HOOPS AND HOLLERS
Regarding your pro basketball preview (Oct. 16), I must take exception to your "Three Clubs vs. One Kneecap" heading for the NBA Atlantic Division, and the "Super Division" classification for the NBA West. The Boston Celtics already have proved the absurdity of these claims.
The Celtics, with the acquisition of Paul Silas (worth much more to Boston than Charlie Scott), are able to beat any team in the league, including New York, regardless of the status of Willis Reed's knee. To substantiate this, one need only look at Boston's first-week victories over Detroit, Chicago and Los Angeles, the "Super Division" powerhouse. In the victory over the Lakers (On Time But Not in Tune, Oct. 23), Dave Cowens and Silas teamed for 33 rebounds.
Your cover should have depicted a player from the team that has always espoused teamwork, i.e., the Boston Celtics, rather than Wilt Chamberlain. Please pass the word: the Celtics are back.
ALAN D. PERRAULT
I question your choice of the Kentucky Colonels to come out on top in the ABA East. The Colonels are not as good as everybody seems to think. They proved that last year in the playoffs when they were blown off the court by the New York Nets.
Rick Barry is, in my opinion, the best forward in pro basketball today, and the Nets will indeed miss him. However, the maturing of John Roche and the acquisition of Jim Chones should outweigh Rick's leaving. Roche became a star in his own right in the playoffs, and he and Bill Melchionni make up the best backcourt combination in the league. Tom Washington is a proven defensive forward, especially considering the job he did on Dan Issel last year. There is no way in the world the Nets can fail this year.
Valley Stream, N.Y.
Rick Barry is the best forward in the pros. In your Oct. 16 SCORECARD column, you said Franklin Mieuli, owner of the Golden State Warriors, was taking a chance by getting Barry from the Nets, instead of giving him up for $1 million, because of Rick's fragile knees. Well, Barry has won scoring titles in both pro leagues. He has averaged 30.5 points a game in his career and, with him, as you will find out, the Warriors will win the NBA title. If it were not for Mark Spitz winning seven gold medals in the Olympics, I would nominate Rick Barry for Sportsman of the Year.
CHARLTON L. CUMMINGS
La Follette, Tenn.
Re Ilie Nastase (Bad Is Beautiful, Oct. 16), there is a difference between the "badness" of Joe Namath, Muhammad Ali, Derek Sanderson et al. and that of Nastase. The former are notorious for their activities off the playing field. If they do commit any of Nastase's "an-ee-mal" antics during the game, they are subject to penalties, fines and even suspension.
Not only does Nastase get away with his puerile behavior but, mainly because of it, he is now being touted by the nation's top sports magazine as "just the person needed" to catapult tennis into "total public acceptance and the big time."
I didn't know tennis was that desperate!
Hey, babee, nice article you write about Nasty. Curry Kirkpatrick is to be commended for a story as colorful and provocative as the new clown prince of tennis. Well done.
THE TIGER'S TALE
I watched the Tigers give Oakland a run for the money in the American League playoffs, and I am disgusted. Not with the Tigers. In my opinion, they deserved to be the team playing Cincinnati for the world championship. What I am disgusted about is the coverage that they received during the stretch and the playoffs. Detroit and Boston gave baseball fans all over the country something to watch. It seems that whenever there is a close race for the pennant, the Tigers are one of the teams in it. But the only coverage that appeared in your magazine was to be found in BASEBALL'S WEEK. YOU were not even so kind as to write anything about our superstar, Al Kaline, and his fantastic stretch drive. Someone who has contributed as much to baseball as he has in the last 20 years should get some recognition. The whole team showed how good it was during those final two weeks.
Your article Mad About the Came (Oct. 16) capped the whole lousy coverage. How could you try to discredit the Tigers by calling them old folks? They showed that age has very little to do with the game, as long as you are still willing to try. Players like Tony Taylor, Duke Sims, Gates Brown, Norm Cash and Al Kaline showed that the will was still there. I congratulate all of the Tigers on a fine season.
East Lansing, Mich.
I feel I must raise my voice in disagreement with your contention that by "splitting the leagues to create four artificial races instead of two real ones" baseball may have hurt rather than helped itself (SCORECARD, Oct. 9). Although a race between the two National League powers, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, was precluded by their separation by division, the American League race was made much more exciting by that very same separation. Surely there would have been a dearth of enthusiasm among Eastern AL fans had the Tigers, Red Sox, Orioles and Yankees been battling for the third, fourth, fifth and sixth places behind the Oakland A's and Chicago White Sox. Oakland is too far away from these four Eastern cities to have excited anything more than a few uninterested yawns.
Chula Vista, Calif.
ASSAULT AND BATTERY
It appears your article on Charles O. Finley (Charlie O. Eyes a Pennant or Three, Oct. 9) came at a most appropriate time. Just as Finley was complaining that "there hasn't been one significant rule change [in baseball] in the last 86 years," Bert Campaneris took it upon himself to provide the spark needed.
I foresee a new rule being passed, possibly as early as next year. Each hit batter (heretofore designated as "hit by pitcher" and placed in the score book as HBP) will now be allowed one free fling with his bat at the offending pitcher. If he is successful and strikes the pitcher (hereafter designated as "hit by batter" and scored as HBB), the batter will be allowed to advance to second base. If he is unsuccessful, he will advance only to first base. No longer would a pitcher be able to stand out on the mound and hurl baseballs 90 mph at quivering batters while he attempts to find his control.
But the biggest benefits of all might come with the necessary rule-book changes. Just think of the possibilities: the distance between pitcher and flinger would have to be established; the number of steps allowed in the windup of the flinger would have to be set; substitute flingers could be used for those who are injured too badly to fling for themselves; balk rules would be needed for those who make false flings; and, of course, to satisfy nonpurists who wish to speed up the game, a time limit between being hit and flinging would have to be established.
There is another factor to consider, though. How about the player who has trouble hitting the pitcher? Can you imagine being branded for life as good glove, good bat, no fling.
It is impossible to say if Bert Campaneris was intentionally hit by Detroit Pitcher Lerrin LaGrow. Only LaGrow would know for sure. But there is no doubt as to what Campaneris thought, which was clearly demonstrated as he threw his bat at LaGrow's head. Commissioner Bowie Kuhn's decision to let Campaneris play in the World Series and then continue the suspension for the first seven days of the 1973 season can only be termed outrageous.
BRAD R. COHEN
Charleston, W. Va.
TAKING IT LITERALLY
Regarding the picture at the bottom of pages 44-45 of your preview of the U.S. Grand Prix at Watkins Glen (Woodstock on Wheels, Oct. 2), what were you trying to get across to your readers? The caption read: "Young and happy crowds, living and littering it up with abandon and enjoying the event...." That was a pitiful thing to do on your part. Do you see anything that is happy about it? It is bad enough that people litter the landscape, but it is worse that you publicize it.
My sincere congratulations to Robert F. Jones on a fine article on Emerson Fittipaldi (New Boy in an Old Man's Game, Oct. 2). He has won his first championship, which should pave the way for many more. The "Whoa" of S√£o Paulo is on his way.
San Jose, Calif.
My thanks for an enjoyable article on the 1972 world driving champion, Emerson Fittipaldi. It started me thinking about the Lotus team as a whole. A check of the records revealed that Team Lotus has amassed five world titles in the last 10 seasons, and 39 championship victories in 109 events over the same period. How about a follow-up piece on the mastermind behind this truly excellent record, Anthony Colin Bruce Chapman, to name him in full. What I really would like, though, is to see a satellite telecast of every GP event like those lucky Brazilians do.
The first page of your article on Emerson Fittipaldi caused me considerable eyestrain. The problem was one of adjustment in trying to read the prose while seeing on the facing page, out of the corner of my left eye, a competitor oil company's trademark patch displayed on the world champion jacket.
Your fine photo of Fittipaldi was obviously taken at last year's U.S. Grand Prix when, in fact, another company was providing fuel for his racing team. Last year Emerson did not win the world drivers' championship. This year he did Last year he wore another oil company's patch on his sleeve. This year he is wearing a Texaco patch.
We at Texaco take great pride in the fact that Emerson Fittipaldi has won the Grand Prix world drivers' championship using Texaco's fuel and lubricants.
P. B. HICKS JR.
New York City
JAY TIME'S TEMPERATURE
I strongly disagree with Mr. John Hayes' comments concerning Jay Time's performance in The Little Brown Jug (This Strike Out Went Swish in the Jug, Oct. 2). He said: "All horses have high temperatures after a tough race in hot weather. I think that 27-second quarter is what finished him off. He had nothing left, and they just didn't want him to be humiliated again." Sure, all horses have high temperatures during competition, but Jay's temperature of 105.2° was much higher than it should have been, considering his average temperature is around 100°, I also feel fairly certain that Jay could handle a 27-second quarter as he has done countless 28s. Humiliation was not considered when the veterinarian and driver decided to scratch him. The horse had a definite recurrence of the illness that he had had the previous Sunday, Sept. 17. Hopefully, I have shed some light on a clearly one-sided story.
JAMES CHRISTIAN SHAW
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