Pennant fever in Vero Beach (The Boys of Spring, March 7)? Well, I don't know. Here's how the Dodgers' off-season deals look to me. They gave up a strong starting pitcher in Bob Welch (plus two other hurlers, Matt Young and Jack Savage) and were left with: two slightly-above-average millionaires in Kirk Gibson and Mike Davis; damaged goods in Alfredo Griffin and Jay Howell; a player, Jesse Orosco, who, like Howell, was roundly booed in his former city because he deserved it; two prima donnas in Pedro Guerrero and Mike Marshall, who will be vying for the same position; and two error machines at second and third in Mariano Duncan and Steve Sax, respectively.
This should be another record-breaking year for the Dodgers, all right.
Mill Valley, Calif.
Your cover line about Kirk Gibson, "L.A.'s Big Hit," should actually have read, "L.A.'s Big Miss." Gibson is the most overrated player in either league. The shot on page 33 of him misplaying a fly ball is most appropriate. Your photographer might have been a victim of sunstroke had he waited for Gibson to catch one.
No, there probably will not be a Kirk Gibson Avenue in the Dodgertown of the future. But despite Tiger owner Tom Monaghan's remarks—for which Monaghan has apologized to Gibson—Gibby is the Tigers' loss and the Dodgers' gain for his spirit, his openness and his competitiveness. We'll miss him.
April 3, 1988
John Garrity (POINT AFTER, March 14) is a man who not only understands basketball but also likes it and offers rules that would improve it. I agree wholeheartedly that the game has no room for unnecessary leaps, gyrations, flailing arms, half twists or other kinds of showboating. Perhaps the best solution is to raise the basket by a few feet. Then a slam dunk would be something to see.
It's obvious that John Garrity, like many of us runty point guards, has never had the pleasure of producing the kind of rim-rattling jam that Michael Jordan has perfected. However, I'm not ready to outlaw the type of showy dunk that Garrity abhors. Watching today's stars soar through the air and complete the trip with a touch of flair makes the game more exciting. I agree that it's foolish to jeopardize, for the sake of show, an easy bucket late in an important game, but why shouldn't we enjoy the style, skill and grace that are so much a part of the dunk—and of basketball itself?
New York City
John Garrity's commentary on there being too much showy stuff in basketball reminded me of the scene in the movie Amadeus in which Emperor Joseph II of Austria, after having heard Mozart's opera The Abduction from the Seraglio, could only say, "...there are simply too many notes...just cut a few and it'll be perfect." It would seem that Garrity has the same reaction to genius as the emperor had.
EARL O. KINGDOM
Silver Spring, Md.
So, John Garrity believes uncontested dunks should be executed in as simple and as straightforward a manner as possible. As an avid Knicks fan, I would like to see him explain this in Madison Square Garden to the thousands of fans who are on their feet awaiting Gerald Wilkins's next creation.
Thank goodness Garrity isn't the czar of basketball.
RICHARD S. NELSON
Great Neck, N. Y.
After reading Garrity's essay, I removed that page from my issue and crumpled it up into a ball. I lobbed it to my mom, who was posted up in the kitchen, and raced by her yelling, "Back door, back door!" Mom faked left and then fired a perfect no-look pass toward the garbage can. I caught it and threw it down with Vanilla Lightning force, smashing it in—along with the plastic lid of the can—just as the oven timer went off. Then I picked up my mom so she could cut down the cobweb net that hung from the kitchen chandelier.
Yes, Garrity, you are getting old.
As the wife of a high school wrestling coach and as an avid reader of SI, I commend Shannon Brownlee for the excellent article on John Smith (How Low Can You Get? March 14). Wrestling, at all levels, has become extremely competitive, and it was great to see your magazine devote five pages to Smith and his sport.
I especially liked the pictorial demonstration of Smith's "signature takedown." I hope that other wrestlers will begin to use it.
LINDA M. HAUERWAS
Oak Creek, Wis.
The problem with PGA Tour commissioner Deane Beman (Goodbye, And Don't Hurry Back, March 7) and a lot of others is that they apparently believe the Tour exists solely because there are professional golfers. Wrong. The PGA Tour exists because there are fans who want to watch these golfers. Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson seem to realize this; hence, they advocate that Seve Ballesteros be allowed to play whenever tournament sponsors want him. The PGA and golf need players with the style and charisma of Ballesteros.
Your bleeding-heart article is just an attempt to bring about a special rule for the superegotist, Seve Ballesteros. For years he has considered himself above the rules. What about the player who doesn't get a spot in a tournament because a special rule has allowed Ballesteros to play? Seve may be colorful, popular and good at what he does, but I resent his holier-than-thou attitude.
ROBERT M. JACKSON
It's a sad commentary on SI when a Chip Beck, who has played his heart out for years without complaint or excuse, finally wins a PGA Tour event and gets only a few lines, while the biggest crybaby ever misses the cut and gets two pages of plaudits and excuses for losing.
Notwithstanding Harvey Kuenn's success as a major league player, coach and manager (SCORECARD, March 7), those of us who were his teammates at Milwaukee Lutheran High and at the University of Wisconsin will always feel that his greatest athletic achievement occurred in a 1948 football game against Milwaukee University School, during which he drop-kicked a 52-yard field goal. In recognition of this feat, the Associated Press selected Harvey as Wisconsin's high school Player of the Week.
Yes, Audrey, your husband was something!
RALPH H. KRUEGER
•For a look at Kuenn as he appeared in Milwaukee Lutheran High's 1949 yearbook, see left.—ED.
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