When I turned to the contents page of your Feb. 11 issue I was overjoyed to see there was a story on the New York Rangers (Dashing Through the Dough). So what do I find? A cartoon mocking the Rangers and a highly critical article that says they are paid a lot for doing nothing.
This is ridiculous. The Rangers are one of hockey's best teams. They have been in the playoffs seven years in a row. True, they have not won the Stanley Cup since 1940, but that is no excuse to write them off.
As for their fat payroll, if the club can afford it, fine. What about all those rookies who are making more than $100,000 because of the bidding war between the NHL and the WHA? If rookies who have not even proved themselves are worth that much, then good players are worth at least that much. I hope the Rangers win the cup this year just to show Mark Mulvoy that they are worth every cent they are paid.
As a beer-drinking hardhat who invests $5 some 41 times per season to watch the Cat's fat cats in "action," I appreciate your article. You have exposed the high-salaried Ranger players and their spendthrift management to sports fans everywhere. We New York fans are discontented because the return on our dollar is poor. The Rangers win fewer than half their games against top teams (witness their combined 2-3-1 Garden record against Montreal, Boston, Chicago and Philadelphia) and seldom display their supposed talents against the weaker NHL teams.
Perhaps the greatest frustration is the realization that the Stanley Cup is beoming less and less of a possibility. The Ranger talents have been diminished by the years. It is time for Emile Francis to jettison his George Allen philosophy and make a commitment to youth. Montreal sacrificed one year to acquire young players, with excellent results. The Rangers have the nucleus of a Stanley Cup champion but the current team and organization will never win it.
The article expressed a sentiment predominant among Ranger fans for quite some time. Although we give the Rangers more support than Mark Mulvoy does, the fact remains that they rarely show their worth. I was impressed by the caricatures.
JOHN A. HOFF JR.
Thank you very much for printing ABC Cameraman Andy Sidaris' views on girls at college football games (SCORECARD, Feb. 11). Now that Mr. Sidaris has all your male readers heading South to find attractive girls, those of us who are left here in the North this spring are going to have a good time when all of our girls take off that "lumberjack" cold-weather gear.
R. BRUCE MATTINGLY
Bowling Green, Ohio
I would like to commend Andy Sidaris on picking the state of Alabama as his prime area for girl watching. Notre Dame might be No. 1 in football, but 'Bama and Auburn both outclass the Irish when it comes to belles.
As a former Michigan State co-ed, now a resident of North Carolina, I feel obligated to defend my frozen sisters to the north.
If you took some of these so-called gorgeous Southern Belles out of the balmy 70° temperatures and put them in the 10° and lower temperatures that I experienced watching football games in East Lansing, they wouldn't be gorgeous for long.
Give credit where credit is due. The women who freeze in the stands up North are there because they truly appreciate the game and because they are not particularly worried about Mr. Sidaris and his silly views on how they look.
SUSAN FALCOFF KARESH
Man does not live by honey alone. We at Stanford feel that a belief in human equality with respect to social, political and economic rights should be a more highly regarded standard of beauty than a transient pretty smile or other commonly preferred superficial characteristics. Hopefully, Andy Sidaris will keep this in mind next fall.
I won't agree or disagree with Andy Sidaris' "honey shot" evaluations, since his comments obviously are a colossal put-on. Surely Mr. Sidaris doesn't expect female fans in such "arctic" climes as Buffalo and Pittsburgh to look quite as enticing as Southern California honeys basking in warm weather and skimpy outfits.
Also, if Andy had done his homework he would know that Buffalo hasn't had a college-level football team for several years. Being facetious can be fun; being a city-knocker shows very little imagination.
R. A. PIECHOWICZ
MIDDLE AMERICAN STAR
It is articles like The Heydays of a Big Barnburner (Feb. 11) that make Sports Illustrated unique. SI gives us human beings and their value systems, not just a column of sports statistics as do most of our TV and newspaper reports. Each morning as I have arisen in the dark this past week, my thoughts have been of Steve Piatt, up hours before me, doing his farm chores before beginning a full schedule of classes at Huntington College.
The Platt family is giving up professional basketball status because, as Peggy Piatt says, "It's only a mile to our church, seven minutes to the college. We live a mile west of Steve's parents and a mile and a half east of my parents.... Our children...will go to the same schools Steve and I did." Right on, Mr. and Mrs. Piatt! Right on, SI.
MARTIN J. WYAND
I especially enjoyed the article about Steve Piatt. The fact that three of the top six all-time college scorers attended Indiana schools is a tribute to Hoosier basketball.
New Haven, Ind.
Three cheers for Steve Piatt and barnyard basketball! Our school is without a gymnasium and on rainy days our team practices in a dirt-floored haybarn. We have no pigs, but we do have to watch out for hay bales. It's nice to know we have such good company in Steve Platt.
Thank you for an interesting and informative article on Dwight Stones (All Gall, Divided into Three Parts, Feb. 4). Ever since he broke the world high-jump record in July, I have been waiting to read something in SI about this fine athlete from Glendale, Calif. There is little doubt that Stones will become a legend in the proportions of the memorable John Thomas.
I had to laugh while reading Ron Reid's article on Dwight Stones. It showed only one side of Stones. Underneath he is a typical spoiled Glendale kid. He is the Muhammad Ali of track.
MICHAEL A. NAOUM
Thank you for Kent Hannon's article on Providence College's heretofore unheralded guard, Kevin Stacom (The Sound of Quiet Kevin, Feb. 4). Having seen Kevin play a number of times last year and during the current season, I knew that an article such as Hannon's was inevitable. In this day and age of collegiate superstars it is refreshing to read about a young man whose values and ideals transcend the confines of the basketball court.
JOAN M. GAVIN
West Hartford, Conn.
As a Providence College alumnus (1956) and avid basketball fan, I took great pleasure in your article on quiet Kevin Stacom. PC's highly successful athletic program has allowed this small college to mix it up with the large universities. No doubt Stacom and Marvin Barnes will join Ernie DiGregorio, Johnny Egan, Lenny Wilkins and Mike Riordan as successful pro players. The Friars have turned all Rhode Islanders into basketball nuts. Last year they averaged 10,000 fans per game—nearly three times PC's student population.
JOHN V. SCHOLAN, M.D.
Essex Junction, Vt.
I found the article on Bud Deacon (Hurdling Life's Barriers, Feb. 4) extremely interesting. I suppose many of us wonder how we can possibly maintain even a little of the form that we have in our prime. Bud Deacon has mastered this, and more. I don't have any idea of what life in the 60s is like but I now have something to guide myself by when I get there.
After reading Richard W. Johnston's account of this amazing 62-year-old retired Navy commander, all I have to say (with apologies to Rudyard Kipling) is: you're a better man than I, Bud Deacon! I salute this fine elderly gentleman for his apparently successful efforts to defy the laws of nature. He is to be genuinely admired for his gritty determination. I do not exactly go along with the Deacon Diet; still that odd-sounding concoction called Gookinaid seems fascinating and worth a try.
WILLIAM F. O'BRIEN
I have great respect for Bud Deacon but he is just a kid and some of the applause should be reserved for more mature men. Besides winning seven events in the 70-and-over division of both the 1971 and the 1972 Seniors Track Meet at Cal State, Los Angeles and holding several senior records in both track and field and swimming, I won the men's doubles tennis championship at Montecito Country Club when I was 70 and was runner-up at 73. This was not a senior event but was open to all members.
JOHN R. WHITTEMORE
Santa Barbara, Calif.
Thanks for the eye-opening, eyebrow-raising article on Commander Deacon. Some of these sexagenarians perform better than teen-agers.
On a front much smaller than track and field—but growing—our Peninsula Wrestling Club is planning the first "vet set" wrestling meet in the Eastern U.S. for late March. All entrants must be at least 30 years of age. Modified college rules will be used.
Peninsula Wrestling Club
The item concerning former University of Kentucky Coach Blanton Collier and his now famous staff (PEOPLE, Feb. 4) shows that UK has made mistakes with its football program. Kentucky has had only one season over .500 (6-4 in 1965) since Collier & Co. were fired in 1961.
You ask, "Fired anybody else lately, Kentucky?" The answer is yes. John Ray was fired in 1972, after four years as head coach. Ray is now defensive coach for the vastly improved Buffalo Bills.
But the future of football at Kentucky is bright. Last season the Wildcats opened a 58,000-seat stadium under new Head Coach Fran Curci and finished the year at 5-6. Six of UK's opponents went to postseason bowls. Kentucky defeated two of them (Tulane and Georgia) and lost close games to Alabama, LSU, Tennessee and Florida. It marked the first time that a Kentucky team had won more than three games since that 1965 season. So Wildcat fans are excited. They have forgotten about Collier, Don Shula, Chuck Knox—and even Bear Bryant. The future is with Fran Curci, at least for now.
P. R. STEPHENS
A BETTER SHAKE
Regarding your comment that the post-game handshake is becoming a "meaningless ritual" ("Wrong Rite," SCORECARD, Feb. 4), I can only say that I am appalled by your comparison of high school hockey with the NHL game. Your suggestion that the handshake be used only on special occasions, as in the NHL, may only lead to more comparisons—and eventually more likenesses—between the two levels of the sport, and that would be even more appalling.
These are not pro athletes who meet a dozen times a season. They are teams of young men playing for their schools and themselves, perhaps meeting just once. The day that such meetings end in cold stares and fistfights is a sad one for amateur sports. Discounting the ceremony is certainly no solution, nor should handshaking become "simply a demonstration of discipline." The handshake should remain as a sign of the friendship and respect that reign above all competition. I believe it should be reintroduced by high school coaches.
PETER K. SMITH
One of the cigarette advertisements has said of women, "You've come a long way, baby." The same motto might also apply to Betsey Johnson, who designed a few of those underdeveloped bathing suits for some delightfully developed females (Palmy Future for a Balmy Resort, Jan. 28). Since her cheer-leading days in the early '60s alongside the Syracuse University gridiron, Betsey has come a long way.
As a fellow Syracuse graduate, might I suggest that she design some new cheerleading outfits for her alma mater? Considering the football teams that Syracuse has had of late, it might create a little excitement and bring out the fans once again if the Syracuse cheerleaders entered ancient Archbold Stadium attired in something that left "more room for a tan."
JAMES Q. (Rabbit) ROEMER
In your Feb. 4 SCORECARD ("Next Question") you mention Marshall University's new on-campus sports building. For several years now, MU has looked forward to a new arena (to be combined with a civic center), but as o( now the Herd is still playing its home games at ancient Memorial Field House, which is of the snakepit variety—witness Marshall's 13-1 record there so far this season. So if Loyola Coach George Ireland did send a picture of our new gym to his president, it must have been a photo of the West Virginia Board of Regents or our city council discussing a dream.
JOE MOCK JR.
Huntington, W. Va.
•It was Oral Roberts University's new sports facility that captured Ireland's fancy. However, Marshall University fans in Cabell County, W. Va. will have a chance on May 14 to vote on a $10 million bond issue for a 12,000- to 14,000-seat Civic Arena.—ED.
FOR THE SUPERDOME
I should like to comment on the SCORECARD item "Excelsior" in your Dec. 24 issue. First of all, the latest cost estimate of the Louisiana Superdome is $163,313,215, not $162 million as you stated.
In 1966, when Louisiana voters approved the idea, a cost estimate was given of $35 million. However, the entire concept and location changed during the intervening period between 1966 and 1971, when the state legislature authorized a revenue bond issue of $129.5 million for the $150.2 million dome cost. A stadium with a capacity of 80,101 (for a Super Bowl game), which can also be utilized for conventions, trade shows, etc., and will produce revenue from 5,000 downtown parking spots, offices, restaurants, stores and medical clinic rentals, costs more to construct than the original design seating 50,000 and featuring only sports events.
We agree that the Superdome must clear $34,500 a day to break even. However, the following daily revenues are anticipated to cover costs, exclusive of events in the dome: $10,000 from downtown parking fees, $8,000 from a 4% hotel/motel occupancy tax, $2,000 from dome tours, $5,000 from advertising fees and $5,000 from rental space. Therefore, we feel confident in the Stanford Research Institute's prediction that we will be in the black within five years and believe their estimate of a $60 million profit over the life of the bond issue to be conservative.
The New York Times has said, "The Louisiana Superdome will make all other stadiums in existence as obsolete as Rome's Colosseum." We in Louisiana are immensely proud of our facility and believe it will be a major world attraction for many years. We feel the world's biggest—and finest—urban event center is expensive but will be worth every dollar spent to build it.
BERNARD B. LEVY
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