I want to add my two cents' worth to the current National League balk controversy, which is excellently covered in your recent article, Just a Second (April 22).
If the National League officials are going to be so strict in enforcing this rule, why don't they enforce other rules which are known to be ignored? For instance, the shortstops and second basemen are given the benefit of the doubt as to whether they actually have possession of the ball when they contact second base on the double play. Also, first basemen often draw their feet off the bag before receiving the ball on ground-out plays. Yet nothing is done about enforcing these rules.
What is this crazy business of all of a sudden bringing back the balk rule? It was a silly thing to begin with, and there is no reason why it should be continued.
The transparent attempt on the part of Commissioner Rozelle to even up the NFL has made a mockery of the whole concept of justice (Players Are Not Just People, April 29).
If Rozelle believes that the football-loving public is addlebrained enough to believe that two of the brightest stars on the two best teams in football are the only players guilty enough of betting to be suspended from playing, let him live in his dream world—but let him dream alone.
If Rozelle wants to punish everyone in the league proportionately to their wrongdoing, I am for it. He might have enough players left to start an interesting horseshoe league. But his pull-the-wool tactic of punishing only the Packers and Lions doesn't set too well in this corner.
Lest you get the impression that I favor point-shaving, throwing games and the general deterioration of American morals, let me say that the two major basketball scandals were apparently handled with equality, honesty and justice—and the people involved were fairly punished. But when it comes to deliberately ruining a man's professional life for making a side bet—for shame, for shame!
It's fine to carry a big stick, but isn't it best to speak softly before clobbering somebody with it?
Mt. Vernon, Ohio
The suspension of Paul Hornung and Alex Karras poses the question: Who is being penalized, the players or the fans?
E. F. BEISTEL
I have been a loyal baseball fan since I can remember. It seems to me that baseball has become very tiring near the end of the year. I have always assumed that it was because of the slowness of the game, but David Balkin (19TH HOLE, April 22) set me straight when he said the baseball season is much too long. It would be much better if the teams played 16-game series with each other, beginning with about May 1 and ending with September 15. Scheduling more doubleheaders with less traveling—four-game series with each team would do this—would insure profits and less tiring seasons. Let's hope that someone tries it.
Mr. Balkin hit the nail on the head when he said that today's baseball season is too long, and this is true in all major spectator sports. Performance suffers extensively, and the fans are the real losers. The length of the season must be curtailed. Turnouts such as last week's 968 at Pittsburgh's Forbes Field are an insult to a great game.
DAVID C. SCHNIER
It's great to have you cover Kona and Cabo Blanco and now the new Panamanian fishing ground (A Mob of Marlin in Panama, April 22), but U.S. waters need not take a back seat, even to Bimini. As I write this our Fort Lauderdale front-yard waters are yielding blue marlin in even more amazing numbers than usual.
Where else have 16 big blues (or blacks) been seen hanging after a day of fishing as they were here last November? Where else but here can a man finish a day on the job and, in a few minutes, be out hooking a 400-pounder? This is not to deprecate the new spot in Panama. I hope to go there, too—but Fort Lauderdale is the No. 1 marlin-producing spot. The others may equal it someday, but they have yet to prove they can keep the production up!
JOHN W. STANTON
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
I enjoyed Kenneth Rudeen's article on the Lotus-Ford (A Heretic with Great Expectations, April 15). Chapman and Ford have really come up with a wild machine for the Indianapolis "500." It's about time someone beat the Offy boys and their farm wagons with the horses still out in front. But building the fastest car is only half the battle. The last few attempts by outsiders to win the "500" have looked like publicity stunts. Dan Gurney will have to better his Sunday-driving performance of last year; those two-minute pit stops were ridiculous. However, if the Lotus-Ford team is really in earnest, they should put the Offenhauser in a museum with the rest of the dinosaurs.
I don't know whether Mr. Robert H. Clark (19TH HOLE, April 22) was trying to give everyone a good laugh or whether he is just some kind of nut. In any case, to say the Yankees would finish sixth behind clubs like Pittsburgh, St. Louis or Cincinnati is absurd. That would be like saying the Boston Celtics would finish third or fourth in the other division, the Western. Maybe Mr. Clark ought to look at the World Series records over the last 10 years.
Fort Wayne, Ind.
The Yankees are champions because of two things: 1) they are a team supported by balance and material and 2) they have shown that they can eliminate teams from a league no doubt stronger than their own but a league which can claim no one team as perennially powerful as the New York Yankees.
JOHN D. REED III
Some people have nerve!
In your Baseball Issue (April 8) you said Orlando Cepeda felt hurt because l) he played under the shadow of Willie Mays and 2) he didn't have the recognition of the other Latin players. If I remember correctly, another "pretty fair country ballplayer" by the name of Lou Gehrig had the same problem. He played not only under the shadow of Babe Ruth but also Joe DiMaggio. But this didn't stop him from compiling a great record as a team player. If Orlando Cepeda would start playing for the Giants instead of for Orlando Cepeda Inc., both he and the team would profit twofold.
San Martin, Calif.
ROUGH AND READY
Tom Brody's baseball write-up on the new rookies (Rookies, Rookies Everywhere, April 15) fails to mention John Bateman, 20, and Rusty Staub, 19, of the Houston Colts. These youngsters are two of the very best rookies in the big leagues. Do you have something against Houston?
Last year the Colts finished two notches ahead of all predictions and had one of the best pitching staffs in the National League. So please, come on, tell everybody the Colts had a great beginning in the tougher National League.
Rusty Staub was able to move right into the middle of the batting order for the Colts after being out of Jesuit High of New Orleans only one year. As for his fielding, you only need to ask the San Francisco Giants. There is something wrong with a writer who omits a rookie who is one of the best hitters on his club.
Tom Brody goes a little far when he refers to Pete Ward of the White Sox as being the "son of one of the roughest hockey players of his day."
Jimmy Ward of the old Montreal Maroons was a fast-skating, highly competitive right winger in the 1930s, but to call him a block buster is to carry imagination beyond reasonable bounds. Perhaps Mr. Brody does not know that Jimmy, who was built on small, compact lines, played for the Maroons at a time when the National Hockey League had such "blockbusters" as Eddie Shore, Ching Johnson, Taffy Abel, Red Horner and Lionel Conacher.
W. D. KELLY