Your "Baseball Boom" cover (Aug. 11) was a thing of immense beauty. I spent an hour studying the amazing cross section of people—men, women and children—united by the common bond of their emotions as they are caught up in the magic of baseball. I found disbelief, concern, consternation, outrage, indignation, exasperation, resentment, anger, etched alike on faces of people who may have little else in common. It isn't so much a big picture as many little pictures. And these are supposed to be people who have become hardened and apathetic thanks to inflation, crime and the evening news. What matter of global intensity could excite them all so? Probably a close play at the plate.
The picture was obviously taken at Fenway Park, where baseball is indeed booming this summer. Thanks for taking me a little closer to it all and also for the best cover you ever printed. I intend to frame it.
My family thoroughly enjoyed your cover photograph of the baseball crowd by Neil Leifer. We looked at each person in this Norman Rockwell-type scene and found a common "Aw, balderdash!" expression on many faces. Please tell us where this picture was taken and what had just happened.
•Neil Leifer took the cover picture on Wednesday, July 30 at Boston's Fenway Park. Although he was too busy concentrating on the crowd in the stands along the first-base line to pay much attention to what was happening on the field, Leifer feels that this particular shot may have come from the top of the seventh inning, when with two out the Milwaukee Brewers scored two unearned runs to go ahead 3-1. They eventually won the game 6-2. Boston had something to cheer about, however. The crowd of 33,850 raised Red Sox attendance over the million mark—to 1,005,397—on the club's 50th date.—ED.
Little did I realize that my short stay in Boston would fulfill a lifetime ambition of mine—to appear on the cover of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. Now I only hope that the famed SI cover jinx is but a myth.
MARK M. TWOMEY
I feel sorry for those people in Boston. Can you imagine the SI cover jinx falling on 87 of them (I counted) at one time? Those poor people.
It was refreshing and heartening to see a game and its fans featured. For once, the reader was able to delve into an article about the essence of a professional sport, the intricate and sensitive interplay between the game and those who come to view it.
Despite some rules changes and innumerable bat, ball, hat, shoe and sock days, baseball remains intact. As your article made clear, there is something eternally fascinating about a sport that defies the present-day ethic of more leagues, more money, more speed, more contact. Baseball lives and grows because we fans live and grow with it.
New Canaan, Conn.
You managed to run a four-page article on the rise in baseball's popularity because of a "new look" and publicity gimmicks without mentioning the man who is most responsible, Charles O. Finley.
Ten years ago owners and fans alike laughed at his colorful uniforms and gaudy publicity gimmicks. Now other teams are quietly following suit and the fans are coming to the ball park in record numbers. Charlie O. has helped to improve baseball.
Peter Bavasi says, "The player who says I'll let my bat do the talking is no longer a complete player. If the public loves him, he's got a good argument at contract time. He can say, 'Well, I didn't hit so well, but I did have three fan clubs.' "
That being the case, I don't see why Bavasi doesn't hire Liberace to play center field. I wouldn't expect him to hit very well, but I'm sure he has more than three fan clubs.
CHARLES ALVA HOYT
Your article on the "grand new game" was a fine one but you had better come up with some grand new comparisons. How can you possibly compare the price of a ticket to a major league baseball game with the price of a pro football ticket? Baseball has approximately 150 days of income while football has 14 (not including preseason or postseason activity). It is obvious that football has to charge more. For every football game, baseball has 11.57 games.
In addition to the promotions, the price and—more important—the availability of tickets, the quality of play has finally caught up with the major leagues' burst of expansion in the 1960s.
The lowly Chicago Cubs will easily draw more than a million people this year. That is remarkable, considering the Cubs play all day games, have no giveaways or gimmicks, have poor parking facilities and televise all home games. What the Cubs have going for them is beautiful Wrigley Field and a loyal fandom.
I thought your cover was one of the most sensational you have ever had. Some minor leagues are even showing signs of prospering again. Here in Jackson, Miss., after an absence of 21 years, professional baseball has returned with the AA Texas League. The Jackson Mets, affiliated with the New York Mets, have averaged more than 1,500 fans per game despite the fact that half of their games were played in the hot Southern summer daylight because the lights for the new stadium were not ready when the season opened.
So many people—young, old, rich, poor—have discovered the fun of baseball. It is good cheap entertainment, and as long as people continue to have a good time at the old (new) ball park, minor league ball will do very well in cities like Jackson.
City of Jackson
THUNDER AND LIGHTNING
The article on lightning by Robert F. Jones (An Awesome Light Touch, Aug. 4) was both interesting and instructive. But the author should have made known the fact that seemingly lifeless victims of lightning strikes (especially victims of the most common occurrence, indirect lightning "splash") should not be considered dead, even if no pulse can be detected. Heart action and respiration stop instantly when a person is struck, but they can be restored by cardiopulmonary resuscitation. After a pulse is detected, mouth-to-mouth resuscitation should be continued for as long as it takes the victim to breathe on his own.
There is evidence that in a typical lightning "death," heart action restarts spontaneously, albeit weakly, but respiration does not restart unassisted; thus the victim dies needlessly from lack of oxygen. Perhaps if this information were more widely disseminated many lives could be saved.
G. FREDRIC REYNOLDS
•Medical experts suggest that closed-chest cardiac massage be started immediately rather than wait for the heart to recover on its own.—ED.
As a golfer who used to laugh at the threat of lightning, I thank you for Robert F. Jones' article. A word to the wise is sufficient. I have no desire to challenge Roy C. (Dooms) Sullivan's record.
That was a nice article on Silk Stockings, the filly that won the OTB Classic for 3-year-old pacers and set a world record at Monticello (Silky Sets the Cold Standard, Aug. 4). However, you gave the name of the sire (Most Happy Fella) but never mentioned the dam, Maryellen Hanover, bred at the Hanover Shoe Farms and sold as a yearling in 1964. She foaled Silky in 1972.
W. TODD DEVAN, M.D.
Silky won the race but the kids at the Au Clair School for autistic children are the real winners. My hat is off to Ken and Claire Mazik. They are worth all the gold in the world.
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