In his article Red as in Dead? Not Again (May 1) Larry Keith reveals the main reason why Los Angeles will again win the National League West. The remarks of Cincinnati Manager Sparky Anderson exemplify the overconfidence of his whole ball club. Sparky should learn not to shoot off his mouth when the team "the 70s have belonged to" cannot hold its own against a team that has "accomplished zero." Look who swept the most recent series between L.A. and Cincinnati—the Dodgers! When the end of the season comes around and Tom Seaver hasn't won 25 games and Dan Driessen isn't MVP, we shall see who has accomplished zero.
Salt Lake City
Los Angeles 4, Cincinnati 2.
Los Angeles 14, Cincinnati 4.
So much for the Reds' victories in L.A.
Maybe by September you will be believers. Long live the Dodgers!
Long Beach, Calif.
As of this writing, Tom Seaver's last start (against Philadelphia) produced these statistics: two innings, seven hits, six walks, three strikeouts and seven runs, six of them earned. Seaver also committed an error. Please inform Sparky Anderson that I'll take his bet on Seaver. After six starts (0-3, 6.52 ERA) and considering Seaver's overall performance, 20 wins would seem out of reach.
May 14, 1978
After reading Larry Keith's article, I would guess the only course of action available to the Giants, Astros, Padres and Braves is to apply for minor league status.
Obviously, the Reds and Dodgers are heavy favorites in the NL West; however, claiming that it's a two-team race only 16 games into the season is absurd. The caliber of athletes on the four other Western Division teams calls for more respect and credit than Keith seems willing to give.
My long-standing admiration for Gary Player was increased by the article in your May 1 issue (No Such Word as Can't). I am, nevertheless, a bit awed by Barry McDermott's portrayal of Player as a halo-wrapped, incorruptible, physically fit ascetic.
Maybe as an old retired professor I am jealous of Player's physical condition and ability to putt. But I wish you would take another look at your splendid cover photograph. The buckle marks on Player's belt make it appear that he has had to let it out two notches—and at one time three. Now I have never had to do that!
W. L. WILEY
Chapel Hill, N.C.
In your recent preview of the U.S. professional soccer season (March 27) you explained that Washington Diplomat Winger Andries Maseko's nickname—"Six Lights"—is a reference to a game in his home country of South Africa during which he scored six goals and his name was put up in lights on the scoreboard each time.
In this part of the world Maseko is called "Six Mabone," which indeed translates as Six Lights. However, "six mabone" is a common slang expression that derives from the six lights on the front of big American automobiles and means, roughly, "lots of class."
WALKING DOWN A DEER
I was much interested in Michael Baughman's account of "running down" a white-tailed deer (In Pursuit of an Ancient Pursuit, April 3). Although the length of time taken and the distance covered are a little indefinite, it certainly was a remarkable feat of cross-country running. In my years of hunting deer in the Northeast I would not have thought it possible.
In the 1930s I spent a great deal of time in the Maine woods, winter and summer, working, hunting and fishing. During those years I was in many of the then wilderness places from the Penobscot River east to the Canadian border. Men who have hunted and fished together over the years well know the pleasures of the stories told in the evening around a wilderness campfire. My companions, natives of Maine, were then in their 50s. It was both from their personal knowledge and from stories told of earlier years, that I learned that white men and Indians had been able to "walk down" a deer. It was generally conceded that it could be done in three days.
The hunter would attempt the chase only under the most favorable conditions. He would pick a morning after the fall of a few inches of new snow to make the tracking easier. He would jump the deer or pick a very fresh track and start trailing. The hunter would carry a light pack with his food and a light hand ax. Possibly, he would have a light blanket or a piece of canvas. As the day progressed he would stop a few times to "boil," or brew tea, by melting snow in a small can and adding tea leaves. This would be his only fluid.
If he were on the trail of a buck, the deer would make longer runs after he had been jumped a few times and might even leave the territory, while a doe would resist being driven out of her familiar area. In either case, the hunter would keep on the track until it was too dark to see and then he would make a quick camp of fir boughs in a thicket. He would again have tea and warm his food and then sleep with only his blanket or canvas for cover.
On the second day he would be off at daylight and might jump the deer out of its bed soon after the start. By this time the relentless pursuit would start to have its effect cui the deer. By afternoon the hunter would begin to keep it in sight from time to time, depending on the tree growth, until darkness again put a halt to the chase. Another camp and off again on the morning of the third day. Sometime during this day the hunter would be able to walk up to the exhausted deer.
C. S. BORTHWICK
Glen Ridge, N.J.
In light of Frank Deford's article on a cheerleading "boom-bah" (TV/RADIO, April 24), the words "narrow-minded and addle-brained" have taken on new meaning. I think that Deford was so busy cheering for Cheryl Tiegs that he missed the whole show. And after seeing him on television, it seems to me that he has very little reason to criticize Bruce Jenner's haircut!
I doubt if Deford looks as good as one of Bruce Jenner's sneakers. What exactly is a "grown-up's haircut"?
J. KUBITSA JR.
While I have usually applauded William Leggett's reporting on television and radio, I find it hard to believe that any sports fan would be able to pass over, without pure outrage, NHL 78's decision to eliminate the first period of a game from Saturday hockey broadcasts. Leggett says (TV/RADIO, April 3), "This makes for a tidy, if somewhat truncated, two-hour package."
Marvelous! Would he also favor football games that begin in the second quarter? How about doing away with coverage of baseball games until the fourth inning? Basketball until after halftime?
Television executives already control to a frightening degree how and when many sports are played. Even if they do not know a hockey puck from a goalpost, I would think that sports fans would be angered by this further insidious bowing to television.
As a hockey fan, I am tempted to say that two periods of Guy Lafleur or Brian Trottier on TV are certainly better than none. But as a sports fan, I can only see this as a dangerous precedent, and one to be vigorously condemned, especially in a magazine that celebrates the glory of all sport.
MARY BENNETT FRENCH
Old Westbury, N.Y.
I read with great amusement the statement by St. Louis University and former St. Louis Cardinal trainer Bob Bauman concerning "those young orthopedic doctors who are advising that kids not throw curves" (SCORECARD, April 24). He says, "My view is that the curveball requires a more normal motion than the fastball, which causes most of the injuries." I wish Bauman could have been in the training room with me with his elbow packed in ice after a 20-minute workout in the bullpen trying to "get on top" with the curveball. I am not a doctor, but I sure know what ended my career after only 2½ years of college baseball—that darn curveball!
MATTHEW C. INGRAM
That "invention" called the "Major League Breaking Ball" (SCORECARD, April 3) wouldn't fool me, a former South Philadelphia stickball hitter. As kids, we used to cut a hollow rubber ball in half, and that half obeyed, similar aerodynamic principles when thrown properly. We were a far cry from Danny Litwhiler and Connie Mack Stadium. Our "park" at 7th and Wilder Street had some built-in hazards, like parked cars, a fire hydrant and dogs. But I could still hang with the curveball.
Cherry Hill, N.J.
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