Ron Fimrite's article on come-from-behind baseball races (Begging for a Miracle, Aug. 16) was informative and conjured up a lot of "ifs." I got the greatest kick from the two-page color photo of Frank Taveras on his knees at second base with the perplexed look of a man who feels he is safe but has just been thrown out. Look behind Taveras. There's the circular symbol of the Philadelphia Phillies. It's almost as if the Phillies were a Big Brother-type power hovering over Three Rivers Stadium, making sure the Pirates stay where they are.
Could it be that Frank Taveras is pleading for mercy from the symbol over his head?
If it is true that a picture is worth a thousand words, then that photograph is worth a million. To portray an entire season in one shot is a work of art.
HENRY D. JONES
Reading Ron Fimrite's fine article made me wonder if baseball has too few playoff games. Out of 24 teams, only four can compete in postseason play. I believe baseball should follow pro basketball's lead and have at least the top two finishers in each division compete in the playoffs.
JOE M. BOSSO
BOTTLES AND CANS (CONT.)
SI's venture into the world of bottles and cans (The Point of No Returns, Aug. 2) is as one-sided a piece of reporting as has been done on this issue since Oregon put its famous "bottle bill" into effect in 1972.
Apparently lost on SI's writer is the fact that the Yosemite Park experiment is part of an attempt by the federal EPA to force a return to deposit containers for all beer and soft drinks. The same tired arguments advanced in the article have been used for the past five years by those who seek a simplistic solution to a complex problem.
The answer to litter is to educate those who do the littering—not to tamper with a packaging system that has brought low-cost beverages to millions and employment to hundreds of thousands. And if, under the deposit system, the return rate at Yosemite is 76%, as SI says, then 24 out of every 100 bottles are still out there with the bears. That's no bargain energywise or any other way.
JOHN F. MCGOLDRICK
Director of Communications
American Can Company
Jerry Uhrhammer compounds the problem by polarizing the issue. We concur with all environmentally concerned people on the goals that must be met. We differ primarily on the methods of achieving these goals.
Uhrhammer cites a source stating that beverage-related litter in Oregon was reduced substantially during the first years of the Oregon bottle law. He does not state, however, that overall litter was reduced by less than 11%. The debate over the Oregon bill created a high level of publicity. The United States Brewers Association has long maintained that consistent information and education contribute a great deal to the public's ability to change littering habits. In this regard, the author misses the significance of what the spokesman from Willamette National Forest was saying when he was quoted: "The bottle bill has created an emphasis...an awareness."
Uhrhammer states that jobs were created because of the Oregon law. He does not point out that skilled jobs were lost.
There was a loss of sales in beer and soft drinks in Oregon and a corresponding loss in tax revenues to the state. In fact, the normal rate of sales increase in Oregon practically came to a standstill after the law took effect.
The article is based on laws restricting containers in only two states. Uhrhammer does not mention that the public, when given the opportunity to express its view, voted against such prohibitive legislation all eight times such referenda have been placed on state and local ballots. The Senate, in passing a solid-waste bill for resource-recovery support, rejected overwhelmingly an amendment to require mandatory deposits. The public is obviously expecting more responsible solutions to litter and solid-waste problems.
There are better alternatives. The Clean Community System has already achieved a 70%-or-better reduction in all litter without any significant cost to the consumer or the community. And resource-recovery programs attack the entire waste stream, not just 6% of it!
CHESTER E. GARDNER
Vice President, Communications
United States Brewers Association
Re Jerry Uhrhammer's concise reporting of the throwaway-container dilemma, it is clear to me that responsible, pragmatic planning of solutions to environmental concerns can be successful, as evidenced by Oregon's controversial bottle bill. I hope that similar progressive thinking will be shown by voters in those states where deposit-law referenda are appearing and that an example will be set for the U.S. Senate. Perhaps with slightly more objective analysis of the statistics, our elected officials will come to see the value of such legislation.
STICKING UP FOR STONES
I wish to thank Kenny Moore for pointing out that high jumper Dwight Stones, as a person and an athlete, is a solid rock indeed (He Takes His Very Dry, If You Please, Aug. 16). The rain in Montreal may have turned his gold medal into bronze, but it in no way dampened his determination to succeed, his confidence in his style or his ability to reach greater heights. Evidence of this is his 7'7¼" world record.
In the long run, Stones' Montreal experience may prove to be one of the most constructive forces in his life. His comments and actions, as reported in SI, reflect a thoughtful, introspective individual, one who sees himself as merely human. As Stones searches for the "reason why it rained on my parade in Montreal," his character should become even stronger than it already is.
JACK A. MCKENZIE
In 1931-32, as a 135-pound seaman aboard the coal-burning U.S.S. Ontario stationed at Pago Pago, I helped quarterback a Navy football team against native American Samoans—members of the quasi-military native Fita Fita Guard—and repeatedly we got clobbered by overpowering weight and football know-how. The barefooted Samoans ran over us roughshod. But it was fun for all hands, and, consequently, Richard W. Johnston's article Shake 'Em Out of the Coconut Trees (Aug. 16) set to ringing a number of old, muted bells.
In the story on Samoans in American college football, it is mentioned that Al Lolotai, the former pro football player, has a son, Tiloi, who is on a football scholarship at the University of Colorado. There also should have been mention of another son, Rich, who was the heart of the defensive line at Yale in 1969 and 1970 when the Elis allowed fewer than 100 yards per game rushing, to rank ninth nationally in this category in both years and second nationally in total defense in 1969.
New Haven, Conn.
Great article by Ray Kennedy (Boomingest Sooner of 'Em All, Aug. 9). Tears of laughter were in my eyes. That a Nebraska Cornhusker fan like me enjoyed this piece tells what a gifted writer Kennedy is. And thanks to Barry Switzer, too.
That was a wonderful story on Barry Switzer and college football's Big Red Machine. Although I'm a hard-core Buckeye fan, I have to admit that those Sooners are something else!
I thoroughly enjoyed your article on Barry Switzer. And as a born-and-bred Sooner, I agreed with Switzer up to a point. But I must disagree that everywhere in Oklahoma it is OU football. To me and thousands of others from Oklahoma State University, it is Cowboy football. I wish the best of luck to the University of Oklahoma this year—in all but one of its games.
As a resident of the state and a senior at the University of Oklahoma I was offended by the article. Ray Kennedy pictured Oklahoma as a state of Gomer Pyles with nothing more constructive to do than fry fish and drive pickup trucks.
The aspect of the article that irritated me most was the way in which Barry Switzer was portrayed. Any coach who logs a 32-1-1 record in his first three years (with 28 consecutive victories) should be treated with more respect and dignity. Everyone knows that the game of football is a good deal more than just rounding up "a bunch of country boys having a yahooing good time, playing a game they 'flat-out love.' "
In my four years at OU I've had the pleasure of hearing Coach Switzer speak on numerous occasions, and though he may at times use down-home colloquialisms, he by no means speaks like a Li'l Abner. Switzer is a coach with style, flair and a deep knowledge of the game and should be depicted as such. Booner Sooner!
DENNIS M. WALSH
Barry Switzer is an excellent coach and has compiled a fine record at Oklahoma, but his knowledge of football history is less than perfect. He says of three of his starters who went to the pros in the 1976 draft, the first, fourth and 11th players chosen, that "no college has ever had three players go that high."
In 1966 Michigan State's Bubba Smith, Clint Jones, George Webster and Gene Washington were chosen first, second, fifth and eighth in the NFL draft. However, it was a loss from which Michigan State has yet to recover. I hope that Oklahoma has a better fate.
Mt. Clemens, Mich.
In 1968 USC had five players drafted in the first round. Ron Yary was picked first, Mike Taylor 10th, Tim Rossovich 14th, Mike Hull 16th, and Earl McCullouch 24th.
JOHN L. LIDDLE
The Chicago Cubs pitching staff is putting a lot of the blame for its horrendous ERA on Wrigley Field (Pitching Flubs Drub Cubs, July 26). Yet, as I remember, a pitcher by the name of Ferguson Jenkins won 20 or more games for six consecutive years and also won the Cy Young award in the very same stadium. This proves that a talented pitcher can pitch anywhere and still win games. The Cubs pitchers are simply not talented.
•Although Jenkins did have six 20-win seasons with the Cubs, he also averaged 14 losses a year and had the benefit of offensive and defensive support from such teammates as Billy Williams, Don Kessinger, Ron Santo, Glenn Beckert and Ernie Banks.—ED.
In reference to SCORECARD (July 26), I was in the stands in July 1975 when Bill Wheeler sacked five rattlesnakes in 18.3 seconds. I thought your readers might be interested in some of the rules of snake sacking:
1) All snakes must be unharmed; the penalty for injuring a snake is disqualification from the contest.
2) If the snake bites either itself or the sacker during a contest, a five-second penalty is added to the sacker's time.
All snakes are later released, unharmed, into their natural environment.
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