A VOTE FOR THE MACHINE
I have to congratulate Ron Fimrite on his article Two Big Red Machines (Oct. 11). He did an excellent job, giving us details on each team and on the players who performed well during the season. He also made a correct prediction in choosing Cincinnati as the victor. The only part that I don't agree with is the title. There is only one true Big Red Machine, and you know which one that is.
If postseason baseball is to be played at night for TV's sake (SCORECARD, Oct. 11), the season must be shortened so that the World Series is completed by mid-September. Cold weather can be excruciatingly painful for players and significantly reduce the quality of play. The prospect of a Montreal-Toronto series, remote as it seems now, makes me shiver just thinking about it. Let's make baseball a "summer game" again.
JAMES D. ANDERSON
Concerning the question of whether or not World Series games should be played on Sunday night, I go with William Leggett (TV/RADIO, Oct. 11). I think they should be played in the afternoon so that we kids can watch. A Sunday night game is a disaster for us, because we have school the next day. So why not give us a break?
DOMINANT AND DEMANDING
I am taking a course in sports officiating (taught by Irv Brown, one of the best NCAA basketball officials, if not the best) here at the University of Colorado, and I found your article on the ins and outs of refereeing (Nobody Loves the Ruling Class, Oct. 11) to be as informative as it was entertaining. Perhaps I am "dominant, demanding and self-disciplined"—but I'd still very much like to pursue a career in officiating.
As a basketball official, I thoroughly enjoyed the article. Though many of the comments concerning women officials were untrue, I agree with one statement made by Bill Russell: "Incompetence should not be confined to one sex."
It does take a special kind of person to be an official. If more fans (not to mention players) realized this, then maybe they would not be so quick to judge. If you compare the number of mistakes a player makes with the number of bad calls an official makes, and pay both according to their accuracy, the official will come out ahead.
"What is one to make of the decision?" asks Mark Kram of the Ali-Norton mystery in Yankee Stadium (Not the Greatest Way to Go, Oct. 11). As Kram implies, it is almost impossible to say if Ali was "beaten," or if we even saw Ali at all on that night. One thing is certain, though: Mark Kram's ability to unravel the social, political and philosophical threads that entangle Muhammad Ali make Kram a detective and a writer of the first order, rivaled perhaps only by Sherlock Holmes, James Joyce or Vladimir Nabokov. "Observe the small facts upon which large inferences may depend," Holmes tells Watson. Surely Kram has done that time and again with delicate genius.
A year ago I told my class of freshman composition students that Mark Kram's account of the Thrilla in Manila (Lawdy, Lawdy, He's Great, Oct. 13, 1975) was probably the best piece of newswriting ever written, and certainly the best I'd ever read. Nor the Greatest Way to Go may be better.
ROBERT HAISE GRAHAM
Santa Monica, Calif.
I was greatly disappointed in Mark Kram's report. He missed two highly significant points. First, there are fighters such as George Chuvalo, Joe Bugner and Ken Norton whose style Ali would always have trouble combating. Second, it is a rare occasion when two judges and a referee can agree on 10 of the 15 rounds of any fight. Although Ali is not the same as he was on Feb. 25, 1964 in Miami Beach, he is still the "greatest." I hope we see him again.
In my opinion Mark Kram is one-sided in his views and gives Ken Norton no justice in the article.
Fort Myers, Fla.
I believe that Mark Kram summarized the feelings of most sports fans. Muhammad Ali's boxing skills have deteriorated to the point where for him to continue fighting would do nothing but tarnish his record. Whether or not the decision in the Norton fight was right is not really relevant, since Norton's performance was also far from spectacular. Probably the most accurate decision would have been a draw, since neither fighter showed any continuity or ability to control the fight.
East Lansing, Mich.
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