I'm ready. SI's ready. Everyone's ready for baseball again. Your articles on the New York-Boston playoff (A Day of Light and Shadows, Feb. 26) and on spring training (Back to School, March 5) were great and had some of the best artwork yet.
I recently saw Walt Spitzmiller's painting of football violence that you used on the cover of your Aug. 14 issue—and many other SPORTS ILLUSTRATED works—at the Society of Illustrators annual show in New York City. I hope next year's show will include some of these baseball pictures.
I'm ready for the season. I just hope my Giants are ready, too.
New York City
Congratulations to Walt Spitzmiller for those wonderful illustrations. They are the finest examples of baseball art I have seen since the 1951 and 1952 Bowman Gum baseball cards. Each year, as spring-training camps opened, I would climb to the attic and dust off those old cards. After last spring's trip to the attic, I made the mistake of showing them to a collector. Five hundred dollars seemed like a fair offer—until today, when Spitzmiller reminded me that my youth and my baseball cards have vanished. Please don't let Spitzmiller get away.
JOE SHADWELL JR.
My thanks to SI and Harry Sinden for that fine article A Game the NHL Can't Win (March 5). It got down to the cold, hard facts of how and why the Soviets play better hockey than the NHL does.
When hockey is played the way it is supposed to be, it is the most exciting and beautiful sport in the world. I hope that Harry Sinden's NHL colleagues will read his article and put its suggestions to work. Unless they do, we may see the demise of this game.
I have been involved in amateur hockey in the U.S. for more than 25 years, as a player, coach and official. I love the game and want to see it continue, but not the way it is now being presented by the NHL.
Referee in Chief
New Jersey Youth Hockey League
Mark Lieberman is the type of competitor amateur wrestlers idolize. In Douglas S. Looney's article on him (The Kid's All Heart, March 5), several wrestlers and coaches, and even Lieberman himself, stressed the fact that he may not be the most talented, the fastest or the strongest wrestler in the country—but he is the best. This reminded me of a saying my high school coach posted in our wrestling room. It read: "A man shows what he is by what he does with what he has."
More power to Mark Lieberman.
RANDY S. KURLANDER
Old Bridge, N.J.
•See page 62.—ED.
Regarding Kenny Moore's report on Eamonn Coghlan's world-record indoor-mile run (This Was a Time to Remember, Feb. 26), there was, for track buffs, an important omission. What was Coghlan's time at the 1,500-meter mark vis-à-vis the world record for that distance?
MARSHALL O. CROWLEY
•It was 3:37.7—.3 second slower than John Walker's world best indoors.—ED.
Being a recent transplant from the Northeast and an avid rabbit hunter, I read Ron Rau's article with delight and incredulity. I would love to see Rau chasing rabbits on foot in Vermont snow (Every Dog Has His Bay, March 5). Moreover, I admire the perseverance of Rau and his friends in beating the brush in search of stew meat.
But I'm dismayed that Rau harbors such disdain for the beagle, a great hunting dog. When properly trained, it will not chase deer or anything else but rabbits. A real beagle is a sight and sound to behold. One of my uncle's beagles could only be used on jackrabbits; she was so quick she would often run down cottontails.
However, Rau and I share two basic pleasures regarding rabbit hunting: being outdoors and listening to the dog sing, whether the "dog" be man or beast.
THOMAS J. LAYDEN
El Segundo, Calif.
Two-legged beagles? Simpleminded beagles? I can't speak for basset hounds, but as a 14-year-old beagle puppy who has chased her meager share of rabbits, I was amused by Ron Rau's presumption of expertise on the subject of beagles. Do beagles care if rabbits circle? Of course not. Why should we? When people let us out for a run, we glory in the sheer joy of running. Why be bothered trying to run down a silly rabbit so that an even sillier person can shoot it? The next time Rau hangs the label simpleton on a beagle, perhaps he should reflect on how he appears when trying to imitate one. I have yet to see a beagle try to imitate a person.
Ron Rau's article did not encourage me to rise early on Saturday and pursue a rabbit through the western Pennsylvania woods. But his story was bright, witty and certainly sagacious. Possibly we have been introduced to a substitute for cross-country skiing.
FOLLOWING THE SKATERS
In the pictures accompanying the article on speed skaters Eric and Beth Heiden (Icing a Family Fortune, Feb. 26), the competitors were shown wearing a sort of armband around their upper right arms. Would you please settle an argument by informing me as to its function?
•Speed skaters, who compete in pairs and exchange lanes after each lap of a race, sometimes finish in the lane opposite to the one in which they started. Because they often wear similar uniforms, the armband, which bears the skater's number and is either red or white, serves to identify the skater and his or her starting lane (say, red for the inner skater and white for the outer one).—ED.
The story Life or Death for a Red Lady (Feb. 19) is sure to stir the blood of every dedicated environmentalist just by its title alone. But a few facts should be added for much-needed perspective:
1) Mount Emmons, the mountain in question, is only one of 21 peaks within 10 miles of Crested Butte with an altitude of more than 12,000 feet. In fact, nearly half are higher than 12,414-foot Mount Emmons.
2) The area that would be affected by mining is about the same size as that already rendered "dead" by the construction of highways now used for access to existing Wilderness Areas in Gunnison County. Of course, the mine would confine its effects to only one place.
3) Preservation is a relative thing. As SPORTS ILLUSTRATED points out, the Mount Emmons area has been actively mined for 75 of the last 100 years.
4) The State of Colorado now has more than two million acres of existing or pending Wilderness Areas, plus National Parks and Monuments. Yet we are encouraged to save still more land, even though these few hundred acres have a potential value of as much as $20 million an acre.
How far must this philosophy be stretched before it ceases to make sense?
PAUL L. WEIS
Do sportsmen know where their store-bought equipment really comes from? Graphite fly rod—graphite mine. Bird shot—lead mine. Nylon tent—oil well. Aluminum cook kit—bauxite mine. Color TV—europium (rare earth) mine. The list is endless. And, lest we forget, living trees were cut down and kaolin clay was most likely mined to produce this issue of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, which was no doubt printed on presses containing molybdenum alloy steel.
Keep mining out of Crested Butte and we cut off our nose to spite our face. Let's continue sound planning and careful mining to produce the equipment we need to enjoy the great outdoors.
DOUGLAS M. SMITH JR.
Mineral Exploration Coalition
As a writer and former resident of Crested Butte, I was heartened to see the mining issue gain the national coverage it deserves. Unless one has visited the area, it is impossible to convey the incredible beauty of that valley and the unique character of a town that stands to be destroyed.
Not mentioned in your article were the lands mined by American Metal Climax, Inc. at Climax, Colo. Although Climax is an old mine, anyone who has stood on the edge of that vast expanse knows that there is no environmentally conscious way to mine molybdenum. "A new generation of mines," indeed.
Of course, in the asinine words of Bo Callaway, "I guess you can look at [Mount Emmons] as if it had never been there in the first place." Is that also how we should look upon the passenger pigeon and the great herds of bison that once crossed our land?
Address editorial mail to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, New York, 10020.