LINING THEM UP
Having read and heard all winter about the 74¢ Canadian dollar, acid rain, the troubles of the Toronto Maple Leafs and glowing predictions for the Boston Red Sox, this temporarily expatriate Torontonian was thrilled to read your insightful—and absolutely accurate—scouting reports selecting the Blue Jays as the best team in baseball (A Whole New Lineup, April 15). I'll be home in time for the Series.
The Blue Jays? Ha! The powers in the American League East are going to be the Orioles, the Red Sox and, of course, the Tigers.
BILL FLECKENSTEIN JR.
In reference to your scouting report on the Seattle Mariners, it is our hope and expectation that we will be much closer to 89 Across (six letters, clue: "Apex"—APOGEE) than to 23 Down (seven letters, clue: "Nadir"—PERIGEE) of the American League on Oct. 6 than you predict.
Ivan Maisel's scouting report on Mariner G.M. Hal Keller declares that he is a workaholic only at crossword puzzles. You may add yard work to that. As his sons, we know!
I congratulate you on your choice of the word "should" in your prediction "The Cubs should beat the Mets" instead of "will," because they won't. No one will!
PETER I. BERNSTEIN
The Phillies the 11th-best team? That's a laugh. They have to be one of the six worst.
Also, there will be a pennant race in the American League West, but the Twins will be the winners.
New Hyde Park, N.Y.
The Milwaukee Brewers are the best 22nd-place team in the history of baseball.
Toby Harrah and the Texas Rangers dead last in the majors? This time the joke's on you!
The only thing missing from your magnificent 1985 baseball issue was a feature article (replete with photographs) on one of the most stunning comebacks in baseball history, the San Diego Padres' conquest of the Chicago Cubs in the '84 National League Championship Series. For those of us fortunate enough to have witnessed all three delirious Padre victories in San Diego, that series was absolutely perfect!
Pine Valley, Calif.
Walter Iooss Jr.'s superb April 15 cover photo of Dwight Gooden is the most interesting action shot I've ever seen.
New York City
As a pitcher, I found Walter Iooss Jr.'s cover shot of Dwight Gooden rather intriguing. Gooden appears to be throwing an overhand curveball. After working on this pitch for more than two months, I learned from this picture what position Gooden's arm is in just before he releases the ball and how much he bends his wrist. I have just finished throwing with a friend, and my curveball has improved dramatically. Thanks, Dwight and Walter.
Thank you for the well-written baseball issue. I especially enjoyed Steve Wulf's article The Team Of Your Dreams. He must feel pretty good about including Phil Bradley on his Dreams second team. As he points out, Bradley is largely unknown outside of the Seattle area, but that may soon change. Six games into the season, the Seattle Mariners were unbeaten, thanks in no small part to Bradley's sure-handed defense in leftfield, his 10 RBIs and .400 batting average. So, a tip of the hat to Wulf for his baseball knowledge, to Bradley for his stellar play and to the Mariners for a grand start to a grand season.
Cub fans filling Fenway? What tradition! Now just substitute Cleveland's Rocco Scotti for Linda Ronstadt and play ball!
Fairview Park, Ohio
The Baltimore Dreams without hometown hero Cal Ripken at short? You are dreamin'!
NELSON E. COFFIN
Steve Wulf's Dreams are perfect, except for one thing. There's no way George Brett should be chosen over Mike Schmidt.
Bob Bailor? Bo Diaz? Rance Mulliniks? What kind of Dreams do you have?
You're sure to be deluged with letters from readers suggesting personnel changes on the Dreams, but I enjoyed Steve Wulfs story far too much to alter a thing. No second-guessing here. I won't say a word about his leaving Jim Rice out of the lineup. Won't even mention it. Not me. Uh-uh.
I'm glad you chose Ernie Harwell as your Dreams radio announcer. Even Vin Scully can't match his voice and feel for the game.
For fans, however, I'd go with those of the White Sox rather than the Cubs. They've suffered just as much—they simply haven't been able to make it fashionable.
A TEACHER'S PERSPECTIVE
While reading Frank Deford's interview with commissioner Peter Ueberroth (The Boss Takes His Cuts, April 15), I was able to see one of the ills of our great American society. Let me explain.
I've been an ardent baseball fan for more than 30 of my 42 years. Last season I took my two sons (ages 12 and 15), who have also become aficionados, to 14 Mets games at Shea Stadium. As a salaried high school teacher, I cannot write off the cost of those tickets, nor do I feel that it would be reasonable for me to be able to do so. Millions of other fans and I attend sports events because we enjoy the drama that the games provide. At the same time, however, I resent the millions of dollars that many athletes are paid to play for only seven or so months a year. Do you realize that the lowliest bench warmer in the major leagues has a minimum salary that is higher than mine, despite my 20 years of teaching and two-plus degrees?
Ueberroth claims that baseball and other sports would be greatly damaged if the government did not allow companies to write off the purchase of tickets as business expenses. What would happen, I maintain, is that more traditional—and more important—American values would prevail. The people attending games would be real fans, and the salaries of athletes might be more in keeping with the value of their contribution to American society.
Mount Vernon, N.Y.
IN DEFENSE OF ABC
On behalf of ABC Sports, I'd like to set the record straight regarding the Race Across America and cyclist Pat Hines (SCORECARD, April 8). We have aired the race three times on ABC's Wide World of Sports. When we initially bought the broadcast rights to the event, women were not competing in it. At the sole discretion of the race organizers, women were allowed to enter the second race that we covered. At no time did we suggest, request or in any way require that women participate, and although we welcomed their inclusion, we have never viewed or treated their participation in an exploitative manner.
Furthermore, we have had no input regarding the rules under which the race is conducted, nor do we intend to. Incidentally, in our Feb. 10 telecast of the event, we aired Pat's comments about the rules.
ROBERT A. IGER
Vice-President, Program Acquisition
New York City
I just put away my Morse code decoder ring. For those baseball trivialists and/ or diehard Boston Red Sox fans who don't know, the Morse code that can be seen in Lane Stewart's picture of the Bosox scoreboard in leftfield at the base of Fenway's Green Monster (The Team Of Your Dreams, April 15) stands for the letters T-A-Y (———) and J-R-Y (————). These are the initials of the late Thomas A. Yawkey, former Red Sox owner, and his wife, Jean R. Yawkey, current Red Sox president.
EDWARD M. SIENKIEWICZ JR.
Tinker AFB, Okla.
O.K., Steve Wulf, here are your Nightmares, a team—I'd base it in Pittsburgh—made up of players who were left off the Dreams. I feel this combination would beat the Dreams in a seven-game series. Sure, I'm willing to trade a few Nightmares for a couple of Dreams, but I stand by this team. By the way, thanks for the relief pitchers.
Rickey Henderson (R), CF
Lou Whitaker (L), 2B
Jim Rice (R), LF
Kent Hrbek (L), 1B
Mike Schmidt (R), 3B
Kirk Gibson (L), RF
Cal Ripken (R), SS
Gary Carter (R), C
Mario Soto (R), P
Nolan Ryan (R)
Bert Blyleven (R)
Mike Boddicker (R)
Scott McGregor (L)
Ron Guidry (L)
Bill Caudill (R)
Willie Hernandez (L)
Lee Smith (R)
Bruce Sutter (R)
Dave Engle (R), C
Greg Pryor (R), 3B-SS
Marty Barrett (R), 2B
Mike Hargrove (L), 1B
Reid Nichols (R), OF
Reggie Jackson (L), OF
Hal McRae (R), OF
Rick Burleson, DL
DALE J. ERICKSON
Letters should include the name, address and home telephone number of the writer and be addressed to The Editor, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York. N.Y. 10020.