As a lifelong Yankee fan, I appreciated Steve Wulf's article This Time George Went Overboard (May 10). I became disillusioned with George in 1979 when he traded First Baseman Chris Chambliss. I feel that was the onset of his now infamous ax acts. How can Steinbrenner say his players are disloyal when he's the most traitorous Yankee of all?
We fans have lost our spirit and enthusiasm. Even an evening spent viewing our Yanks on TV and listening to our colorful announcer, Phil Rizzuto, seems dull and lifeless. Can this be 1966, when the Yankees finished last, all over again? Let's hope not!
You may think I'm crazy, but I believe George Steinbrenner is the best owner-in baseball. He just has managerial problems. All George likes to do is win; you can't blame him for that.
The Yanks have always been a team of personalities who generate great emotions. Colonel Ruppert put up with the off-field shenanigans of Babe Ruth, and Dan Topping and Del Webb with the midnight antics of the Mickey Mantle-Whitey Ford group, sometimes putting the interests of the team and the fans above their own values. But George pontificates on his values and how unappreciative his players are of his generosity. George speaks of Yankee tradition, and then asks us to settle for a different lineup every day, depending on his personal whims.
The question is: Do we Yankee fans want a winner at all costs? No! Sure, we want a team that's a contender, but, more important, we want one with personality, spirit and pride in tradition. That's what we were trying to tell you that night, George. Can you hear us?
New York City
The Yankees are the best team in baseball. If George would just leave them alone, they would probably win the World Series easily.
Great Lakes, Ill.
Thanks for a splendid article on Bert Jones (L.A. Gets a New Leading Man, May 10). Bert has given this lifelong Baltimore Colt fan many thrills. It's a shame the Colts' poor record in recent years and the ignorance of Baltimore's front-runner fans—not to mention the team's owner—forced Jones to leave town under a cloud of controversy.
I wish Bert the best of luck in L.A. and can assure him that he will be greatly missed in Memorial Stadium. However, I dread the thought of seeing him in a Rams uniform for years to come. As the opening photograph on page 46 so eloquently showed, he was meant to wear Colt blue.
Give it up, SI. Where were you in 1975, 1976 and 1977 when Bert Jones was in his prime and had the city of Baltimore in the palm of his hand? Problem was, he couldn't get past Terry Bradshaw or the first round of the playoffs!
Good luck to Bert with the Rams. Unfortunately, he won't be missed.
While Bert Jones and Georgia Frontiere make an attractive picture, I can't understand the absence of Kentucky Derby winner Gato del Sol from your May 10 cover. Churchill Downs, Arthur Hancock and Leone Peters put on a sports classic, and you showed up in a football jersey! Bring me Bert and Georgia in the fall.
RICHARD E. MEERS
Your editorial "Making Cost-of-Living and Other Allowances for Cheating at USC" (SCORECARD, May 10) cut through the smoke screen of jargon that shamelessly emanated from Southern Cal President James H. Zumberge's mouth as he sought to justify USC's violations of NCAA regulations for at least a decade. Here we have the sorry spectacle of a major university that placed the quest for national titles and Rose Bowl victories above the search for truth and learning. We also have an athletic department that got beyond administrative control. Indeed, the tail wagged the dog at USC, and cheating contributed significantly to the building of a tainted football empire. One may ask now: What price glory?
FRANK R. WYNNE
Los Alamitos, Calif.
USC may have been cheating by current NCAA rules, as do many other schools, but college football has outgrown the restrictions placed on it by the NCAA. It's no longer Princeton vs. Harvard. The major colleges are proving grounds for future NFL stars.
Why should an athlete be punished for not being classroom smart? We're not talking about a person with no intelligence, because an athlete must learn the intricate offensive and defensive schemes of today's game. What's more, for the marginal student there is no other path to the NFL that provides as high a level of coaching and medical care. As for those who leave school with no degree or those—the vast majority—who fail to make NFL teams, they still leave school better people for the experience, having made contacts they couldn't have made otherwise.
As for the scalping of tickets by USC Assistant Coach Marv Goux, SI says, "Although ticket scalping has long been common at other schools, there's no proof that it has ever been as extensive or as well organized as at USC." USC isn't being punished for scalping tickets, but for being well organized about it.
The attempt to excuse the misdeeds of the athletic department of the University of Southern California by Zumberge and the reasons given by Goux for scalping tickets for the athletes seem flimsy. Perhaps a better way to teach young people to face the world would be to teach them to be honest at all times. Excellent advice came from an elderly Southern preacher some time ago. "If it's wrong and everybody does it, it's still wrong," he said. "If it's right and nobody does it, it's still right." Perhaps the earlier these young athletes learn this little goody the better.
GERRY E. LITSEY
The VIEWPOINT (May 10) by Arnold Schechter advocating a shot clock in college basketball comes none too soon. To his seven points I would add the following:
8) As in football and baseball, basketball should be a game of offense versus defense. In football, a ball-control team must get a first down—in effect, attempt to score—or lose possession. In baseball, a team at bat must get runners on base—also, in effect, an attempt to score—or return to the defense. In basketball, without a shot clock, a team has the option of keeping the ball and not trying to score, which is like being in neutral. This certainly isn't in keeping with the object of team sports.
9) Stalling leads to a paradoxical situation that encourages deliberate infractions of rules on contact (fouling). Team A, if behind, often will commit a foul, hoping for a missed free throw by team B. Team A then has a chance to gain possession. What we have is a situation where it may be to A's advantage to break the rules. A shot clock would go a long way toward rectifying this. Another step would be to award possession to the team being fouled in the final minutes even if the foul shot were missed.
I read with interest Arnold Schechter's VIEWPOINT concerning the shot clock and, in particular, how it related to the Sun Belt Conference. As he indicated, it has been one of the biggest assests to our conference in providing quality basketball entertainment over the past four years.
However, the article said that there had been 19 violations "this year" as a result of the shot clock going off before a shot was taken. That is incorrect. The 19 violations occurred in a total of 164 conference games over the last four years. In other words, there have been fewer than five violations a year.
Sun Belt Conference
I believe Arnold Schechter missed the mark. If the fans aren't in tune with the current game, how come attendance and TV exposure keep increasing every year? That's the bottom line. College fans not only enjoy watching their team play, but they also enjoy watching coaches coach. The current college game is a true study of coaching strategies. I can't say that about the pros.
Arnold Schechter is correct. College basketball needs a shot clock. The real culprit, however, is the game clock. It should be thrown out. Instead, teams should play two 40-point halves, i.e., the first half ends when one team scores 40 (or 41) points, and the game ends when one team has 80 (or 81) points. All fouls would be shot. Under those conditions, teams would play pure basketball. Coaches would have to teach offense and clean defense, because each foul would permit the opponent to move nearer the magic 80th point. With the game clock gone, in theory a team down 79-0 could still win. In Yogi Berra's words, a game wouldn't be over until it was over.
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.