RUTGERS VS. ALABAMA
Your article on the Alabama-Rutgers game was good (It Was No Picnic in the Big Apple, Oct. 20). However, you neglected to emphasize one thing: Rutgers is a team from the East, and Eastern teams aren't supposed to play on the same level as teams from the South, Midwest and West. Rutgers has proved that there is more to Eastern football than Pitt and Penn State.
In reading Joe Marshall's article, I noted a curious omission. If Rutgers' 4-0 start "looked swell on paper" but was racked up against suspect opponents, what about Alabama? At the time the Tide met the Scarlet Knights, its first four opponents (Georgia Tech, Mississippi, Vanderbilt and Kentucky) had amassed an aggregate 4-13 record and had been outscored 491-289. While Alabama's margin of victory over these teams was 33 points on the average, its first encounter with a winning club, Rutgers, resulted in only a four-point differential.
JOHN J. WEBBER
I recall that in the mid-70s there was a great deal of attention given to the Phillies and their practice of Transcendental Meditation (Shh, the Phillies Are at Work, June 14, 1976). They were characterized then as a placid and unemotional group. Anyone watching the National League Championship Series (Wow, What a Playoff, Oct. 20) would agree there was nothing placid about their current style of play. The Phillies apparently have abandoned TM for a higher form of motivation: Pete Rose.
Salt Lake City
Let's not make a hero out of Pete Rose for his collision at home plate with Astro Catcher Bruce Bochy in Game 4 of the playoffs. In professional football such a tactic would be called unnecessary roughness and result in a penalty.
JOANNE RAY WALLING
Missouri City, Texas
I agree with Ron Fimrite when he says that the Phillies and Astros played one of the most amazing championship series ever. But what most satisfied me was that the nation got a chance to see one of the most underrated players in baseball, Jose Cruz of the Astros. Cruz's timely hitting and slick fielding led the Astros to their first division crown ever.
New York City
THE "TRENTON TIMES" STORY
In your story on the National League pennant race (Out But Not Down, Oct. 6) you mention a "reckless story originating in the Trenton Times linking the Phillies—or 'Pillies' as some called them—with drugs."
Your characterization of our story as "reckless" is unfair. The Trenton Times stands by what it has printed. All we said was that several Phillies would be questioned by Pennsylvania drug authorities in connection with a probe of a Reading, Pa. doctor. We made it clear that none of the Phillies was necessarily a target of the investigation, which seemingly centered on the doctor's allegedly writing prescriptions without first examining the athletes. After our story broke, other papers had a field day, with a couple of them branding the Phillies as Pillies, but those that bothered to check with their own sources came out with stories confirming what we had said.
Executive Editor/Vice President
THE McKINNEY STORY
Congratulations and thanks to Richard O'Connor for an excellent article on the unfortunate sequence of events involving former Los Angeles Laker Coach Jack McKinney (After the Fall, Oct. 20). McKinney's refusal to badmouth his former employer indicates that he has a great attitude and is a very classy individual. I hope he finds happiness and success at the helm of the Pacers.
DAVID D. NUNN
Jack McKinney is in a freak accident and is "temporarily" replaced by an assistant coach who pleasantly surprises management by outperforming his friend. McKinney becomes expendable and is abandoned by a few people close to him. I'm sure this story sounds hauntingly familiar to hundreds of college athletes who have lost starting positions under similar circumstances.
REFORMING THE NHL (CONT.)
Mark Mulvoy's open letter to John Ziegler (Dear John, Oct. 13) couldn't have been more timely or to the point. If hockey continues to allow violence and fighting, the sport—at all levels—is heading for certain death. Some NHL officials say that it's just part of the game, that the absence of fighting makes for a dull game. It's not part of the game under international rules, the rules under which the Olympics are played. Can anyone who watched the 1980 U.S. Olympic team play the Swedes, Soviets and Finns say that it wasn't exciting, beautiful hockey?
JERRY DEL VALLE
Port Orchard, Wash.
Mark Mulvoy's suggestions for ridding hockey of fighting are ridiculous, as is his assertion that those who cheer fights aren't hockey fans. I am a hockey fanatic and I enjoy seeing a good fight. Besides, the fisticuffs just can't be eliminated. The argument that no other sport allows fighting is a poor one. In no other sport do the players move as fast as in hockey. In addition, the playing surface is slick and enclosed by boards, and the players have sticks. If you enclosed, say, the Houston Oilers' field and gave all pro football players sticks, Earl Campbell and the linebackers would crash into the boards on every sweep and would be tempted to use their sticks on each other. I think you have to agree that this would lead to fights.
THE RIGHT SPIRIT
I'd like to thank Bob Ottum for his piece on road racer Herb Lindsay (Herb Lindsay Comes On Strong, Sept. 29) and also compliment him for his incisive look at a runner's relationship to his body. When he speaks of a runner "getting out and walking all around [his body] to check on things," he's touching on a rather fundamental truth: a person is not merely a body, but rather a distinct spiritual being with a body to pilot around. As a runner myself, I know that part of the reason I run is that I feel better right afterward. Why? Because I get out there and push the old body a little further and a little harder than it likes to get pushed. As a being, I let it know who's boss, and I feel better for having done so. I am sure that Lindsay's body is a fine-tuned machine, but I tip my hat to its pilot!
THE REV. BRADBURY D. PEARSON
Let's hear it for seeds (The Seeds of Content, Oct. 6). After playing high school baseball I know the value of a good pack of sunflower seeds in fighting the monotony. However, you have left out an important step in the correct way to chew. After you've gone through a couple of bags of seeds, a nice juicy piece of bubble gum is just right. The contrast between salt and sweet is divine.
Roy Blount Jr. has raised the sunflower seed to its rightful place in the world of sport. I've chewed seeds for a dozen years, and at last you've made honorable what my wife and former college softball teammates considered my "aberration." Now if I can only get the shells off the carpeting of my car.
Here are a few more tips for chewers:
1) Keep uneaten seeds inside one cheek, chew the meat in the center of your mouth and save the shells in the other cheek. When you have finished eating the meat, suck on the empty shells to get added salt.
2) If your tongue gets sore, shell the seeds by hand and then chew them on either side of the mouth.
3) Watch the number of seeds you eat. The salt has already begun to wear down my front teeth, and I have switched to shelling by hand and side-chewing when possible.
STEVEN J. LEBRUN
St. Mary's High School
Dell Rapids, S. Dak.
As one who has been cracking those delicious sunflower seeds for a number of years, I offer the following to those seed chewers who worry about the amount of salt they are consuming. After you have popped 60 or so shells in your mouth, take a drink of water, swish it through the seed wad and then spit out the salty fluid. Now you can enjoy low-sodium seeds.
Roy Blount Jr.'s story brought back many memories of our past "spitting" experiences. We come from North Dakota, the Sunflower Capital of the World, where nearly every Little Leaguer has attained Reggie Jackson's expert seed-chewing status by the age of eight. Could it be that the art caught on in the majors after a big-leaguer visited a Midwestern Little League game?
Jamestown, N. Dak.
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