Even though sport, conservation, leisure and the like are areas of activity that arouse violent passions among their followers—"The Yankees stink!" "Our river is an open sewer!"—this magazine does not have an editorial page. It should not be construed from this, however, that we are passionless. Instead of the sometimes formidable presence of a weekly editorial, we have chosen two other ways of getting opinion to you. One is by encouraging our writers to put their opinions into their stories. They are the men on the scene and we feel it is part of their responsibility to evaluate what happens, not just report it. The other is by occasionally using the SCORECARD section to present an editorial comment that we feel should be made not by an individual, but by the magazine itself.
The SCORECARD section is aptly named. "Knowing the score" is part of the American sports idiom. It implies inside knowledge and understanding. On the other hand, "What is the score?" is about as specific as a question can get. In SCORECARD we attempt to deal with both the very specific and the very general. It is here we recently reported to the reader that a bear dropped Mr. Kneebone's golf ball into the cup for perhaps a birdie (SI, Sept. 26), an interesting specific—a bear fact, in fact. And in the same week we took issue with a New York gubernatorial candidate for saying he did not want to be associated with "racetrack people," pointing out that we frequently prefer the company of racetrackers to that of politicians, a general statement of opinion.
In the past we have used SCORECARD to get across critical comments on many aspects of the sporting scene. We have called U.S. tennis players "peevish and sulky," eight college presidents "guilty men" and Oakland voters "bush." We have accused the esteemed USGA of "deplorable" judgment for changing the U.S. Open format and have attacked the less-revered Internal Revenue Service for fostering law-breaking with its regulations concerning daily-double betting.
Whether one is presenting an editorial opinion about the despoiling of a wilderness or musing about a Mr. Kneebone, it takes an accomplished writer to do the job within the severe space restrictions of the SCORECARD section, and our younger writers are far more apt to be entrusted with a longer story than with such an item.
From the beginning, SCORECARD has been the province of our most talented staff members. Assistant Managing Editor John Tibby handled it in the early days of the magazine. More recently, Senior Editor Martin Kane did the editing and the bulk of the writing as well. Five months ago he turned it over to Senior Editor Gilbert Rogin, who in the past has written many memorable stories for us.
Under the present system, Rogin selects his week's material after reading newspapers, magazines, wire-service stories, reports from our own worldwide network of correspondents and information given him by SPORTS ILLUSTRATED writers in the held. Frequently he will then ask correspondents for even more information before reducing it all to 20 lines. This may seem like a paradoxical procedure, but it produces the most effective and accurate result.
We receive proof of this effectiveness every week in letters from readers who are just as pleased—or just as infuriated—by a one-paragraph SCORECARD item as others may be by our major stories.