SWAMP BUGGY AND TRICYCLE
In your Jan. 11 issue you published an entertaining story by Pat Ryan on the annual ornithological madness known as the Christmas Bird Count. Now that the results are compiled, perhaps your readers would like to know how it all came out.
A total of 903 counts were accepted (a few were outlawed because they did not abide by the rules). Some 16,657 observers from every state and Canadian province participated, many of them in more than one count, making this undoubtedly the largest cooperative, competitive, short-term, semi-scientific endeavor anywhere. Charles H. Rogers of Princeton, N.J. took part in his 70th count; the youngest paying participant was Ned Isleib, aged 2 months, of the Balmorhea, Texas count.
The combined list for all the counts totaled about 560 species. Cocoa, Fla. once again led the nation with 205 species, but Freeport, Texas was a close second with 204. On the other hand, Nome, Alaska reported an all-day trek by snowmobile that found only three species—willow ptarmigan, common raven and McKay's bunting—and two observers in Roan Mountain, Tenn. walked eight miles and saw only 37 individual birds.
Observers once again showed remarkable ingenuity in getting around their areas. In addition to the usual cars and boats, modes of transport included horseback, horse and buggy, bicycle, ice skates, skis, snowshoes, airplane, helicopter, canoe, swamp buggy, airboat, adult tricycle, golf cart and feet.
Finally, it should be mentioned that the Christmas Bird Count is organized, sponsored and directed by the National Audubon Society (as it has been since 1900) and that the counts are published annually in the April issue of the society's bimonthly magazine American Birds.
ROBERT S. ARBIB JR.
New York City
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