I have been a subscriber to your magazine for many years but never have I seen or read a better article than When the Sun Shines Bright (May 1) on Kentucky Derby Week, as depicted by W. B. Park. Sport would be little more than an exercise for participants if it were not for the spectator, and Artist-Narrator Park performs the difficult task of placing the reader in the midst of the crowd—be it in the unforgettable infield or the inaccessible penthouse. Mr. Park obviously glistened through the playing of My Old Kentucky Home and cheered a winner or two across the finish line at Churchill Downs. Allow me to thank him for extending to the rest of your readers a bit of the euphoria we Kentuckians are fortunate enough to experience the first week in every May.
PHILLIP BRUCE LESLIE
Artist Bill Park's depiction of Derby Week was right on the beam, and he rekindled my enthusiasm to journey the 500 miles that separate me from Louisville. You don't attend a two-minute horse race when you attend the Derby; you experience an unforgettable piece of Americana.
DANA L. RIVERS
Your May 1 article on the Texas Rangers (New Home on the Range) was not only offensive but misleading. Harold Peterson gives the distinct impression that the Rangers (former Senators) have found paradise in the Dallas-Arlington-Fort Worth community. I should like to bring to Mr. Peterson's attention some interesting statistics concerning the attendance figures for the first five Texas Ranger games compared to the 1971 Washington Senators.
As a long-suffering fan, I hope this says something for Washington. It has always been a good baseball town and still is. Sure, you can blame the strike for the low attendance figures, but Texas was supposedly baseball-hungry. As far as I am concerned, Bob Short has done it again, and he deserves it. As everyone knows, the Rangers will finish last in the American West for three reasons: 1) their manager is Ted Williams; 2) their owner is Bob Short; and 3) with Toby Harrah at shortstop, how far can you go?
Being a Washington sports fan, I've had it with comments being made about the capital by those dime-a-dozen Texas Rangers. I was hardly surprised when that .100 hitter, Toby Harrah, said Washington baseball fans were impolite. If he was excited by his ovations from the 20,105 "friends and neighbors" at the Rangers' opening game this year, then maybe he should try and think back to the first game of the 1971 season; Toby Harrah received many ovations from the 45,000 fans for his performance against Vida Blue and the Oakland A's.
It is about time those Rangers from Texas learned to play the game and forget the cheap comments about Washington. Washington is better off without Bob Short and is looking to the future for another team. We don't need the Rangers' rudeness.
Elon College, N.C.
THE THOMASES' GAME
Hooray for SI! A major article on lacrosse (One Stick Rebuilds the Hopkins Dynasty, May 1) right up there in front between the new baseball (ugh!) season and the Stanley Cup and NBA playoffs. Even though lacrosse suffers from a definite lack of exposure in the national media, it remains the sport here, "in the only part of the nation where such a curiosity can exist," to quote Larry Keith.
While the exploits of Jack, the youngest Thomas, are obviously material for an article, those of his father are long overdue for recognition. The lacrosse dynasty Bill Thomas has established at Towson High is unequaled anywhere in the nation. Coach Thomas is currently bidding for his 11th consecutive Baltimore County championship, and his teams have a record of 107-7-1 since 1961. Approximately 40 Towson players have become All-Americas in college. Thomas' greatest pride as a coach comes in seeing every boy who plays for him go on to college through lacrosse.
So while we devotees of the fastest sport on two feet anxiously await any future lacrosse articles you may send our way, we thank SI for bringing the famous lacrosse name of Thomas to nationwide attention. Maybe next time you will feature the father and thus see part of the reason behind the accomplishments of the son.
I was ecstatic to see lacrosse get some well-deserved coverage in the person of my brother. Jack Thomas, who really is lacrosse, motherhood and apple pie!
On the other hand, I was heartsick to be the only Thomas ignored. Here I am, the unmentioned sister, one of lacrosse's greatest boosters (even my six-month-old daughter has an 18-inch stick), and my chance to appear in print in SPOTRS ILLUSTRATED was blown!
We'll sell the country on lacrosse yet.
MRS. PAT THOMAS KAPLAN
All I can say is bravo to Bil Gilbert (Gospel of False Prophets, April 24) for writing an article I have been waiting a long time to read. As a forester, I am often confronted with "instant ecologists" who try to dictate what they think is ecologically sound for the forest. To give you just one example, these weekend warriors are often horrified at the cutting of a tree. They don't realize that nature has its own way of felling trees through Forest fires, disease and insect infestation.
Thanks again for exposing ecology.
Old Forge, N.Y.
While Bil Gilberts article quite humorously points out some misuses of the word ecology, much of what he says does a disservice to the environmental movement. It is hardly accurate to describe the conservation movement, which has opposed the development of the SST, the turning of streams into ditches by channelization and the devastation of land by strip mining, as "a rather pathetic attempt on the part of man to hold back the forces of change." The forces of change we wish to hold back are not those of nature, but those that stem from man's destruction of the very ecosystem on which he depends.
Environmental Policy Center
Bil Gilbert is an ecological Archie Bunker.
JIM M. BROWN
Lake Charles, la.
Perhaps Bil Gilbert's article is as negative toward the field of sports as it appeals to be toward environmentalists. In Los Angeles children are not permitted to play in active sports on smog-alert days.
There are many waters in this nation which can no longer be used for swimming, fishing or even sailing. I here are thousands of counties where the game is gone.
What is Gilbert's point? Why has he chosen and SI permitted him to concentrate upon the peanut-gallery aspects of a deathly serious topic? How can SI portion out four pages to a writer who makes such conclusions as: "Whatever the outcome, 50 or 0 billions, we can rest assured that there will still be ecology."
KENNETH F. CURRY
Although Gilbert makes a good point or two concerning the use of the word ecology, his leaning toward predestination makes him sound like the falsest prophet of all.
The last part of the article was so infuriating that I concluded he was either writing with tongue in cheek or being purposefully and unnecessarily controversial. I hope everyone Will see through his distortions and misunderstandings and pay no heed to the article.
JOHN OTTO OLSON
Fort Kent, Maine
It is about time writers took a little recognition away from the glamour game (the major leagues) and gave it to minor league ballplayers (Can't Hem the Bushes. April 24). It is obvious that these men work hard, hoping for that one chance to make the big time, but it is a pity that too main newer get the chance. Everyone realizes minor league players receive little money and the quote, "Mere money does not buy happiness," is an excellent summary of the heart, guts and pride these real ballplayers possess. Roy Blount Jr., I commend you.
A flood of memories came back at the sight of your pictorial feature on minor league ball parks. My memories are of Memorial Stadium in York, Pa. and the White-Roses of the Eastern league and. before that, the Piedmont League in the late '50s and early '60s. Brooks Robinson played for York, as did Bob Burda, Jim Beauchamp, Dalton Jones, Wilbur Wood, Hank Allen, Jim French, Dick Bosnian and Casey Cox. The opposition included such rising stars as Jim Perry, Jose Pagan, Matty Alou, Tom Haller, Juan Marichal, Manny Mota, Tom Tresh, Walt Bond, Mudcat Grant, Rico Petrocelli, George Scott and Reggie Smith. There were many more, of course, but these are the particular players who stand out in my memory.
York was, during this period, affiliated with the Cardinals, Red Sox, Senators and Pirates. But that is the past. The future is somewhat gloomier. The irony of the situation is that York still has a good stadium, which is more than some other former minor league towns can offer. Memorial Stadium has adequate seating capacity, good parking facilities, excellent lighting and, best of all, an AstroTurf infield. It seems a shame to have to use such a stadium only for soft-ball even world-class softball—instead of professional baseball as well. I, for one, would like to see minor league baseball return to York.
DOUGLAS A. EVERETT
We enjoyed very much Roy Blount's article. However, not all minor league stadiums are as depicted in the story. Albuquerque is proud to have the most modern and most beautiful minor league stadium in the nation. Built in 1969, it is the home of the Triple A Pacific Coast league Albuquerque Dukes, the top farm club of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Seating 10,510, it features the only drive-in viewing area of any professional ball park in the country. It is also the only minor league stadium with a first-class lounge and Stadium Club open daily to the public.
Attendance at professional baseball games the past three years has topped 571,000, which makes Albuquerque one of the best cities in minor league baseball.
SCORE ONE TOUCH
I was glad to see your article ('Tis Far Better to Waste than Be Wasted, April 24) on fencing, one of the most ignored sports in the U.S. The public fails to appreciate the effort, training and knowledge that go into the making of a successful fencer. Many people do not even know that fencing is an Olympic sport, much less that the U.S. team has a chance to make a good showing with members like Tyrone Simmons of the University Of Detroit. So congratulations and thank you for an article that not only describes one of the finest young fencers in America today but also makes an attempt to explain a much misunderstood sport.
Park Ridge, Ill.
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