Chaws by Roy Blount Jr. (July 4) is simply one of the finest, most entertaining articles in your magazine in recent years.
After many years of informative and enjoyable reading, my first letter to you is a criticism. Printing Chaws was unfortunate. It was obnoxious, disgusting, uncalled for and beneath you.
JOHN W. MCMENAMIN
New York City
Fine work. First time I have ever felt like taking an Alka-Seltzer after reading something.
River Grove, Ill.
Many players were quoted as saying that chewing was a help to them while playing. Although I don't chew during games, just having a snuff can (Happy Days) in my pocket proved to be a help. I was hitting .160 before I put the can in my pocket and I finished at over .300.
Fort Monmouth, N.J.
July 17, 1977
The chaw is an important part of baseball. In fact, legend has it that the bullpen received its name because the pitchers sitting out there chewed Bull Pen tobacco.
My friend and I went to a recent Tiger-Red Sox game. After Bill Campbell signed his autograph for me, he slobbered over a picture my friend had drawn of three Red Sox. I am happy to say that the tobacco juice dried up, and the picture of the Red Sox has only a couple of spots now.
Social attitudes restrict my chewing, but when I do indulge, I've noticed that for some reason a wad seems to fit comfortably only in the left side of my mouth. I was sorry Blount didn't answer a question I've pondered for some time: Am I a southjaw?
Huntington. W. Va.
Blount says the Reds' Champ Summers chewed licorice, but I read an item about Summers getting a pinch-hit, inside-the-park home run against the Expos and all but collapsing as he crossed home plate. He explained he had swallowed "about $2 worth of tobacco" after he hit the ball and almost didn't make it around the bases. Maybe he shouldn't have mixed his chews.
I'm glad you've finally recognized the great power in the Red Sox (BOOM!, July 4)—but "The Boomer and The Crunch Bunch" as a nickname? The "Over-the-Wall Gang" would be more fitting for the future world champions.
How about "Tater Mashers"?
JOHN R. SULLIVAN
Contrary to Clif and Claf's opinions, New Englanders do appreciate George "Boomer" Scott. Most Bostonians are rejoicing over the Boomer's triumphant return to Fenway. Any player who hits more than 20 home runs in half a season should not be condemned just because he makes a few miscues in the field. Come September, when the Boomer wears the home-run crown, Clif and Claf will see who is laughing last.
TIMOTHY C. REGAN
CHARLES WISEMAN II
The fifth boom at the top of page 11 must have been an opposite-field shot. It obviously has no sense of direction.
Who gives a hoot how many homers the Red Sox hit? Who cares who chews tobacco best? The real sports action of late has been in Chicago—the amazing Cubs, with the best record in baseball but with not a whole lot of overpriced talent, and the hard-hitting and rising White Sox, with a cast of retreads, yet winners nonetheless.
Clarendon Hills, Ill.
So Announcer Joe Tait thinks he has to attack Frank Robinson's mental capacity (An Indian Tomahawked, July 4). I'd spot Tait 19 points in an IQ test against Robinson. This assumes, of course, that Tait could read the test in the first place.
If writer Joe Jares needed a reason why Frank Robinson was "tomahawked." he supplied it himself. The answer Robinson gave to Joe Tait's accusations contained the fundamental reason for Robinson's departure. In so many words, he called the Indians a "no talent" team. To say this at that time means Robinson must have felt that way while he was managing. No wonder there was unrest and bickering among the players.
It was common knowledge to Cleveland fans that Phil Seghi wanted Robinson fired last year but was hamstrung by the owner. As for Tait, he is a quality announcer. What he said was his opinion and I admire his courage and honesty—qualities that are rarely shown by anyone on any network. As far as broadcasting goes, they are all shills.
GARY A. LIMBACHER
Regarding the William Leggett article on ABC's coverage of the U.S. Open (At the Open, No News Was Bad News, July 4), I could not disagree more strongly with his judgment that withholding news of the death threat to Hubert Green was "bad journalism."
Considering the effect that reporting the threat would almost certainly have had on the galleries and the players—and perhaps on the nut who made the threat—I believe we witnessed not "bad journalism" but that increasingly rare phenomenon, responsible journalism.
BETH VAN ANTWERP
It's about time you recognized Ted Turner for the sportsman he is (Staging a Battle Royal on the Briny, July 4). How many other sportsmen are there that compete in the America's Cup, own a baseball team (the Braves), a basketball team (the Hawks) and have the support of practically an entire city (Atlanta)?
Will Ted Turner dig a hole in Atlanta and race sailboats there next season? The only way Atlanta ever will win anything is if Turner brings the Courageous back home after it wins the cup.
I agree with SCORECARD (July 4) that the selection of the All-Star Game players becomes a popularity contest when left to the fans. The other night I attended a Braves game in Atlanta and was handed 14 All-Star ballots, as were my companions. I was urged to vote for the Braves players not only by the usher and the public announcer, but also by the electric scoreboard. There were 10,000 at the game, so probably 40,000 to 50,000 ballots were cast, obviously with management's approval.
But as a discriminating baseball fan, I cast all my ballots for Red Sox players. I can't imagine what the woman who sat behind me did with her 14 ballots; she wanted to know why the players ran off the field periodically throughout the game.
My father and I attended the July 2 game between the Orioles and the Red Sox at Fenway Park.
When the ushers distributed the ballots for the All-Star game. I was surprised to see that the ballot they gave me had already been punched for George Scott and Rick Burleson. All the people around us received similar ballots.
Feeling quite disturbed that I could not vote for Rod Carew, I asked the usher what had happened. He told me that all the ballots used at Fenway that night were punched for Scott and Burleson. He went on to explain, in a tone one might use to a 2-year-old, that the ballots had been delivered to the park that way. When the machine printed them, he said, the ballots had been "accidentally" punched for Scott and Burleson.
I find this story hard to believe. Ballot-box stuffing by individuals should be frowned upon. But when such practice is sanctioned by the home team and forced upon the fans, All-Star voting has reached a level that is shameful and sad.
BLOWING THE WHISTLE
Houston Rocket Coach Tom Nissalke was well defended in the 19TH HOLE of June 20, but I believe it's about time someone defended the officials. The basketball referee receives more abuse than any official in any other sport. Yet he goes out on the court every day and receives more of same. I can understand small arguments between referees and coaches during the heat of battle, but what Nissalke did after the game with Philadelphia—complaining about the officiating over the Houston P.A. system—was bush. The only answer I've got for the people who defend this sort of thing is, try refereeing sometime and see how difficult it is.
EDWARD R. PAWLUS
In Setting Sail for the Defense (June 20) the lead picture shows Courageous with "26" on her mainsail and "28" on her spinnaker, while Independence has "28" on her mainsail and "26" on the spinnaker. Are the competing owners so friendly that they swap sails?
RICHARD E. WHITE
Jacksonville Beach, Fla.
•The two boats are raced by the same syndicate.—ED.
THE MATSON LINE
I must argue with Edwin Moses' self-assessment at the AAU Track and Field Championship (Good Times and Good Time at L.A., June 20). Granted, Moses is the best in the 400 hurdles, but he stretches the facts when he says, "No one has dominated an event like I have, the margins I win by, the times I run, the consistency I've maintained." He forgets Randy Matson, whose specialty was the 16-pound shot. Matson won a silver medal in Tokyo in 1964, when he was 19, and a gold in Mexico City four years later. He was the first to crack the "impossible" barrier of 70 feet in 1965 and repeated the feat more than a dozen times. It would be seven years before anyone else would throw the shot that far. Randy Matson was truly in a class by himself.
GARY N. ORADAT
FOR THE RECORD
I wish you had noted the American record of 8:22.5 that Penn State's George Malley set in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the National AAU meet.
BARBARA S. MCKEE
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