THE WALL (CONT.)
O'Malley's wall makes me and every other baseball fan darn mad. If there's one thing appealing about baseball it is its statistical continuity; but now this is ruined because a home run as a statistic is meaningless when it's hit at L.A.
The solution to this problem is obvious: Horace Stoneham has to play at a small (seatingwise) minor league park until his stadium is built—so why shouldn't Walter O'Malley play at small (seatingwise) Wrigley Field until his stadium is built? Such a solution would be beneficial to baseball at large.
Here in L.A. we find it vastly amusing that the temporary measure of O'Malley's screen has been expropriated by eastern sports scribes for their own private Wailing Wall. So much so that the lobbing of "cheapies" has fallen off because batters are having difficulty clearing so many convulsively heaving shoulders.
But we here are the people who matter, since we're the fans who make the turnstiles click. We can laugh at your snide barbs, for we have the Dodgers and we love them even though they are languishing at the bottom of the league. And, O'Malley—he cries all the way to the bank!
La Crescenta, Calif.
My only hope is that the Dodgers' mistake will help bring to light the problem of irregular home run targets in most major league parks. Suppose colleges with short basketball players were permitted to use eight-feet-high nets, or offensive-minded football teams used short fields in their home stadiums? Varied-size fields are all right for backyard games, but professional baseball needs a uniform field, as is required in other sports.
BASEBALL: EXOTIC L. A.
What a refreshing distraction is that blonde carrying a "Welcome L.A. Dodgers" placard (WONDERFUL WORLD, April 28).
Is she baseball's cheery answer to the obese Russian women athletes we have been seeing too much of lately? Too bad the photographer couldn't persuade her to remove her sunglasses for the picture.
Did the lucky photographer, perchance, get her name? She looks like a movie starlet.
DONALD P. CROOKS
I see where you used my photo but did not mention my name as you did the other celebrities on hand. (At least the Post Office thinks I am a celebrity! Ha!) Anyway I would really appreciate the recognition.
I am the founder and president of the Exotic Dancers League of America and also the captain of the Barecats, a softball team consisting of dancers (mostly Exotics) who can play ball, and if things don't get better we might end up challenging the Dodgers! Huh? What say?
NEAPOLITAN SYSTEM: HOW'S THAT AGAIN?
My three great loves are baseball, golf and bridge. The first two are sufficient to justify my subscription to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, but since Charles Goren's column on bridge, I am further rewarded. And I know of several people who have subscribed solely because of his bridge articles.
I have a question concerning the Neapolitan Club system (SI, April 28), which was thoroughly enjoyed by our bridge club and discussed in detail. But why the two-diamond response by East by the U.S. in the hand from the 1957 Internationals? Of course, with a diamond bid, the-hand will play at the undesirable contract of three no trump. If the purpose of the bid was to discourage a diamond opening lead, it may have a little merit. A nice old-fashioned two-spade response should produce the proper contract. Please explain.
DONALD H. STREITZEL
China Lake, Calif.
In case you left some of your readers tied in mental knots trying to figure out the intricacies of the Neapolitan Club system, allow me to explain the finer points of this system as they appear to this observer:
If you have a normal one-spade opener you say one diamond, unless, of course, you are vulnerable, in which case you bid one heart. If your partner opens one spade and you have no points in your hand, you jump to four spades, but if you have an excellent hand, you pass. A pass under the Neapolitan system is an invitation to slam, except a second-round pass which must be considered pre-emptive, especially late in the evening.
Any time you bid a red suit it automatically means you have neither red ace, but both black kings. The club king is, of course, optional, but you should have the spade king, or the queen-jack. An opening bid of two in any suit is an invitation to your partner to pass, since you obviously have a very poor hand.
In the hand analyzed by Mr. Goren, East bid two diamonds because he had a very good rummy hand (the meld of 6-5-4) and he forgot for the moment that he was playing bridge. In bidding three diamonds, West was denying the diamond bid, obviously inferring he had the black suits.
In short, Neapolitan bidding is a way of indicating to your partner exactly what you haven't got. Your partner, in turn, can indicate to you exactly what he would like to have. It's very easy.
•Mr. Strietzel should pay no attention to Mr. Parker, obviously a Blackwood man. East's bid of two diamonds was a "psychic" bid with a twofold purpose: to prevent a diamond lead and to sound out his partner on a diamond stopper. However, East was unable to pull off the resulting three no-trump contract.—ED.
DERBY: AMONG THOSE PRESENT
The interest that your magazine created by the excellently prepared article on the Kentucky Derby (SI, April 28) made the television fiasco doubly disappointing.
We never could pick out Silky, nor did we know the distinguishing number of any of the horses. We heard more about Aly Khan than we saw of Tim Tarn, Lincoln Road, Noureddin and most of the other horses.
What a shame that so many were so disappointed.
PLANERS: WHAT OF THE A SCOW?
Generally speaking, your boating articles say more, come to the point and give far more detail than specialized magazines.
If you will permit me, however, to make a small criticism, your article on planing sailboats (SI, April 28) is a little misleading by saying Uffa Fox designed the first planers. The inland scows were planing for several decades prior to 1928. Secondly, your statement, and this is a very popular misconception, that scows are suitable only for sheltered waters is not entirely correct. True, they sail better on smooth water—but what boat doesn't?—although I am not implying that they are the most seaworthy or driest type.
As a matter of fact, scows originated on Long Island Sound when Thomas Clapham of Roslyn, L.I. sailed his Bouncer in a race at Larchmont in 1890 and beat everything in sight. This revolutionized the sport at the time, and the scow held the spotlight through 1903 (and even later in the Seawanhaka Cup races) about which time the International and Universal rules killed their development. Scows then disappeared from Long Island Sound, not so much because they were unseaworthy (although some extreme racing machines undoubtedly were), but in a sense they went out of style—everyone went keel-boat crazy.
In 1954, when Bob Bavier ran his third One-of-a-kind Series, the Class A and the Class E scows ran away from all the modern planers. And, curiously enough, they were sensational upwind and in light airs—two departments not usually accredited to scows. It was in the last race—a 25-knot southerly with a terrific sea, that the A really moved upwind and down. The E went in the breeze, also losing out to two well-sailed keel boats—a 210 and an S boat—and to the Raven, which seems faster in a seaway than the E. It was in this race that the International 14 had the roughest time, being beaten by the Snipe. Certainly a boat which finished at the top in competition like this on such a rough day should not be called unseaworthy and a boat finishing near the bottom of the list be called seaworthy.
Below is a condensation of the actual boat-for-boat finishes of some of the boats in question in this series. From these results it could be concluded that with the exception of the A and E scows, all of the modern players have their bad days.
The A scow was disqualified in the fourth race, but for sake of true speed comparison I am leaving her actual finish. The S boat was of the heavy displacement type.
Judging from this series it is apparent that no boat is a match for the A scow (which won most of the races by tremendous margins). Also the outstanding performance by the old and heavy S boat (superbly sailed by Warner Wilcox) proves that Nat Herreshoff could design small boats as well as big ones—and a boat which seems better around the course than the modern "hot rod."
GORDON E. HURLEY JR.
Wading River, N.Y.
•The scow was indeed the first hull to plane, as Mort Lund pointed out. However, Uffa Fox designed the first planing hull as the concept is understood in yachting circles today. As for the scow and its "suitability" in any water, the scow is an out-and-out racing machine and most uncomfortable in rough weather, which accounts in part for the popularity of the Universal rules.
The results of the 1952 One-of-a-kind race also indicate that a 38-foot scow hull is faster than a 20-foot planing hull in rough water, and not necessarily that the scow hull is the more seaworthy. In crossing the Channel in his 14-foot Avenger, Fox was storm-pounded for 37 hours before making it to England. Under these conditions, the flat A hull would not have made it. As for speed, the 20-foot C scow, the only scow of comparable length with most of the planing boats in the race, was beaten by six of them. Also, in the One-of-a-kind race, some crews were obviously better tacticians than others. The A scow fouled out and lost the first place it deserved on speed alone.
A better way of testing various hulls might be simultaneous runs over straight courses at various angles to the wind with special rules prohibiting tactical interference.—ED.
PLANERS: RELATIVE SPEED
That was an excellent planing hulls article. Annually in England is published the Portsmouth Handicapping Table. The numbers represent relative times; i.e., if one boat took 86 minutes for a given course, another would require 97 minutes, etc. Some of the 117 ratings follow:
ARTHUR E. WERE
Jolly boat (trapeze)