Neil Leifer's picture of the "discussion" at home plate during Game I of the New York-Boston series says it all (Yankee Doodle Series Was a Dandy, May 31). I've long felt that Billy Martin was one of the very best managers in baseball, and being a diehard Yankee fan, I'm glad he's back in pinstripes. He's got them off and running, and evidently when it comes to using their dukes, he's given a few pointers on that score, too.
MICHAEL ALAN EDDY
Your most enjoyable article captured a certain playoff type of excitement that lately has been missing from the Yankee scene. New York is a patsy team no longer.
Forest Hills, N.Y.
In my opinion, Larry Keith took cheap shots at the Red Sox and belittled their achievements. Your picture caption emphasized Rick Burleson's contribution to the brawl. Fine. However, you failed to make note of Mickey Rivers ambushing Bill Lee. I know New York is a good ball team and they are in first. But why didn't they dispose of Lee by means of their baseball skill rather than their "boxing" skill?
JAMES T. HORNSTEIN
I was totally disgusted by the fight. In my mind the real villains were Mickey Rivers and Graig Nettles, who with their newly discovered talent could make the Philadelphia Flyers.
The middle of a brawl like that is no place for a team's only left-handed starter to be.
Hockey in May? Ridiculous. Basketball in June? Impossible. But the Yankees and Red Sox fighting as of old, that is beautiful. It must be almost summertime.
JOHN F. TRIPP
I am fed up with your cutting down Philadelphia teams. Serge Savard of the Montreal Canadiens says, "The Flyers were the worst thing to happen to hockey" (SCORECARD, May 31), and you say Savard may be right. The Flyers play a rough, aggressive game and it won them two Stanley Cups. I don't see how Savard can say this with Larry Robinson on his team. And when the Yankees and Red Sox clear the bench, you call it "dandy."
The Canadiens' Stanley Cup victory was a gratifying conclusion to a season of disgrace for the National Hockey League. The Montreal skaters proved what real fans have known all along: the best hockey is clean hockey, in which any aggressiveness takes the form of hard but clean checking. Do you think there is any chance of league moguls, coaches and players catching on?
CONSTANCE O. YANKUS
I agree with Bobby Hull (Bobby Shows Gordie How, May 31). Hockey is getting too violent. And the same can be said of basketball, thanks to such teams and people as the Boston Celtics and Coach Tom Heinsohn. Hockey and basketball are games that should rely on outpositioning, outshooting, outskating (or outrunning) and outpassing the opposition. A fine example of a true basketball player is Julius Erving. Dr. J led his New York Nets to the ABA title via his amazing maneuvers, not by outmuscling others.
J. J. ROGERS
CHARLIE AND FLIPPER
As an employee of a tuna-packing company, I have been sensitive to the biased or incomplete articles on the "porpoise vs. tuna" issue. However, Donald Dale Jackson's The Dolphin Catch—and Catch-22 (May 24) is by far the most fair and comprehensive report on this complicated matter to date. I have distributed copies to my fellow employees, because Jackson has told the story better than we have been able to do ourselves.
DONALD T. MARTINDALE
YALE MAN ON THE RUN
As a marathon runner and contemporary of Frank Shortens at Yale, I read with particular interest Frank Deford's superb article (In the Long Run It's Shorter, May 24). Deford succeeded in capturing the essence of marathon running; his description of the aftermath of the Boston Marathon is a journalistic tour de force. Yet the article's greatest merit lies in the skillfully woven portrayal of Shorter, who truly lives up to the ancient ideal of mens sana in corpore sano. Frank has been a big winner in all that he has ever undertaken, yet he remains a refreshingly gentle and humble man. Having been a spectator in Munich for Frank's gold-medal win and an also-ran in the 1975 Boston Marathon that Will Rodgers captured, I feel certain that the Shorter-Rodgers confrontation will be one of the highlights at Montreal. I plan to be there, and I'll take Shorter by 30 seconds.
STEPHEN ALAN CUSHNER, M.D.
Many thanks for the fine portrayal of Frank Shorter, America's premier long-distance runner. The article gave the reader great insight into the motivation and philosophy of not only Shorter, who represents the ultimate, but distance runners in general.
Runners who race distances greater than a mile have for too long been regarded as lonely men who make heroic sacrifices in order to achieve an ambition. In fact, we are like any other athletes who wish to reach a goal. For most of us, the fun and joy come from the training, the reaching and the working for triumph. Shorter, the articulate Yale man, characterizes what distance running is all about, and Deford comprehends and conveys it in fine fashion.
Frank Deford did a terrific job of getting the intrinsic feelings of the marathon across to the readers.
Incidentally, tell Louise Shorter that the streets of Gainesville are a lot safer for runners now. This town has become a runner's paradise, and her husband's years of running here undoubtedly helped to make it so.
THOMAS P. WILD
Frank Deford's article was enough to inspire this former middle-distance runner, now middle weight and approaching middle age, to don the old track shoes and once again test his body over a number of miles in a personal marathon. The resultant blisters and muscle spasms only reaffirmed what I already knew. It is much more enjoyable to run vicariously with men like Frank Shorter through the written word of talents such as Deford.
Your May 24 issue offers a fascinating contrast in attitudes. In the article 50,000,000 Frenchmen Say He's the Guy, Guy Drut the hurdler says, "I prefer a man-against-man victory to a record. That's the real joy. Beat the adversary!"
Frank Shorter the marathoner states, "There is no sense of conquest, none of this business about vanquishing anybody. My only thought is, 'Here we are, dammit! We made it!' "
GEORGE C. FETTER
Following his disputed loss of the 1908 Olympic marathon to the American Johnny Hayes, Dorando Pietri came to this country to compete in a planned series of professional races against Hayes, Tom Longboat, the great Indian distance runner, and several others.
To the delight of his Italian fans, Dorando beat his American rival in a race held in the old Madison Square Garden, but he lost to the Canadian Longboat. The series of races was short-lived; it was a financial failure.
Hayes, who raced for the Irish-American Athletic Club of New York City, coached the Pioneer Athletic Club of Union Hill, N.J. in 1919, and I was a member of that track team.
West Hartford, Conn.
I was disappointed to read in SCORECARD (May 24) of yet another international sports event—the Soviet Junior National Basketball Team vs. the California High School All-Americans—being marred by politics. It is obvious that many countries, the U.S. and Russia included, have come to the belief that the outcome of international sporting events defines the superiority of one political system over another. It is clear that it no longer matters to some judges and referees how well the athletes perform. Their only concern is which country the athletes represent and their political ideals.
If it isn't too late to restore some dignity to international sports, politics should be driven out of the arenas and back into the smoke-filled rooms where it belongs.
PETER R. STEINBLUMS
San Mateo, Calif.
I can never understand why we bother to compete against the Russians at all when objective officiating is required. Sports competition with obvious political bias is not true sports competition at all, and, as usual, the athlete suffers the most. I say either clean up the officiating or put an end to dual athletic meets with the Soviet Union.
I would like to congratulate J.D. Reed for his fine article on Reggie Leach (In the Rocket's Red Clare, May 17). For the first time in a long time a writer talked about the talent the Flyers have on their club and not their hard-hitting, aggressive style of play.
I think Reggie Leach is one of the best (perhaps even the best) right wingers in the NHL today. However, I do not understand how he can say of his years with the Boston Bruins, "I know I was better than at least one of their right wings." If memory serves, those right wings were Johnny McKenzie, Ed Westphal and Ken Hodge. Reg, don't let success go to your head.
I thoroughly enjoyed Slumbering Sharks (May 24) by Stanley Meltzoff. At first glance, before reading the text, I thought the paintings were photographs. After closer examination, I realized how Meltzoff had transformed awesome reality into works of art.
R. JAMES SCHILLAT
King of Prussia, Pa.
What a fantastic article with unbelievable paintings. It reads like an underwater travelogue.
Re They Ain't What They Used To Be (May 10), when was the last time Michael Baughman went steelhead fishing in Idaho? Not for a while, no doubt. Steelhead have declined so much here that we have had no season. It seems to me that without the hatchery fish, we in Idaho will have as much luck catching steelhead as Baughman would have hunting trophy unicorn.
Has he ever thought that just maybe the hatchery fish might produce enough native fish that someday we will not need to raise "slugs"?
NO ONE GETS FIRED
Regarding your article on Japanese baseball (Bowed hut Never Bloodied, May 10), a kyuyo (rest and recuperation) plan of a sort has already been tried in the States. In the early 1960s the Chicago Cubs tried a system of revolving coaches. Two men, Elvin Tappe (twice)and Lou Klein (three times), returned from kyuyos to resume the duties of head coach. It didn't work.
W. E. WAGNER, M.D.
Yankton, S. Dak.
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