$40 MILLION QUARTERBACK
Jack McCallum's article (The Man with the Golden Arm, March 12) was most instructive concerning Los Angeles Express owner J. William Oldenburg's multimillion-dollar contract with Brigham Young University's All-America quarterback, Steve Young. But let's remember that the Express is buying not only that golden arm to throw with but also two golden legs to run with and a golden brain to direct with.
CLARK YOUNG, M.D.
(One of Brigham's great-grandsons)
Salt Lake City
"The man with the golden arm" was caught in one of your photographs showing off his golden toe. After signing that $40 million contract, Steve Young should never again have to wear socks with holes in them.
What has become of our virtues? Is nothing sacred anymore? The absurdity of it all! The USFL shows all the signs of an amateur boxer just turned pro. It throws everything it has at the NFL right off the bat, while the older, more experienced league just sits back and waits for the new league to wear itself down so the NFL can move in for the kill. Why, even the U.S. Government couldn't survive spending at this pace!
Come on, William Oldenburg, Donald Trump and the rest of you owners out there. Getting quality players for a new league is one thing. Going bankrupt while doing it is another. If the USFL keeps a cool head, a merger with the NFL may not be far off. If it doesn't, it may self-destruct. At this point, the latter seems more probable.
Sure the USFL can sign new stars to huge contracts. But the way it's going about it seems wrong. The USFL is giving out these enormous contracts by means of its owners using their outside businesses to pay for their stars. This just doesn't coincide with the U.S. way of doing things. The NFL obviously doesn't want to have an all-out contract war with the USFL because its teams want to stay within their means. With a salary war, we'd have so much red ink in pro football that, sooner or later, there probably wouldn't be any pro football at all.
SCHOOLS FOR UMPS
Armen Keteyian gets thumbs-up for his enlightening article on the road an umpire must take to make it to the big leagues ("Say 'He's Out!' Not 'You're Out!' or You're Out!" March 12). Now more people will understand what umpiring is about.
I've umpired at the Little League level for a few years, but I've never been quite sure about what one had to do to make it to the majors. After reading Keteyian's article, I decided I might want to go to Joe Brinkman's school. I hope others will now appreciate the work that the "bad guys" of baseball do.
In the article, a student in Joe Brinkman's Umpiring School who wanted to know if a batter is out if a fielder catches a foul ball in a box of popcorn was declared undeserving of a "blanking answer." At the risk of being "planed" by one of Brinkman's instructors while the class yells "Zoom, zoom, zoom," I'm going to ask another stupid question: Let's say a batter whose team is behind by one run slugs a two-run homer, giving his team an apparent victory. However, the opposing team complains that the batter's bat is covered by more than the allowed 18 inches of pine tar. Is he out?
JOHN F. VROLYKS
After watching Joe Brinkman & Co. do a minor league job in blowing the call in the Yankees-Royals pine tar classic at Yankee Stadium last summer, I'm surprised Brink-man hasn't called himself and his entire crew of that day"Out!"
BRUCE D. BERNHOLD
During the winter league season of 1972-73 in the Dominican Republic, I met and became friends with Joe Brinkman and two other umpires, Terry Cooney and Rich Garcia. What I remember most about these gentlemen is that they are humans, capable of making mistakes. Unfortunately, they perform under a microscope in a job that allows little or no tolerance for error. I haven't seen an athlete yet who has had that sort of pressure put on him. I feel I'm a better sports fan since crossing paths with Joe, Terry and Rich.
Armen Keteyian got right to the heart of the matter in his excellent article on umpire schools. Those who stick with it—regardless of whether they end up in the big leagues, the minor leagues or, for that matter, the Little League—are a dedicated lot. Yes, we do love our work every bit as much as ballplayers love theirs!
I must call your attention to one thing, though. In addition to the three schools mentioned in the article, there is now a fourth route to the umpiring profession: the New York School of Umpiring in Riverdale, N.Y., of which I am director of curriculum. We're the only umpiring school in the New York area, we'll be running our program in the summertime, and we're signing up students now for our first session.
American League Umpire
Although I greatly enjoyed the article on the Los Angeles Olympics (Ready to Play, Sam? March 5) for its factual and insightful perspective, I was somewhat resentful of Kenneth Reich's subtly derogatory tone in references to a man I greatly admire, Peter V. Ueberroth. The randomly interspersed approbations fell just short of mollifying the ire of Ueberroth supporters such as myself. From personal experience I refute Reich's portrayal of Ueberroth as a moody, rigid and domineering man. But more important, why detract from a good article by criticizing irrelevant facets of a fine man? Fortunately, the fact remains: L.A. is behind the man who's making it all work for US.
A vacation trip for a family of four to the L.A. Olympics isn't cheap, but we have been dismayed to discover that some hotels and motels have more than doubled their rates for that time period. Commercialism? You bet! I apologize to our foreign visitors. We don't like it either!
In a recent SCORECARD item (March 5) you gave me the award for the "smelliest trade of the week" for my decision to sell [star forward] Njego Pesa of the New York Arrows to the Saint Louis Steamers. Although any award from SPORTS ILLUSTRATED is much appreciated, I believe I should have received an award for most ethical sports owner of the week. Since I am in the unfortunate position of owning two teams, the Arrows and the Kansas City Comets (a situation that will come to an end this year and never be repeated), I am aware of the fact that it is impossible to do business without frequently having the actions of one team affect the other. Accordingly, I divested myself of any authority to enter into player arrangements for one of my teams, the Comets. Personnel decisions for the Comets have been left entirely to the team's management, guided only by their judgment and the budget, which was agreed upon at the beginning of the season.
The decision to sell Pesa was made for the good of the Arrows. The sale was made to the Steamers because they offered the best price and terms. I was aware that such a sale might be detrimental to the Comets [who are in close competition with the Steamers for first place in the Major Indoor Soccer League's Western Division], and this is what I acknowledged as a conflict of interest. By agreement before the season, my responsibility was only to the Arrows, and accordingly I made the trade. The Comets are a powerful team, and I believe they will defeat the Steamers whether the Steamers have Pesa or not.
DAVID A. SCHOENSTADT, M.D.
Kansas City, Mo.
Seven people have now called my attention to the opening spread of Bob Ottum's article on Scott Hamilton (Wow! Power, Feb. 6). There you give a quotation from what you refer to as Hamilton's Laws to Live By: "To know yourself is the ultimate form of aggression." Imitation is, of course, the sincerest form of flattery, but Hamilton, knowingly or unknowingly, has cited one of Levy's Laws, one that was first published in 1966, when Hamilton must have been very young indeed. The original edition of the work in which this law appeared in its proper form, "To know thyself is the ultimate form of aggression," was the second edition of Levy's Six Laws, which have now grown to Levy's Eleven Laws. I would be very interested to know how Hamilton got hold of this law.
MARION J. LEVY JR.
Department of East Asian Studies
•As Ottum reported later on in the story, Hamilton's Laws to Live By came from a poster that hangs in the bedroom of Hamilton's Denver apartment. The poster, which was a gift to Scott, is entitled MURPHY'S LAWS—AND OTHER TRUTHS.—ED.
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