Could it be that SI employs two basketball writers named Bruce Newman? The man who lauded the ACC in general and North Carolina in particular (North Carolina Kicks Up Its Heels. March 12) could not possibly have gone so sour on that venerable circuit in only one week (Many an Oops twixt the Bail and the Hoops, March 19). Dean Smith didn't lose his genius; Penn was a truly dangerous team, and the Tar Heels were lackadaisical, while the Quakers played like a team possessed.
ROBERT J. LANNON
Elkins Park, Pa.
Bruce Newman has written two excellent articles on the ACC tournament and the first round of the NCAA, but, my goodness, you would have to admit to the fact that he's a bit schizophrenic.
F.W. AVERY, M.D.
O.K., O.K. Bruce Newman has been sitting "by the ditch" along Tobacco Road, and he finally got what he's been waiting for. The supposedly almighty, overexposed, over-hyped kings of the ACC. North Carolina and Duke, are dead.
But please don't pin the full blame of the ACC's lordly reputation on us folks in what Newman calls "the land of the losers." We did not rank Duke No. 1 in preseason polls, the way some national sports magazines did. We did not rank North Carolina No. 3 and Duke No. 6, as the national media and coaches did at the end of this past regular season. We did not pick North Carolina as the NCAA tournament favorite, as the Las Vegas sharpsters did. We do not make Penn's Tony Price sit and watch the Carolina TV show. And we do not pressure SPORTS ILLUSTRATED into making the ACC tournament a cover story every year.
April 2, 1979
The only thing we've done is enjoy some great basketball the last five months. We eat it, drink it and sleep it. If ACC basketball irritates you opportunists all that much, then why don't you just ignore it?
The fact that Penn has won eight of its last 12 meetings with ACC teams must have some significance. This year alone, Penn was three for three against the ACC, with one of those wins on an ACC court. St. John's was two for two this season against Duke, the pre-season SPORTS ILLUSTRATED choice for No. 1. To top it off, Penn made it to the final four, which was refreshingly stocked with new faces.
King of Prussia, Pa.
ACC teams do not, as Newman stated, get "swallowed up" in NCAA tournaments. Since 1974, and including this year's two losses, ACC teams have a combined 18-10 record in the NCAAs. A few conferences or geographical groups have superior records attributable to an outstanding school—for example, Kentucky, Indiana, UCLA and Marquette. Six ACC teams have combined for the 18-10 record since 1974.
Proponents of college basketball in the Midwest and Northeast will long relish this year's postseason tournaments. The early demise of all five Atlantic Coast Conference entries hopefully will destroy the myth of ACC basketball supremacy.
The ACC has some merit, but the hype surrounding this league is not supported by postseason play, past or present. The slowdown strategies developed and employed by many ACC teams serve only to demonstrate their abilities at not playing basketball. I cannot object to a clever method of sealing a win in the waning minutes, but stalling tactics at the 15-minute mark can only lessen the thrill of this great sport.
The ACC not only proved that its teams were inferior, but that its fans were as well. It was a shame to have the finals of the Eastern Regional in an empty arena in Greensboro, where apparently fans only enjoy ACC basketball.
Regarding Larry Keith's article on NBC's dynamic announcing duo (Two Mouths Are Better Than Anyone, March 5), he only briefly mentions their play-by-play man Dick Enberg. While Billy Packer and Al McGuire are magnificent, Enberg is probably the best sports announcer on any of the three networks today.
Keith was right on target with all his observations on the combination of McGuire and Packer.
Indiana State University may be working full time on the Al McGuire Presidential campaign but the Canadian campaign of Al McGuire for Prime Minister has ground to a halt. McGuire blew his chances when, during the Michigan State-Notre Dame Mideast Regional final. Forward Mike Brkovich of MSU was said to have been a good basketball player, "for a Canadian."
Would Bill Hewitt, voice of the Toronto Maple Leafs, say after a Detroit Red Wing goal by Reed Larson, "It was a good goal for an American"? No, we don't think so.
Bias has no place in journalism, and certainly not in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. A Rocky Mountain Low (March 19) by John Papanek was so tainted with bias it made Larry Brown sound as though he had committed a felony by leaving the team.
Rarely does a coach try to communicate with professional basketball players in order to mold them into a winning team. Brown tried it, with positive results, and for it Papanek crucified him.
DAVID J. MIGDAL
Your article Rocky Mountain Low is too kind. Carl Scheer and Larry Brown worked very hard to build the Nuggets into one of the few pro teams that succeeded in playing a team-concept game. Yet, astoundingly, since the 1975-76 season, through personnel changes they have managed to undermine the very principle that brought success. Now the Nuggets are a weak imitation of last year's Philadelphia 76ers. Bringing in McGinnis and Scott was merely the crowning folly. Both Carl Scheer and Larry Brown are to blame for the Nuggets' demise, not McGinnis or Scott. After all, they should have known that in the NBA, like anyplace else, what you see is what you get.
SHORT STAND TALL
Larry Keith's story on Harry Chappas (It's Not Only a Game of Inches, March 19) brought back recollections of a tiny favorite of Chicago baseball fans on the North Side in the 1940s. He was Outfielder Dominic Dallessandro, who was stretching it to reach 5'6". He hit over .300 for the Cubs during one of the war years. The Cubs broadcaster of the time, Bert Wilson, labeled him "Diminutive Dominic Dallessandro." Not only was that too long for the headline writers, but it caused Wilson to choke on the air a few times (nothing unusual for Bert), and it wasn't long before Diminutive Dominic became Dim Dom.
Larry Keith made no mention of Phil Rizzuto (5'6"), who used to be a pretty fair baseball player.
Larry Keith has finally established himself as a "small-time" sportswriter.
RON ROMMELL (5'9") D.D.S.
Kansas City, Mo.
Keith's lead paragraph emphasized the disadvantage of anything connected with the word "short," such as short-lived, short-tempered, etc. However, Keith got caught short by not stressing the fact that Harry Chappas' very position keynoted the word short, as in shortstop.
Verbal abuse is nothing new to the little man in our society, but the remarks of Chicago's Ron Blomberg (He's a nice little boy) about diminutive teammate Harry Chappas really blew me away. It's quite obvious that Chappas is short on size, but, unfortunately, Blomberg is short on intellect.
WELDON BUCKNER (5'4½")
Little [no kidding] America, Wyo.
I just got home from a game of basketball in which my shots were blocked three out of five times. But my morale got a big boost when I opened my mailbox and saw Harry Chappas on the cover of SI. I hope he makes it. From all of us down here to all of you up there I say, "It's better to have loved a short than never to have loved a tall."
CHARLIE ROBERTS (5'5")
As always, your review of the rookies was informative and highly enjoyable. Of the 1978 rookies you highlighted last year (Clint Hurdle, Jim Wright, Willie Wilson, Ted Cox, Dave Revering, Ken Landreaux, Lou Whitaker and Alan Trammell), only Wright failed to make a substantial contribution to his team. For the sake of Harry Chappas and the rest of the new crew, may this year's preview prove to be just as accurate.
Barry McDermott, in his story on the Grand Masters (It's Still May in September, March 12) wrote a line that will forever be etched in the hearts of 50-year-old types who love tennis.
I plan to quote this line extensively, especially to my wife: "There is something attractive about a person who refuses to capitulate to the erosions of age."
WILLIAM J. HANNA
My own experience with the delightful little brutes tells me that Ron Rau (Every Dog Has His Bay, March 5) knows and loves beagles. However, I am wary of the suggestion that added intelligence would create Super Beagle. The good Lord allowed the evolution of the beagle voice to what we appreciate today by letting the beagle brain shrink and slide down toward the nose, leaving the vacated brain pan to serve as sounding board and echo chamber. It is sad that some do not appreciate the beautiful result. Even my own wife frequently refers to this single-minded trailing ability as "beagle mentalpause" and suggests it may be contagious, since I don't come in out of the rain as much as I used to.
DOYLE B. CHAMBERS JR.
Not being much of a golfer or fan, I found myself pleasantly surprised and amused at the life-style of one Andy Bean (Hey, Look at Ol' Andy Bean. March 19). Good ol' Andy seems to be just one of the boys, out to show the world he isn't just one of the boys. In these times of overpaid jocks looking out for themselves, it is refreshing to read about a hardworking man who has made it and still remembers his roots.
After finishing the piece, I still was not a golf fan, but I am an Andy Bean fan.
Niagara Falls, N.Y.
Even though my husband and I are brazen New Yorkers, we are solid fans of Andy Bean, the subject of Barry McDermott's eminently enjoyable article. We're hoping Bean's stay at the top will be a long one—he's a lot more interesting to watch and listen to than most pro golfers. He is truly golf's wild and crazy guy.
KATHY L. WERNER
New Hampton, N.Y.
NO TURTLE, ERTLE
Robert Cantwell's story about Mike McTigue (The Great Dublin Robbery, March 19) was a fascinating tale, just right for St. Patrick's Day. But there was a little blarney there. How could Referee Harry Ertle possibly get to New York from Columbus, Ga. in three hours in 1923?
These long-suffering wrestling fans read with interest Herman Weiskopf's report (Another Pig Roast for Iowa, March 19) on the NCAA championships at Ames. Regarding the lengthy discussion of stalling penalties and the attributes of Dan Gable's Iowa Hawk-eyes, it was surprising to see no mention of the fact that the loser of the 177-pound championship final, the first wrestler ever to claim the ignominious honor of having been disqualified from a final bout for stalling, was Iowa's own Bud Palmer. One wonders what Coach Gable had to say about that.
Palmer's performance in the finals effectively removed Lehigh's Mark Lieberman, the 177-pound champion, from contention for the outstanding wrestler award (with three falls and a major decision, he surely was in contention with the eventual winner. Palmers teammate Bruce Kinseth); outraged the supporters of collegiate wrestling across the country; and discredited an otherwise superb team effort by victorious Iowa.
Address editorial mail to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, New York, 10020.