NOT SO RED HOT
Regarding the article, Cincinnati's Big Red Clunk (June 7) by William F. Reed, please let me say that a better name for this so-called machine is The Little Red Wagon. The 1971 Reds are so inept as compared to last year's powerhouse that it is really pitiful! As for the Reds' still having togetherness, I disagree. They don't possess the same old desire that enabled them to click on all cylinders in '70. On the other hand, the San Francisco Giants do have togetherness, plus everything else. That's why they're running away from the rest of the pack in the NL West!
WILLIAM F. O'BRIEN
The Reds will come back this year; they have to with the talent they have. Their pitching has been good enough, only the big guns have been quiet. The Machine will roll again, as it did (12-0) on June 4 against St. Louis, then the Eastern Division leader. Just give it time to warm up.
Robert F. Jones really brought out the color, glory and agony of the Indy 500 (Johnny Lightning Drives Through the Wreckage, June 7). This was a superb job of writing about the greatest spectacle in racing. But the part of the story I liked best was the bravery of Gary Bettenhausen. Even though he was far behind, it takes some kind of guts to stop to pull a man out of a burning race car. I think Bettenhausen will be long remembered for his heroic deed.
Robert F. Jones' Indy article is beyond belief. As an avid race fan, I think he showed poor taste by saying, "As he entered Turn Four late in the race, Bobby Unser nearly bought the same chunk of farm his brother Jerry did back in 1959." Jerry Unser was fatally burned in that crash. You also failed to mention the great A. J. Foyt, who has won three times and finished third this year.
After reading Kim Chapin's article on successful Indy mechanic George Bignotti (Big Man with an Indy Wrench, May 24), I viewed with renewed interest this year's 500. Never before had I realized the true value of the man behind the race car in the pits.
Now, if we could only get Mr. Bignotti to give the Big Red Machine a tune-up....
JOSEPH T. HELMES
It was my good fortune to have acted as deputy leader on the recent trekking tour in western Nepal organized by Thos. F. Cook & Son, Ltd. (Himalayan Trek or Treat, June 7). I am writing to recommend that Jeannette Bruce be asked to undertake all the most physically demanding and dangerous assignments for your magazine in the future, as I estimate that her unique attitude toward physical exercise in any shape or form gives her an immediate advantage over her colleagues.
Jeannette walks very slowly in the mountains. So imperceptible was the amount of her movement that she was mistaken for a tree on several occasions. A small tree smoking a cigarette, but a tree nevertheless. Her near-masochistic desire to fall headlong into freezing mountain streams at all available opportunities was also made evident early in the proceedings.
Her performance on trek can only have one explanation. She is obviously an extremely hardened and experienced mountaineer who believed that she would be shaming her companions (especially the men) if she showed anything of her true form. She felt obliged to appear weak and helpless at all times and feigned death on reaching camp at the end of each day's march. What agony she must have experienced in restraining the massive forces of energy that were aching to propel her through the mountains at breakneck speed. She even wore boots five sizes too small in order to acquire a sum total of 38 blisters all at the same time—a world record awaiting ratification.
Such thoughtfulness should not go without notice.
Concerning the article Let Me Make One Thing Clear (June 7), I would like to make it clear that most New Orleanians do not oppose a reasonably priced domed stadium. It could stimulate the Louisiana economy, provided it had a reasonable chance of financial success. Most public opposition is directed to those elected officials who have continually refused to grant Louisiana citizens a second vote on this controversial financial expenditure. As your excellent article indicated, voters in 1966 approved three to one a $35 million domed stadium with no state backing. Voters have been denied a voice in the 270% cost increase to $129.5 million with state backing. This is a flagrant suppression of voter rights.
New Orleans Mayor Moon Landrieu states, "Any jackass can kick a barn down," but many Louisianians reply that in a democracy barn kickers are essential to protect the taxpayers from political sheep shearing.
ROBERT W. EVERETT JR.
Regarding your SCORECARD item "Strange Bet-Mates" (June 7), I feel the main point has been overlooked. Legalizing betting on teams and players in the three major sports, football, baseball and basketball, would ruin the interest in the games, making them obsessions rather than pastimes. Horse racing is a good market for betting, but horses and ballplayers are two different animals. Horses can't read, ballplayers can.
Thanks for the fine story on steeplechaser Jeromee Liebenberg (Not a Dry Foot in the House, June 7). As a former teammate of his, I know the kind of self-discipline and pride with which he conducts himself on the track. Although his off-the-track behavior has been the subject of much criticism, I find his lack of conformity refreshing. If nothing else, it helps break down the incredibly false stereotype of the distance runner as a grim, lonely masochist. In Liebenberg's case, nothing could be further from the truth. Masochistic, maybe. Grim, never!
Jack Nicklaus thinks he can put together golf's current version of the Grand Slam in 1972, in spite of the probable odds of a million to one (A Came Man Might Risk a Bet, June 7). Nicklaus is perhaps the best golfer of this era, but I think the odds and golfing history are against his pulling off the Grand Slam in 1972 or ever.
Sam Snead won all of the big ones except the U.S. Open. The PGA Championship continues to elude Arnold Palmer. Bobby Jones, of another era, put together golf's only significant Slam, but that same year he lost the Savannah (Ga.) Open to Horton Smith by one stroke. Nicklaus says, "I was better prepared for the 1971 Masters than for any tournament I have ever played in," yet Jack did not win.
Nicklaus has the intelligence, skill, power and poise to win any one golf tournament, but he would have to climb over too many other superb golfers to pull off a Slam.
I commend you on a fine article about the NBA-ABA All-Star Game (No Member from the Wedding, June 7). I agree that the NBA stars were not "up" for the game. They were playing as the favorites in a game that meant nothing if they won and everything if they lost.
On the other hand, the ABA players had everything to gain and nothing to lose. There is no greater thrill or drive in sports than the thought of upsetting the No. 1 team. Of course, pros like these are not ones to be rattled, but I think this had some effect on the game.
All in all, it was a good game in that it proved what it was intended to prove, namely that the two leagues can compete without a merger. Every fan I know feels a merger would be wrong, and I wholeheartedly agree. A merger would destroy a great competitive spirit, which could also have its effect at the box office. I feel the leagues should merge insofar as to end the insane bidding for players, but a complete merger would definitely hurt rather than help the attendance. Interleague games such as this one should be continued.
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