Having just completed a six-month assignment hosting a nationally syndicated radio sports talk program, I was pleased to see Geoffrey Norman's story Yak Attack (Oct. 8). It was wonderful to have talk radio recognized as the force it is in the eyes of the fans. Good hosts make their programs interesting for people who do not know or care about sports.
Norman may have missed out by not interviewing Eddie Andelman, a Boston legend. Andelman has been heard on the Boston airwaves for more than 20 years. His approach is that of a fan, and his humor is unequaled on radio. In this town, his universal appeal is the yardstick by which other sports talk programs are measured.
Norman missed a good one in Milwaukee with Steve (the Homer) True. True is known as the Homer because he gives the home team the benefit of the doubt. During a recent discussion of Roseanne Barr's rendition of the national anthem, Homer commented that he didn't know why it was played before sporting events anyway. After half an hour of phone calls accusing him of being a communist, Homer made the anthem a regular part of the show, as it is of "every other major sporting event." Local sports talk shows can sometimes be long on caller debate and short on sports substance, but Homer's show is a delightful mix of both.
KERRY E. HADAWAY
Sports Open Line on KMOX in St. Louis wasn't mentioned, but this 50,000-watt radio station is where Jack Buck, Bob Costas, Harry Caray, Dan Kelly and Dan Dierdorf began their rise to prominence. Because of the station's range, it is not uncommon for listeners to call in from Chicago, New Orleans, West Virginia and Texas.
Was Bruce Newman's article, A Burt's Eye View (Oct. 15), chronicling San Diego Charger loudmouth Burt Grossman's immature exploits supposed to be funny? Believe me, it wasn't. Skipping school, taking steroids, shooting people with BB guns and berating opposing players is made to seem quite all right. Both SI and Newman should be ashamed of glorifying such a jerk.
How ironic that your SCORECARD editorial castigating the Oklahoma football program for "rampant misconduct" appears in an issue with a cover story celebrating Grossman, an athlete who often doesn't know whether or not he is lying, who was a steroid user and who spent part of his time in college "shopping for cars worthy of being blown up."
Grants Pass, Ore.
Douglas S. Looney's article Hard Man, Soft Heart (Oct. 1), about Notre Dame noseguard and cocaptain Chris Zorich, left me with such a nice feeling. It is wonderful to read about a college athlete who not only cares about the game but also wants to broaden his horizons and "become a cultured person." Zorich gives 100% in everything he does. He is an inspiration.
South Orange, N.J.
My hat is off to Zorich, who appears to have overcome incredible odds to succeed, not just on the football field but in the classroom as well. Given his combined SAT score of 740, Zorich's 2.3 grade point average at Notre Dame, where the average SAT score is 1,220, is remarkable, considering the time required by football.
It is equally remarkable that admissions director Kevin Rooney accepted Zorich, ostensibly because he perceived a strong "sense of person by looking into [Zorich's] eyes." One must wonder if the SAT is a true predictor of a student's potential. Ever the cynic, however, I think Zorich's eyes merely reflected the dollar signs in Rooney's eyes, brought about by this lad's enormous football talent.
RICHARD A. MILLER
Zorich was admitted to Notre Dame even though his academic credentials were woefully subpar. Looking into a student's eyes—what a novel approach to college admissions. Does Notre Dame look into the eyes of all applicants with 740 SATs, or only into the eyes of those with the potential to knock off an opposing quarterback's head and "watch it go rolling down the field"? Notre Dame would surely never compromise academics for football, would it?
•WOMEN HORSE TRAINERS
William F. Reed's informative article about the discrimination faced by women racehorse trainers (Focus, Sept. 24) omitted an example of success that resulted in a major policy change in England, the birthplace of thoroughbred racing. In 1965 Clive Graham, then the racing correspondent for London's Daily Express, came to the U.S. for Kentucky Derby week, during which he saw a filly named Amerivan win the Kentucky Oaks, an annual race for 3-year-old fillies run the day before the Kentucky Derby. Amerivan was trained by Mary Keim, a horse owner who had received her trainer's license the previous year.
On returning to England, Graham wrote a series of articles for The Daily Express lobbying for England's Jockey Club to amend its rule prohibiting the granting of trainer's licenses to women, which the club did in 1966. Indeed, 11 years later, this all-male regulatory body admitted female members. In 1983, America's all-male Jockey Club followed suit.
New York City
•THE RUNNING GAME
Concerning Paul Zimmerman's article about the demise of the running game in the NFL (Out of the Running, Oct. 8), I believe one reason that backs today don't run like O.J. Simpson is that they aren't in the right situation. Bo Jackson plays only half the season, Eric Dickerson holds out for half the season, Herschel Walker is on a team that doesn't know how to make effective use of his talents, Barry Sanders plays in a run-and-shoot offense that is geared to passing. It is true that now no one runs like O.J., but no one ran like him before he came on the scene, either. The Juice was a once-in-a-lifetime player.
Mount Clemens, Mich.
•THE SAME MARTINI
Ralph Martini, the senior quarterback at San Jose State and your offensive player of the week (COLLEGE REPORT, Oct. 8), is. if I remember correctly, the same Ralph Martini who caught several passes, including two for touchdowns, as a freshman tight end at Brigham Young four years ago. Martini went to BYU in hopes of playing quarterback, but he was pressed into service as a tight end because of injuries to upperclassmen. Martini transferred to San Jose State in 1987, when it became clear to him in spring practice that a freshman named Ty Detmer would be the Cougars' quarterback of the future.
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.