Frank Deford's article (More Dark Clouds Over Montreal, July 19) underscores your high standard of journalism. If the parties involved in the Olympic disputes could, or would, view the issues as clearly as Deford has presented them, the future of the Games would surely be brighter.
THOMAS K. PATTON
It seems unlikely that the U.S. would ever withdraw from the Olympics because a matter of principle outweighed other concerns. But for the 1980 Games in Moscow, perhaps we ought to consider an alternative, should a Taiwan-Canada-type problem arise. Wearing whatever uniforms seem appropriate, let's be the first country to voluntarily march in the opening ceremony under the IOC flag. Perhaps the idea will catch on.
I deeply regret that your July 19 issue contained only a paragraph in FOR THE RECORD on the death of a great person and baseball authority, Thomas Austin Yawkey. I realize that space is limited but Tom Yawkey deserved more. We loved him here in New England, and if ever a Hall of Great Human Beings is developed Mr. Yawkey should be the first one in it.
It is always interesting to read articles about little-known records such as Steve Weitzman's Larceny Is Not in His Heart (July 19) on Earl Williams breaking the mark for not stealing bases. But did he? The article states that Dick Stuart batted 3,408 consecutive times before stealing a base and, if this is true, then Stuart, not Williams, should be the holder of this somewhat dubious record since Williams has only 2,520 at bats. Perhaps you meant that the record should belong to a player who has not stolen a base at all in his career. In this case, should Williams steal a base before he retires, the record would revert to Russ Nixon, thus calming his state of shock.
August 1, 1976
Barbara Henckel may have "a great eye" as you say (LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER, July 19), but someone in your organization could use a little help with his or hers.
Scott May was erroneously identified as a basketball star from North Carolina. Thousands of Hoosiers are surely having palpitations over this bit of misinformation. I'm sure North Carolina would have been delighted to have had Mr. May, but, nevertheless, he did play for Indiana, the current NCAA champions.
Fort Wayne, Ind.
•Scott May was rounded up from North Carolina where he was practicing with the Olympic team.—ED.
ON THE TRAIL
Thank you for Miffed and Also Mulish (July 12). We were in Frankfort, N.Y. to see the start of the Great American Horse Race, but until we read your article we had been unable to get an updated account as to who was leading and to what point the competitors had progressed.
In SCORECARD (July 19) you accurately reported on the proposed changes to the Los Angeles Coliseum (adding football seats but removing the track). Please don't count us out. The architect promises that when (if) the 1984 Olympic Games are awarded to Los Angeles, the track can be reinstalled.
JOHN C. ARGUE
TIME TO STRIKE OUT
I agree with Gene Mauch's comment in SCORECARD (July 19): "I've seen more inferior umpiring so far this season than I saw in 16 years as a manager in the National League." The umpiring in the American League is horrendous. TV instant replay makes this plain. When is Lee MacPhail going to make some changes? Last year it was Frank Robinson who took it on the chin for his comments on the subject. How long do we have to wait? Baseball's problems are manifold, and American League umpiring certainly belongs at the top of the list.
Pomfret Center, Conn.
If the female tennis players insist on equal pay at Wimbledon (SCORECARD, July 19), a suggestion regarding the format of next year's tournament would be to have the men and women play in the same singles tournament. After the third round, when, presumably, all the women have been eliminated, they would probably reconsider their demands.
PATRICK G. BROWN
Robert W. Creamer, in writing about the possibility that women may not play at Wimbledon next year, quotes two men who believe that male tennis players are better performers than their female counterparts. How about reporting the other side of the issue?
If Wimbledon officials believe that men are "the better gate attraction," the officials should supply statistical proof.
Actually a very good case can be made to reduce the women's share below the very liberal 80% they receive now. At the latest Wimbledon, the men played a total of 127 matches consisting of 455 sets for an average of 3.58 sets per match. The women played only 95 total matches consisting of 211 sets for an average of 2.22 sets per match.
If the women claim more court time by virtue of a larger draw, the result would be to further dilute an already weak field. In the present situation the men's matches are more closely contested and therefore have greater spectator appeal. Of the men's first-round matches, 44% went into extra sets as compared to only 9% for the women. Of all of the men's matches, 43% went into extra sets as compared to 25% for the women. Thus the caliber of play among the men is uniformly high, from the first round on. The first round in the women's draw was a disaster from a competitive standpoint.
If the women are to deserve prize money even close to that of the men, they are going to have to develop more good players.
RICHARD G. KADESCH
Rather than too much tennis, as William Leggett suggests (Anyone for Too Much Tennis, July 12), we tennis enthusiasts feel the programs are too little, or too late, or too much Hollywood. We don't care for the glitter and glamour; we dislike the prattle about which Hollywood stars are sitting where. We want to see tennis matches, shown in their entirety—live. We desire more, not less!
VIOLET C. GALLAGHER
So 225 hours of tennis on TV this year is too much? I'd love to see the figures on just how much air time each year is spent on football, basketball and that most colossal of bores, baseball. Compared to the amount of coverage TV gives those sports, tennis still has a long way to go.
It's not just the quantity of TV tennis that is inferior; so is the quality of TV's treatment of the game. Maybe this is a reason for any drop in the tennis ratings, a reason that Mr. Leggett completely ignores. I have been infuriated by missing parts of matches because of commercials, or taped replays running into the live action. The camera angle used for most matches is from above the court, which does not always give the best view. And most tennis announcers on TV are so incompetent that it is frightening. The only ones who seem to know the difference between a forehand and a backhand are ex-players, and the inimitable Bud Collins.
Also, two qualifications: 1) I do agree with Leggett that it is a bit strange to see the same players matched against different opponents at the same time on different channels (and this happens rather often); 2) the above criticisms do not apply to Public Broadcasting, which shows almost all matches live and complete and uses Collins as host.
In spite of all my criticisms, I have to admit that I do watch a great deal of tennis on TV. I wish the networks would not cut back their programming—50% is frightening—and improve the quality of what they do show; then I would watch even more.
ROUTE 40 (CONT.)
Congratulations to Bil Gilbert and your magazine for supplying us with an enjoyable recollection of our heritage, with a delightful story (A Turn Along the Old Pike, June 21 et seq.). I do take exception, however, to his parenthetical assertion that Captain Joe Walker took the first emigrants across the Sierras in 1843. Ably led by Captain Thomas Fitzpatrick, an emigrant group left Kansas for California in May of 1841. Fitzpatrick departed the California party at Soda Springs, Idaho in order to guide Catholic missionaries to the Flathead Indians of Idaho. The rest of the party pressed on westward with more courage than wisdom and by roughly following the same route as the present-day Interstate 80, nee Route 40, entered the Central Valley of California in November 1841.
HENRY W. MARLOW
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