Long live Rick Reilly! Each paragraph of his story on the U.S. Open (An Open and Shut Case, June 29) was a birdie you could read like a tap-in. My gosh, does he play as well as he writes?
Mount Laurel, N.J.
This is an article from the July 20, 1987 issue
•Reilly, 29, has a 14 handicap, a "colossal slice that tends to curve around like an English roundabout" and "a pretty good case of the yips."—ED.
Reilly's article was the worst I have ever read. What happened to congratulating a winner? Scott Simpson didn't deserve the author's negative, sometimes insulting, comments.
With all due respect to Tom Watson, since when did he rank higher on the thrill scale than a tuna sandwich? You're only as thrilling as your last Tour win, right, Rick? I feel Simpson has the demeanor of a cool gunslinger, and he just plain gunned down ol' Tom.
DON MAYEK, D.D.S.
Stevens Point, Wis.
Concerning Reilly's story on the Open and his earlier piece (Seven Ahead, Nine to Go, and Then..., June 15) on the 1966 Open and the Olympic Club mystique, I ask: Where is Olympic's victim this time? Surely Tom Watson, who played the course in even par on Sunday and was two under for the tournament, wasn't victimized. The way I see it, Watson did beat Olympic. And Scott Simpson beat Watson.
DANIEL J. STILES
Scott Simpson may not go on to make as much money from personal endorsements as more flamboyant golfers have after major victories, but what America (and the world) saw in the final round of the Open is beyond price. Today's sports figures, with their prima donna attitudes, have fast become our younger generation's role models. It is refreshing to see real humility and true strength of character displayed by a professional athlete. My hat is off to Simpson. He has his priorities right.
THEODORE D. BECK III
DREAMS AND REALITIES
David Halberstam's article The Stuff Dreams Are Made Of (June 29) hit the spot, particularly his insightful discussion of race in the NBA. The author minced no words in articulating a situation that most of us cannot express very well, or are queasy about discussing.
I love the Celtics; they were simply outgunned by the Lakers. However, I walked away from Halberstam's piece with a richer appreciation of the NBA finals and a better understanding of the dynamics between black and white players.
Will racial bigotry go away if it is ignored? Or does it feed on itself? David Halberstam's article sent visions of former Dodger executive Al Campanis dancing through my head.
All my friends (white and black) and my family (white) reveled in the abundance of talent shown by both the Lakers and the Celtics in the NBA finals, and we felt pride in the Lakers' victory. Perhaps I run in an enlightened circle, but I pray for the day when comparisons such as those cited in Halberstam's piece are considered unnecessary and passè.
Long Beach, Calif.
Larry Bird and Magic Johnson should be congratulated for showing young ballplayers how to win and lose with class. They play with dedication, intensity and enthusiasm, and with a style marked by greatness.
RICHARD M. SERBAY
As a native Californian, I have survived the earthquake of '71, the gasoline shortage of '79, the smog, the traffic, the spiked hairdo and the Beach Boys. But I do not think I will ever get over the shock of seeing our beloved Magic Johnson wearing a g-g-g-green Celtic jersey! I am still shaking!
RAYMOND J. SANTOS
Woodland Hills, Calif.
You put Bird in Magic's uniform and Magic in Bird's. Please don't ever do that again!
North Berwick, Maine
I truly enjoyed your article on Jim Eisenreich (Fighting the Enemy Within, June 22). My son, who is 16, also suffers from this often misdiagnosed and always misunderstood ailment (Tourette syndrome).
Your excellent account only begins to touch on the emotional and social pain that is associated with the uncontrollable movements and voices caused by Tourette. Unfortunately, while suppressing the symptoms, Haldol, the medication usually prescribed, causes its own set of problems, as you pointed out.
We are thankful (as I'm sure Eisenreich is) for athletics, for the release it gives to Tourette victims. Our son is an all-conference golfer for his high school team.
How gratifying it is that a widely read magazine like SI has helped inform the public about this cruel disease.
VICTOR A. HOOD
I can understand Peter Gammons's zeal when writing about a fine Toronto Blue Jays ball club (To Know 'Em Is to Fear 'Em, June 22). His enthusiasm, however, has carried him into the realm of exaggeration when he claims Tony Fernandez can do everything better defensively than Ozzie Smith except backflips. The once-in-a-lifetime plays Fernandez is described as making once a week are the kind Ozzie makes once a day.
Tony Fernandez may be the best shortstop in the American League, but Ozzie Smith is the greatest shortstop to have played the game. Ever. Period.
You recently suggested (INSIDE BASEBALL, June 15) that Bobby Winkles was "sacked" as Oakland's manager in 1978. To the contrary, having suffered Charles O. Finley long enough, Winkles resigned with the A's in first place and his dignity intact.
DOWN ON THE FARM
In INSIDE BASEBALL (May 25) you stated, "The Dodgers' farm system is so bad the best player they could recall from Albuquerque to replace Mike Marshall was Ralph Bryant, who was hitting .202."
The Dodgers have since called up Jeff Hamilton (who was hitting .381). Furthermore, on June 20, that "bad" farm team won the Pacific Coast League's first-half pennant by five games.
JEFFREY L. SHOULTA
The SCORECARD item "Blast from the Past" (June 15) reminded me of an article I read a few years ago. William T. Foster wrote, "The most obvious fact is that our system of intercollegiate athletics, after unbounded opportunity to show what it can do for the health, recreation and character of all our students, has proved a failure." He also said, "Only childlike innocence or willful blindness need prevent American colleges from seeing that the rules which aim to maintain athletics on what is called an 'amateur' basis, by forbidding players to receive pay in money, are worse than useless because, while failing to prevent men from playing for pay, they breed deceit and hyprocrisy."
While it sounds as though this article could have been written last week or last year, it was presented in the November 1915 issue of The Atlantic Monthly.
Some things never seem to change.
I took special interest in the May 18 FROM THE PUBLISHER, wherein you cited Don Mattingly and Payne Stewart as perhaps the two most athletically prominent FACES IN THE CROWD to have been featured in the same week (July 16, 1979). I had the privilege of becoming a FACE (March 27, 1967) as a nine-year-old gymnast. Obviously I never went on to become Sportsman of the Year. However, I did continue with the sport, winning the all-around and floor-exercise titles as a high school senior in the 1975 California Interscholastic Federation southern section finals and receiving the 1975-76 Olivers Club Outstanding Athlete award for Japanese American athletes. My college career was not as illustrious as my earlier one, but I competed in gymnastics at the University of California and "retired" in 1980.
Since then, I hope I have gone on "to bigger and better things," as you put it. After graduating Phi Beta Kappa in bioresource science at Cal, I completed my master's degree in forest science at Oregon State, where I am now in the Ph.D. program in that subject. My love of sports is never-ending, and I list cycling (right), swimming, Nordic skiing and triathlons as my current athletic hobbies.
STEVEN K. OMI
Steven Omi, 9, of Berkeley, Calif., who swims, plays baseball and recently took up gymnastics, won the overall title in his division at the Northern California Gymnastics Championships in Sacramento by scoring an unprecedented sweep of all eight events.
Letters to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED should include the name, address and home telephone number of the writer and should be addressed to The Editor, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020-1393.