As a longtime fan of Mary Decker's, I am frankly disappointed by her decision not to attempt the middle-distance "double" at the Games (Trials and Jubilation, July 2). Sure, she was edged out in the 1,500 at the Olympic track and field trials. However, she was also only three seconds off her U.S. record in an unexpectedly competitive race, after running a fast 3,000. It may be presumptuous of me to say so, but—assuming she is sound—I would be prouder to see her try for two gold medals and win none than to see her win a single gold medal by means of a strategy intended to maximize her chances. Decker has an opportunity to leave her mark as one of the greats in Olympic history.
DOUGLAS J. GROOME
Regarding "Hadl's Dubious Decision" (SCORECARD, July 2): Where is it written that a team in any sport is obliged to help another team? Look at the situation from Hadl's point of view. Would you have your $40 million quarterback risk injury in what is for you a meaningless game? Even if Los Angeles was looking to help another team, why does that team have to be Denver? Maybe the Express were helping the Arizona Wranglers. After all, had the Wranglers lost, they would have been eliminated.
In fact, had the situation been reversed, with Young playing and the Express winning, I could then see the Wranglers complaining about Los Angeles trying to win and not "helping them out."
Don't blame John Hadl's resting Steve Young as the reason the Denver Gold didn't make it into the playoffs. It isn't the Express's fault that the Gold turned an 8-1 start into a 9-9 season. I suspect any coach would have done the same thing. Can you tell me you wouldn't rest your "bread and butter" in a meaningless game? Remember, too, that this year the Express has been wracked with injuries, and one to Young would have been the crushing blow.
July 15, 1984
As an Express fan, I believe Hadl did the right thing, and even if I was partial to the Denver Gold, I would have to believe that 9-9 isn't playoff-worthy.
THE HIGH FIVE
In the NBA item (SCORECARD, July 2), you mention that Larry Bird earns upwards of $20,000 a game during the regular season. I would appreciate it if you could list the NBA's five highest-paid players per game during the 1983-84 NBA season.
Scotch Plains, N.J.
•According to our best estimates, they are Moses Malone (about $26,800 per game), Bird, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar ($18,200), Ralph Sampson and Jack Sikma ($14,600) and Julius Erving ($12,800).—ED.
Henry Hecht's very opinionated editorial (INSIDE PITCH, July 2) on disbanding the Seattle Mariners and the Cleveland Indians was totally uncalled for. Being an avid Tribe fan, I'm optimistically waiting for this young Cleveland team to mature into a pennant contender. Remember, a few years ago no one knew who the Detroit Tigers were.
ROBERT A. ARIZA
I wish that Henry Hecht and other writers would stop and think before stating that there isn't enough talent around for expansion. In the 1950s, when there were 16 teams, the talent pool came from a U.S. population of 150 million. There are now more than 232 million Americans (and of course baseball has found many players in Latin America). I say expansion in teams should be proportionate to the expansion in population; there's certainly enough talent among those 82 million extra Americans for two to four more teams.
It's quite apparent that Henry Hecht needs to be set straight about baseball in Cleveland. First of all, although Indian fans may not enjoy seeing the Indians lose, losing the Indians would cause all of us infinitely more pain. Those of us who enjoy watching the Tribe are hardly "poor wretches." As for the players, if showing up to play causes them pain, then I don't want them on my team.
Highland Heights, Ohio
Henry Hecht's "Judgment Call" to disband the Seattle Mariners, as he would if he were "dictator," would be typical of a tyrant—a misguided act. Our owners have had their problems, that's quite obvious, but this year George Argyros has made a number of attempts to turn the ball club around. He has changed several of the front-office personnel and made some fairly good trades. True, attendance isn't tops, but this should improve as the team does.
In reference to our cozy Kingdome, do you think that we could have an uncovered stadium in our climate? Anyway, when we do fill the dome with fans we can make an awful lot of noise for our M's.
Mercer Island, Wash.
I salute Jim Kaplan for a job well done (They're Striking Out in a New Direction. July 2). Since no other professional New York team has claimed any championship this year, the boys from Shea will have to be the ones.
In your fantastic coverage of the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials, one of the pictures in the July 2 issue evoked a sense of déj√† vu that was explained in the text. While a student at UCLA and part-time field-crew member, I took this picture (above, left) of the 1978 800-meter final at the AAU championship meet that was held at UCLA. It shows the last time Ruth Wysocki (nee Caldwell) beat Mary Decker. To be fair, Essie Kelley (445) also beat Decker.
Congratulations to the qualifiers and condolences to the nonqualifiers—I admire all of you. In particular, I sympathize with three women I spent many hours watching train at UCLA, admiring their prowess and enjoying their company: Jane Frederick, Kate Schmidt and Patsy Walker. I wish you the best.
CARL LEWIS'S NUMBER
Thanks for the great coverage of the track and field trials in your issue of June 25. I especially enjoyed your cover photo of Carl Lewis throwing his arms in the air. As I looked at it a second time, though, something caught my eye. We read about the problem Lewis had with his shorts, but he obviously had some difficulty with the number on his shirt, too. Did he misplace the official one? If he can find his shorts, and can get his numbers straight, it should make for an exciting Olympics, even without the Soviet bloc boycotters.
Round Rock, Texas
•According to Joe Douglas, Lewis's manager, he doesn't like to wear numbers at all, and even stood at the head of the runway for the long jump in the 1983 world championships in Helsinki without one (an official finally came over and gave him a number before the jump). At the trials, Lewis left his shoulder bag containing his number in Douglas's car the night before the 100. The next afternoon Douglas found the bag and gave it to Lewis's mother but by then, Carl was already on the track and the race was about to begin. Lewis therefore had to run the 100 with a makeshift number provided by an official. Lewis wore the official printed version in the 200 and the long jump.—ED.
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