HERE'S TO MR. ROBINSON
If Frank Robinson is able to put into action the ideas he has already put into words (I'll Always Be Outspoken, Oct. 21), there is no doubt he will more than just succeed in his quest for managerial respectability. For sure, there are few who know the ins and outs of baseball much better than he does. Guiding the hapless Cleveland Indians to a championship would be a monumental task for any mortal—black, white or polka dot.
PATRICK J. WHEELER
Mt. Vernon, Ohio
Frank Robinson will put the man back in manager.
JOHN C. BLOOMSTROM
AFTER THE BALL GAME
The day after the first game of the Series an NBC sports commentator described the game by saying "It had everything, including the phantom double play." Then, to my astonishment, he ran a taped replay showing a throw to second base caught by a player standing four feet from the bag! The umpire's thumb automatically came up and the TV commentator broke out his widest grin.
The point of the commentator's exercise seemed to be that such phantom double plays, where the bag is not touched, are a humorous but accepted part of baseball. I was stunned to see a high-priced, big-league umpire blow such an obvious call, particularly in a close World Series game. But even more shocking was the apparent lack of interest in correcting this blooper.
WILLIAM W. MORRISON
First baseball trade of the winter: NBC obtains Vin Scully for Curt Gowdy, Tony Kubek and a mouth to be named later.
Seal Beach, Calif.
MACHINE AT WORK
Robert Vare is to be congratulated on his detailed and incisive expose of "Woody's Machine" in your Sept. 9 issue. I can vouch for the accuracy of his reporting, because my son was operated on by the Machine, while his mother and I became both participants in and eyewitnesses to the experience. We had meetings with members of the Athletic Committee Mr. Vare referred to, visited Mr. Galbreath's farm, visited the campus more than once, were wined and dined several times, received constant attention from the coaching staff and a personal visit to our home by Mr. Hayes, along with a large dose of charm and graciousness. All of these events and experiences conspired, as planned, to overwhelm one teen-age boy and his parents.
A fitting sequel to Mr. Vare's article would be one that views the scene after "Woody's Machine" completes its task, and the object of attention becomes a piece of delivered merchandise. The sudden transformation from the ethereal world of recruiting into a disparate world of harsh realism is wonderful and fearful to behold. It is a world of despotic rule where human dignity is minimized and man's inhumanity to man is maximized.
North Olmstead, Ohio
FIRST THINGS FIRST
I was appalled to read (SCORECARD, Oct. 14) that the staffs of the service academies are considering the proposal to allow "talented academy athletes" to spread their active service over a longer period of time, enabling them to play professional sports at the same time they are discharging their obligations to their country. The stated mission of the Military Academy at West Point is to instruct and train each cadet so that he can progress and continually develop professionally throughout his career as a Regular Army officer. Intramural and intercollegiate athletics at West Point are designed to develop those physical and mental attributes essential to the professional soldier, and not, as Navy Coach George Welsh would have you believe, to develop professional athletes. It is time that the academies got away from the national schedule and exposure, and structured athletics to the purposes and missions of the academies. Despite the five-year service obligation and despite rigid height and weight standards, the academies can field representative teams, but the prayer that they can be competitive against such rich recruiting powerhouses as Notre Dame and Ohio State must and will remain unanswered. Should an academy athlete desire to play professionally, let him take the route of Mike Silliman, Roger Staubach, Joe Bellino and Bob Anderson, all of whom fulfilled their obligations before turning to professional athletics.
RICHARD L. EHRENREICH
West Point '67
THE BULLS (CONT.)
Giles Tippette's Of Noble Rites (Oct. 7) was nicely done, underplayed, and it caught the routine dreariness of those small border fights while never losing the inherent drama that exists in any corrida.
But please! Golondrina not golderinas (bulls), descabello, not descabellar (coup de grace), and, por favor, Manoló Martinez not Manolà Martinez. Even that splendid matador's worst detractors would not say that about him.
THE WAY IT WAS
I would like to commend you and Larry Keith on the fine article about Alex Yunevich and football at Alfred University (Head Coach, Prewar Model, Oct. 21).
I was a student at Alfred last year and it was my good fortune to become acquainted with Coach Yunevich through participation in one of the golf classes that he taught. Besides being a successful coach, he is a kind, friendly and most entertaining person who is truly dedicated to Alfred and its students.
BARRY A. SCHOLNIK
It's good to read that some college coaches still have a fine sense of priorities—development of a boy's full potential first, the importance of winning second.
The article made me feel a bit guilty having cheered so lustily for my daughter's St. Lawrence 6-0 win over Alfred two weeks ago.
You failed to mention that Alfred had lost only four games in the last four years entering this season. They were awarded the Lambert Bowl two years ago. All this on a budget less than 10% of Ohio State's.
As a bodybuilder currently competing at the local level, I must congratulate you for finally recognizing bodybuilding (The Men and the Myth, Oct. 14) as a true sport, not a freak show or male beauty contest. I feel training for physique contests is the most grueling sport, as far as discipline and intensity of training goes. Nutrition, rest and painful workouts are not seasonal preparations. It's a daily grind with no letting up. Your article ably captured the dedication and drive of men like Arnold and Franco.
The bodybuilding story was fascinating, but rather repulsive. A curve is beauty, not grotesque lumps and bumps.
LYNN P. SCHROETER
Chula Vista, Calif.
Your article on bodybuilding and the pictures in it turned me off completely. I can't understand what they think they're trying to prove. I wouldn't want my man to look like that, and I think most women feel the same way.
As one of a small group of devoted snake lovers, I was shocked and surprised at a glaring error in Bil Gilbert's article on rattlers (Once Upon a Time, Oct. 21). Though it is true that warm-blooded snakes are relatively common in the wilds of Washington, D.C. and New York City, I have never heard of anyone who actually spotted a reptilian example. Snakes with scaly bodies are cold-blooded.
It must also be pointed out that anyone who attempts to treat a snakebite by sucking out the poison with his mouth should first check that he doesn't have chapped lips or skin breaks in his mouth. Venom can enter the bloodstream through either of these places.
HUGH A. MACDONALD
Bil Gilbert's well-written article on the rattlesnake was definitely the most enjoyable piece of journalism that I have ever read anywhere.
OFF THE LINE
In your NHL article (Off the Line and into the Chips, Oct. 21) you rank the teams according to their relative strength. However, you have overlooked the fact that many other things besides talent go into a strong (and winning) team. If you consider these other factors—team and individual spirit, fan enthusiasm and support, mental attitude and coaching, to name a few—you will find the reason why "the Bruins were embarrassed by Philadelphia in the Stanley Cup finals." Although the Bruins may have more talent than Philadelphia, man for man, when you consider all factors, the Flyers must end up a stronger team than Boston, and hence be favored to repeat as the Stanley Cup champs.
As a longtime fan of the NHL and the Philadelphia Flyers, I am shocked to note Coach Fred Shero's interest in the infamous practice of "blood doping."
Blood doping, as SPORTS ILLUSTRATED explained long ago, involves an athlete giving a pint of blood a month or a month and a half before an athletic event, allowing the blood supply to build itself back up, then having the pint transfused to him or her a few days before the event. Thus the athlete allegedly receives an added "lift" from the extra blood.
I hope the league office, which has taken measures to keep the game relatively pure of amphetamines and other attempts to briefly raise a player's natural abilities, will inform Mr. Shero that such a practice as blood doping is unethical, if not illegal.
When shall we see the end of all these chemical and biological attempts to alter a player's strength and quickness, attempts that can only end in moral and physical destruction?
JAMES G. WALKER
In answer to Mark Mulvoy's NHL predictions, I enclose my own:
Most overrated team: Boston Bruins.
Most underrated team: Buffalo Sabres.
Most goals while standing still: Phil Esposito.
Best losing team (Stanley Cup playoffs): Chicago Black Hawks.
Most overpaid player (defense): Brad Park.
Most overpaid player (forward): Derek Sanderson.
Most interesting team: Montreal Canadians.
Most ink: Boston Bruins.
Most publicity: Bobby Orr.
Best publicity agent: Mark Mulvoy (Boston Bruins).
T. N. WOOLFOLK
Having just finished Bob Jones' excellent article Easy Rider Rolls One In (Oct. 14), I must say thank you for capturing the very difficult feel of Formula I racing.
Helmut Koinigg need not have died. I write not as an abolitionist but as a licensed competitor who loves the sport of racing very deeply. But our tracks can easily be made safer. Nelson Ledges Road Course, Warren, Ohio, has developed the Tirewall, invented by one of its trustees, Grover Griggs, into the best safety feature since rollbars and helmets. The track has held 30 SCCA-sanctioned weekends of racing by everyone from novices at drivers' schools to professionals in the national series in the two years the Tirewall has been erected around the track. There has not been one injury requiring hospitalization of a driver who has hit the Tirewall! If Watkins Glen had incorporated the Tirewall, Helmut Koinigg would be a little stiff and sore, not a memory.
The Tirewall is constructed of tires (naturally) stacked in an interlocking pattern. No special skills or equipment of any kind is needed. It works just like a big catcher's mitt by soaking up the energy of the car and stopping it in a short distance, not abruptly, as a guardrail is supposed to do. Big cars such as Camaros have knocked a couple of tires out of position when they hit the wall at 90 to 100 mph. Corner workers quickly replaced the tires between races and it was impossible to tell where the car hit. Formula cars have stuffed the wall in hard and have been out to compete in their next session after nothing more than a very careful check of the suspension.
DUANE F. ROST
FOR SPORT'S SAKE (CONT.)
I applaud your efforts (SCORECARD, Oct. 14) to get South Africa to allow all athletes to compete regardless of ancestry or pigmentation, but why not express similar sentiments about Scotland, where religion is the barrier?
A few years ago you pointed out that the great Glasgow Rangers soccer team will not permit Catholics to play for it. The Glasgow Celtic, founded by Irish Catholic immigrants some 15 years after the Rangers, will cheerfully allow Protestants to play on their team, if the Protestant will lower himself to do so. Some have.
AUSTIN C. DALEY
Because of the efficacy of television and films, the accuracy of pro football officials is sometimes open to question.
If the NFL were to combine the 25 most controversial plays of each Sunday's and Monday's game for a Wednesday night TV program during the season, show the plays from as many different camera angles as are available and indicate that either the official was right or wrong, or that the fault cannot be determined, I think it would be a super TV production.
GEORGE M. DAWSON
Shaker Heights, Ohio
Address editorial mail to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, TIME & LIFE Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020.