Seldom have I read a more engrossing article than John Garrity's on the Bretts (Love and Hate in El Segundo, Aug. 17). The familial insights it provides are fascinating and illustrate why your magazine's greatest attraction for me is its writing.
ARTHUR L. ANDERSON
Lake Forest, Ill.
John Garrity brought us so close to the Bretts, I felt like one of the family.
Hurrah for John Garrity! It's about time someone wrote something about what I consider to be baseball's first family. It's also about time someone paid some respect to the pushy mothers and fathers of this world. It's not that I agree with Jack Brett's tactics or anything, I just ask you: Without all those pushy parents, would there be so many success stories?
Short Hills, N.J.
As a George Brett fan, I enjoyed the article. But I'm afraid the Jack Brett "syndrome" is all too common. Unfortunately, almost all Little League mothers can recognize a Jack Brett in their area.
John Garrity notes that Ken Brett established a major league record for a pitcher by hitting a home run in four consecutive games. True, but the record really should read five homers in five consecutive games. Just before the start of his streak, Brett got a hit that went over the centerfield fence in Candlestick Park. Umpire Dick Stello, thinking the ball had bounced over the fence, called it a ground-rule double, but others who saw it from the Giants' outfield and bullpen said that the ball did indeed clear the fence before touching the ground.
For a man who has three home runs and 20 runs batted in, George Brett is getting a lot of ink.
JOHN SOUTER JR.
Your story on the All-Star Game (Off with a Blast, Aug. 17) was greatly appreciated. As one of the 72,086 enthusiastic fans in attendance, I enjoyed every aspect of the game, but as a Cleveland Indian fan, I especially enjoyed the well-deserved standing O's given to Manager Dave Garcia, Len (Perfect Game) Barker and Bo Diaz.
"A big hand for baseball"? What the hell for?
White Plains, N.Y.
Your article on George Scott (George Scott Is Alive and Well and Playing in Mexico City, Aug. 17) couldn't have been better timed. As this farce called the Second Season began, I was refreshed by the story of a man who really loves the game.
Prairie Village, Kans.
George Scott has had an illustrious career in Boston and he has realized his dream of becoming a "Yankee," but your article failed to mention that Scott spent some of his most productive years as a Brewer. To us Milwaukee fans, he's still the Boomer. The many moments of drama and excitement he gave us are treasured. I'm glad to hear he's doing well.
MARK C. CLARK
Finally, a fair article on Roberto Duran (Back, but Still a Long Way To Go, Aug. 17) by William Nack. I'm tired of hearing and seeing the media cut down Duran for one embarrassing performance. No boxer I've witnessed in my 15 years of watching fights can go to the body or slip punches like Duran. My prediction for a Leonard-Duran rematch? Duran by a TKO in the 14th—that is, if Leonard can get by Thomas Hearns.
I wholeheartedly agree with the statement "Roberto Duran narrowly defeated young Nino Gonzalez," because that was all he did. As the title of the article said, he has a long way to go. If Duran ever becomes the No. 1-ranked contender, Sugar Ray Leonard will certainly embarrass him again.
STEVEN R. CINQUANTI
THE TV REVOLUTION
The picture shown on the WGN television screen in Part I of your article on cable and pay TV (The TV Revolution, Aug. 10 and 17) appears to be of a Chicago Cub player picking up a dropped fly ball. Maybe cable TV revenues will give the new owners of the Cubs, the Tribune Company, enough money to rebuild the team and eliminate that kind of scene.
As for cable TV, what better way to satisfy a sportsaholic's need to have his choice of any sport at any time? I frequently "pollute my mind," as my girl friend says, by watching several games at one time, flipping from channel to channel. The only drawback is that I have to travel 10 miles to watch cable sports. Soon that may no longer be necessary. But is there any way right now to make the day longer?
RICHARD GORECKI JR.
The impending success of cable TV can be attributed to one overriding thing: the unwillingness of the three over-the-air networks to assume the responsibility for entertaining and informing all of their audience fully rather than the lowest common denominator safely. The sight of celebrities and/or off-season, out-of-place professional athletes competing in invented-for-TV "sports" on commercial TV, while ESPN works steadily to provide us with the total impact of sports' spontaneity, leaves me with no sympathy for the networks. Will ESPN succeed? Is the nation ready for a weekly sports magazine? A note of caution, however: Let us never allow the new cable networks to abuse us the way the other three have done.
The sidebar accompanying Part II of your article makes a shocking statement about the power of television: Two New Jersey high schools played a baseball game in the pouring rain so that they could be on cable TV. I, for one, wouldn't risk my neck by standing in a batter's box full of mud while a pitcher throws a wet, slippery baseball at me. The threat of injury—and I hope there was none—probably took a lot of the fun out of the game for the players and the fans.
The "smalls" are simply imitating the "bigs" by letting TV dictate to them, and soon—if they haven't done so already—they will imitate the "win at all costs" attitude. We have seen the problems with this philosophy in the bigs, and I think it's time to stop it in the smalls.
DONALD R. SPRATT
I'm sick of money-hungry sports promoters, players and owners. I never intend to watch another pro baseball game. My heart isn't in pro sports, and your article on cable and pay TV only reinforces my feeling.
If the day ever comes when I have to fork out money to see Tennessee in an NCAA championship or bowl game on TV—after I've supported and loyally rooted for the Volunteers during the hard times, even when I found it difficult to get excited—I'll give up on college sports. I'll go to the high school ranks and then to the minor leagues, if need be. I want sports—effort and enthusiasm and love of the game—not business.
SPORT, FAMILY AND RELIGION
Thank you for your comprehensive article on Tracy Caulkins and competitive swimming (Search for Still Water, Aug. 3). Kenny Moore captured the intensity of the sport very well.
Swimming is demanding—of the swimmer and of the entire family. It is total commitment. In this regard, I was interested in Coach Ron Young's comments: "I'm originally from Michigan, where church and family life are important values. I coached in Florida next, where families weren't always intact, and that leads to a coach's becoming a surrogate parent, not a coach. Then we were in California, where the families were fine but church was missing." This brought to mind a time several years ago when one of our sons was going for age-group records. The important meet was on Palm Sunday weekend. On Palm Sunday night he was to join our church with his class. We had to choose between his swimming in the finals or joining the church. We chose the church.
Every year, throughout the year, swim meets are held at times that are disruptive to families. We have meets the weekend before Christmas, on Memorial Day weekend, on Fourth of July weekend, Thanksgiving weekend—it goes on and on. And if you are involved, you're expected to go.
The most frustrating meet of all, we have found, is the summer Junior Nationals, which is held late in August, just before school begins. It's frustrating because a swimmer gets out of school in June, works intently throughout the summer for this big meet, and then, when it's over, immediately returns to school, having had no mental or physical rest all summer. The other members of the family suffer, too, as they must forgo any summer vacation or else take it without their swimmer. We've tried it both ways.
It's our hope that swimming officials will recognize some of these problems and come up with better scheduling, which will allow swimming families a little more time for "togetherness." Maybe, too, this would allow our Florida coaches to relinquish the role of surrogate parents and thus permit them to continue with their full-time jobs as coaches.
MRS. GEORGE W. WEAVER
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
BRING ON THE BANDS
With another football season just getting under way, I'm writing about my annual complaint. It has to do with the lack of half-time entertainment on TV. After watching the first two quarters of the game, we then get filled in all over again on what took place. The viewer occasionally gets a glimpse of marching bands and drill teams in the background over the heads and shoulders of the commentators, but never really gets to see them display their fine talents. These performers train all week just as hard as the football players do, so why shouldn't they be seen and heard? I can't figure it out. Maybe it's because I'm old-fashioned and love to watch pretty girls and hear lively band music.
Letters should include the name, address and home telephone number of the writer and be addressed to The Editor, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020.