Thanks to Ron Fimrite for his article on spring training (The Roots of Spring, March 3). However, baseball is not just for older people who remember its heyday, or for youngsters who are fascinated by its superstars. The game is also for people like me (age 26) who believe that the most important thing your article said was, "Baseball is not so much catching up with the times as the times are slowing to meet it." Don't you think society could learn a great deal from the easy, deliberate pace of baseball? I certainly do.
How pleasant to see baseball again on the cover of SI. I can't wait to get back to the game that is "too slow" ' for the times.
The March 3 article on indoor soccer (The Sport That Came In from the Cold) was another hit. Tex Maule provides an in-depth look at the game, relating that it has the excitement of hockey but not the complex strategy of football. I hope the article opened the eyes of many sports fans so that indoor soccer will become a hit in the U.S.
To a purist indoor soccer is no abomination. Brazilian-invented futebol de sal√£o differs from the U.S. indoor version only in that the ball, which is heavy and has very little bounce, is out of play once it crosses the boundary lines. It is played on any court, indoors or out, and is tremendously popular in schools and in the farm system of the big pro clubs. Some of the Brazilian stars of the past decade, including Tost√£o and Roberto Rivelino, started out on futebol de sal√£o.
As for using the boards, it is commonly done in pick-up or sandlot games in Brazil. When my childhood gang held its tournaments, we played high-scoring games on a cement patio, using a cathedral wall to bounce the ball off.
GUILHERME N. CESARINO
Fort Collins, Colo.
When you are talking about college hockey (Sun Child in the Icy Nets, March 3), we would appreciate a little ink about the defending NCAA and current WCHA champions, the University of Minnesota Gophers. And all these Gophers, as you pointed out last year, hail from this hockey-mad state.
Mark Mulvoy's article is an outstanding account of a great college goaltender, Michigan Tech's Jim Warden. It shows that college hockey has come into its own, drawing players from all over the U.S., not just Canada, Minnesota and New England. More and more colleges across the country are taking up hockey as a varsity sport. Just think, in a few years UCLA may have an All-America goaltender.
HERE'S PRO TRACK!
Being a former member of the sports television world, I was very pleased to read of the growth of professional track at the box office and on TV, but I feel compelled to clarify Mike O'Hara's statement that the International Track Association's NBC Saturday late-night telecast "ended up with more viewers than the Johnny Carson show usually has." Mr. O'Hara is referring to the weekend Tonight Show repeats, which average about a 5 rating, whereas the original Monday-to-Friday Tonight Show averages approximately a 10 rating. The ITA telecast had a 6.2 rating.
Best of luck and continued growth to the ITA, which will be seen again on NBC Saturday, March 22 at 11:30 p.m. And long live Johnny Carson, the king of late-night TV!
Director, Late Night Programming
NBC Television Network
New York City
TUNING IN ON MEL
Permit me to compliment you and William Leggett on the excellent TV/Radio piece A Voice from the Past (March 3). Nobody has made a more significant contribution to sports broadcasting than Mel Allen.
It is stimulating, especially to those of us who have been around a while, to know that Mel is coming back on the air regularly. One doesn't necessarily have to be an old Yankee lover or hater to appreciate Mel's mastery. I'm glad that Leggett took pains to point out that Mel has never been bitter toward the club that so summarily dismissed him. And the studio incident cited by Leggett, when Mel wanted "to do it over" and did, is typical of the man and serves to illustrate his meticulous attention to detail, a mark of excellence.
I had the distinct privilege and honor to deliver the speech when Mel Allen was inducted into the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Hall of Fame at Salisbury, N.C. a couple of years back. I've been around sports broadcasting for some 38 years. I have known no greater thrill.
Asheboro Broadcasting Co., Inc.
Your article brought back many fond memories. Isn't it ironic that the last Yankee pennant was won just before Mel Allen was fired. Maybe the Yankees should rehire him as pennant insurance to go along with new acquisitions Bobby Bonds and Catfish Hunter.
In SCORECARD ("Wrong of India," Feb. 24) you draw attention to the "political activity" in world sports and the danger of mixing politics with sports, calling on the International Olympic Committee to "insist now upon public and unequivocal guarantees for the participation and safety of athletes of all nations accredited for the 1980 Games."
Among the sports journalists (members of the International Sports Press Association) who visited the Soviet Union last year was an Israeli colleague, Moshe Lehrer, the first Israeli journalist to enter Russia since the Six-Day War. Lehrer raised precisely this point with Sergei Pavlov, chairman of the U.S.S.R. Sports Committee, and received an unqualified guarantee in the presence of 25 world sportswriters.
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