As an impartial observer from Los Angeles, I am amazed how you can deny Nebraska the No. 1 spot in your football ratings (THE WEEK, Oct. 4), continually putting Notre Dame above the Cornhuskers.
Despite your long overdue but fine article on Bob Devaney, the members of your football staff cannot swallow their Eastern pride and admit that Nebraska is the No. 1 team in the country. I fail to understand how Notre Dame's slippery and shaky conquest of Purdue is of more importance than Nebraska's 34-7 win over Texas A&M, in which it was carefully pointed out in your four-line report that the loser's lone score came on a 94-yard kickoff return. Yet there was no mention made of Nebraska's 98- and 95-yard scoring returns! Notre Dame can thank the rain for its win. Had the same happened to Nebraska, I would bet the Cornhuskers surely would have fallen several steps in the ranking.
But because Notre Dame's football past is sacred and Nebraska still is just a bunch of corn-fed cowboys, we will continue to read your ratings based on football tradition rather than actual performance.
WILLIAM A. ROGERS, M.D.
After reading the final score of this year's Purdue-Notre Dame game, I would like to have the name of the cheerleader who did the quarterbacking for the Irish.
October 17, 1971
Nebraska played a good, clean, hard football game against underrated Texas A&M and didn't have to rely on recovering a fumble in the end zone to win as Notre Dame did against Purdue. So when are you going to recognize Nebraska as the No. 1 team in the Midwest and No. 1 in the nation?
I wonder what it takes for your magazine to admit to a mistake. In your yearly college football predictions you chose Notre Dame No. 1. I commended your magazine for the choice, although I disagreed. Preseason predictions are a guessing game, but by the third week of the season you should know reality when it stares you in the face. Nebraska is better than Notre Dame.
ERNIE WEARS WELL
Are you aware that some residents of the Los Angeles area do not consider Vin Scully (And Here, to Bring You the Play by Play..., Sept. 13) the best? His "singsong" delivery and apparent boredom with the game many times inclines his listeners toward sleepiness.
There was no mention in your article of St. Louis' Jim Woods, an excellent announcer. Or of Bob Neal in Cleveland. But the one omission that was most glaring was Detroit's Ernie Harwell. I was a young girl in New York when Ernie was in Brooklyn. Then he got a better offer with the New York Giants, and moved across the river. Later on he went to Baltimore and then to Detroit. In my travels around the country I've been lucky enough to pick up his radio broadcasts, and he still gives a better word picture of the game than anyone else.
He has a sense of humor, a warm, honest personality that comes through, and he is very knowledgeable. Unlike some of the announcers you discussed, he wears well.
It is nice to know that Merv Rettenmund's talents have not gone unnoticed (Well, He's That Kind of Guy, Oct. 4). As a Ball State alumnus, I second what Ray Louthen said about him being the finest all-round athlete ever to attend Ball State. Not only was he the best football and baseball player in school, he was the best basketball player not on the varsity basketball team. He was good enough to have been on the volleyball team, which was recognized as one of the country's best. He was a track team by himself in the intramural track meet, and he even managed to win the school intramural badminton championship.
To those who are always perplexed at the failure of soccer to attain lasting popularity in the U.S. (Are We Finally Starting to Dig the World's Game?, Oct. 4), may I offer the following points as likely reasons:
1. Four major team sports (baseball, football, basketball, hockey) are already established in a year-round schedule; there are no "free seasons" lying around.
2. The quality of soccer in the U.S.—at all levels—is simply not high enough to be attractive to great numbers of fans.
3. There is a terribly small number of domestic players who make it to the pros and with whom spectators can identify.
Fortunately, Commissioner Phil Woosnam has understood that the problem lies not with the game itself, but rather with these hard facts of the American sporting scene. His ideas for a pro draft, a senior bowl and foreign-player quotas could work wonders. Our best players will be attracted by the realistic chance for a job and will improve immensely in top competition. Furthermore, their exposure as star collegians and developing professionals will make them attractions with whom the fans and young players can readily identify.
ALLEN E. HYE
A few people here may love the game, myself included, but Americans on the whole are not sufficiently civilized to appreciate a sport where the athletes don't attempt to crunch each other in order to win.
South Bound Brook, N.J.
I play soccer and see no reason why it won't catch on in America. Granted, the low scoring is a disadvantage, but so is it in ice hockey. But 60 minutes of continuous action can't be boring, and the one big advantage is, as Hugh McIlvanney stated, "You don't have to be a bull or a giraffe to play it."
It's about time we started digging the world's game. What would Pete Rozelle do if 200,000 fans showed up for the Super Bowl as they do at Wembley and other soccer stadiums around the world?
Williston Park, N.Y.
Baseball has died a little. The Washington Senators are no more (SCORECARD, Oct. 4). All of a sudden there is no next year. The loss will probably seem unimportant to most Americans. The Senators were not champions, only the butt of many a joke. But among the multitude of fans who grew up and lived with the Washington Senators as an integral part of life, the loss is deep felt and the bitterness great.
The people of Washington have stood by the Senators through as much adversity as any fans anywhere. We watched them rise from ineptitude to winners, only to have them moved out and replaced by more ineptitude. But we took the new team and loved it and dreamed of future victories. Now we are to make the ultimate sacrifice to bail out Owner Robert Short (may his name live in infamy), who managed to dig himself into a financial hole. He, with the help of the other owners to whom a couple more dollars mean more than anything, is shifting the team to Dallas-Fort Worth, leaving nothing behind but broken dreams. It is no wonder so many baseball fans are being turned off.
In the future there will probably be talk of another team for Washington. Owners like Short and Griffith will say Washington doesn't deserve a team. But the truth is that baseball doesn't deserve a city or fans like Washington.
J. W. BATCHELOR
APO San Francisco
Your recent article Call Him Willie—or Carlos or Lee. Everybody Does (Sept. 20) included the statement that only five May(e)s had made it to the major leagues before Willie. That's not quite accurate. You see, the Italian word for the month of May is màggio. Thus the name DiMaggio translates "of May" or "May's." This adds three more May(e)s to those who arrived before Willie.
This also settles the perennial argument as to who was the best centerfielder to play for a New York team. Obviously, it was Mays. But was it Joe or Willie?
G. J. FERRARESE
New York City
I got the impression from Bil Gilbert's report on the $750,000 All American Futurity at Ruidoso Downs (After a Mountain of Money, Sept. 20) that quarter horses are raced exclusively by big Texas oil tycoons, ranchers and bankers who don't know of any other way to play around with their millions.
There are some 800,000 registered quarter horses in the world. The American Quarter Horse Association is the largest equine breed registry on earth. This quarter horse business isn't just for the rich guy who might share his barbecue and beer with you at the next race meet. Some folks make their living solely by breeding, raising and racing these horses. They are not the wealthiest people by far but, like their daddies and grand-daddies, they like what they are doing.
The Texas and Southwestern Horseman
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