AS SHE IS SPOKE—AND WRIT
I concur with Edwin Newman's article (Regulated to the Bench, Sportswise, Sept. 27). Many Europeans believe that we Americans are isolationists because so few of us are bilingual. Obviously we are not isolationists, but one may ask how we can become a nation of bilingual people when so few of us are monolingual. I hope that Newman's book also explores the wealth of grammatical errors and malapropisms in commercial television in general. Newman speaks good like an elocutionist should.
ROBERT W. WIRTZ
Mandan, N. Dak.
You can blame Edwin Newman and the excerpt from his book A Civil Tongue if you get 10 zillion letters calling attention to un-grammatical statements by sportscasters. The supply of material is inexhaustible. Just the stuff from Curt Gowdy is enough for a whole chapter. "Their future appears to be ahead of them," he said of the Baltimore Colts in late November of last year. After a newcomer to the NFL came into a game between Miami and the Denver Broncos in December, Gowdy announced: "He played with the Chicago Fire of the now-extinct World Football League." (Was that the WFL or a stegosaurus?) Gowdy makes Jim Simpson and the others sound almost literate.
Irregardless of all that, A Civil Tongue looks like some kind of book.
New Canaan, Conn.
Where was the mention of the countless passes thrown "right on the money"? It is enough to make one winch.
ARTHUR P. DARLING, M.D.
October 10, 1976
Edwin Newman's very good article proves that he has a succinct head on his shoulders.
JOHN M. HARRIS
Edwin Newman says, "Stadiums are increasingly roofed over." In light of the message of his article, I can only assume that this is opposed to being "roofed under," right?
I was greatly disappointed that Edwin Newman didn't "make mention" of that five-letter word "great," the grease without which the sportscasting industry would grind to a screeching...silence. Whatever happened to such adjectives as "excellent," "tremendous," "healthy," "long," "speedy," or that poor little unassuming adverb "very"?
Between you and I, he might also have referred to the obvious confusion of sportscasters about the correct use of "me" as the object of a preposition.
Des Plaines, Ill.
If Edwin Newman is really among the [1/10] of 1% of the population that speaks perfect English he should have better things to do than write articles making fun of the rest of us. And how many sports fans would like to have missed Dizzy Dean's baseball telecasts when he said, "He'd a been safe if he'd a slud"? I wouldn't have.
Sioux Falls, S. Dak.
In his article on the Ohio State-Penn State game (Out To Make Three People Happy. Sept. 27) Douglas S. Looney stated that Ohio State was "a certified powerhouse that should flick off Missouri." As I recall. Missouri ended up doing the flicking by a 22-21 score.
Fort Wayne, Ind.
How does your foot taste, Pat Putnam (Battered but As Yet Unbowed, Sept. 27)? I found it quite gratifying to watch nationally ranked North Carolina intentionally take a delay-of-game penalty in order to ensure its meager two-point victory over Army, a team "you have to worry for."
West Point, N.Y.
I must disagree with your SCORECARD item (Sept. 27). Pittsburgh Coach Chuck Noll was right to level his charge against George Atkinson of the Raiders. "Implosive contact" in pro football is one aspect of the game; mugging is not. It has only become a factor because the sporting press and the game's hierarchy have allowed matters on the field to get out of hand and into crunched fists.
The officials and reporters that allowed, and merely sluffed off, Atkinson's mugging of Lynn Swann are as bad as the "fans" who dismiss fighting as part of the game in pro hockey. Both types of violence should be curbed with heavier fines and suspensions.
Personally, I prefer the finesse of a touchdown pass or a slick skate-and-score to a cheap shot in the secondary or bedlam at the boards. Why not end it?
New York City
•The point of the SCORECARD item was that by emphasizing violence and brutality, pro football invites the sort of mayhem that occurred in the Pittsburgh-Oakland game.—ED.
It seems to me that a purposeful clothes-lining, a punch and a late hit are all distinguishable from a clean tackle. If the Steelers are unnecessarily brutal that does not entitle the Raiders to be the same; both teams should be penalized. The penalties should include not only fines, but also player suspensions. Any way to reduce unnecessary injuries would be helpful.
MARSHALL PLAUT, M.D.
You mention Howard Cosell and his "bleating with ill-concealed excitement" when a quarterback is blasted, or when a defensive back all but destroys a wide receiver. At least that's where the ball is. Lynn Swann was never near the ball; he even had his head turned upfield. I saw the play and several replays. It was just a case of brutality to a talented ballplayer.
RUN-PRODUCING SECOND BASEMEN
As fine a ballplayer as Joe Morgan is, he is not "the fourth [second baseman] ever to get 100 RBIs in one year" (BASEBALL'S WEEK, Sept. 20). You have overlooked some titans of the game who have accomplished the feat. Tony Lazzeri did it seven times, and so did Charlie Gehringer. Bobby Doerr did it six times, Rogers Hornsby five, Joe Gordon four and Jackie Robinson, Buddy Myer, Del Pratt and Johnny Hodapp once each. The aforementioned all had at least one year of 100 RBIs while playing exclusively at second base. Such stalwart keystoners as Frankie Frisch, Marty McManus, Billy Herman and Odell Hale made the century mark while playing a few games at other positions. So Morgan ranks at best as the 10th second baseman ever to drive in 100 runs in a season or, possibly more realistically, as the 14th ever.
Address editorial mail to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, New York, 10020.