Touring the Ballparks
I read Steve Rushin's article about his trip around the five California ballparks (Into a Golden State, July 13) and laughed at his expense-account journey, with clubhouse access and press-box accommodations. My boyhood friend Dennis Grosse from Houston and I made a somewhat similar trip, also beginning June 28. We went to eight ballparks in eight days, covering 2,305 miles. We had decided to do this a couple of years ago because 1992 marked 50 years of friendship between us. We met in kindergarten.
We went to Chicago (Cubs), Cleveland, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Toronto, Detroit and back to Chicago (White Sox). We met great people at every ballpark, never spent more than $40 for a motel room and even made side trips to Notre Dame, Atlantic City, Gettysburg and Niagara Falls, among other places. It is really a wonderful country. The highlight of the trip came in Baltimore, where, after 49 years of watching major league baseball, I caught my first foul ball. (Thank you, Joe Orsulak.) Now that's the way the average person takes a baseball trip, not the way Rushin did it.
My father and I recently completed a similar, albeit less glamorous, lower-budget trip. Over five consecutive days we visited Comiskey Park, Milwaukee, Detroit, Cleveland and Cincinnati. Like Rushin, we enjoyed the atmosphere that gives each park its particular character. Each venue provided something memorable in addition to the action on the field. What both my trip and Rushin's article make clear is the absolute glory of the game. Despite the myriad problems facing baseball, a visit to one or several ballparks leaves no doubt why baseball is so securely entrenched as America's pastime.
We visited the five California ballparks at the same time Rushin did. We agree with many of his observations, but we disagree with his assessment of the Oakland Coliseum. We ranked the Coliseum No. 1 in the Golden State based on its old-fashioned, hand-operated scoreboard and the state's tastiest hot dogs. Also, being longstanding Baltimore Oriole fans, we noticed that none of the California parks have beer vendors roaming the stands.
JIM AND SANDY MOZINGO
Fairfax Station, Va.
Puh-leese! Not another story on California baseball that begins with mineral water, cappuccino and beach balls in the bleachers. The author neglected to note the 13 division championships and three World Series won by California teams since 1980, not to mention attendance records and the legions of major leaguers from the Golden State.
I'd like to say more, but it's the seventh inning of this letter and I gotta go....
San Pedro, Calif.
As boring as it is to watch a relative's vacation slides and listen to his spiel, it is 10 times worse to read about a stranger's trials and tribulations on the road.
1976 Women's Olympic Swimming
As a member of the 1976 U.S. Olympic swimming team, I would like to thank you for giving credit where credit was long overdue (Babashoff and Ender, July 13). The '76 team didn't live up to America's high expectations, and many folks never let us forget our "mediocre" performances. Shirley Babashoff's talent and versatility (it's rare to qualify in four distances) were overshadowed by the chemically enhanced muscles of the G.D.R. swimmers. I placed sixth in the 400-meter freestyle, and now I know, along with others on the '76 team, that I might have done better if we had competed on equal terms. Thankfully all Germans are now free to make their own decisions, and international drug testing is much improved. If we could be in Montreal again, on fair ground, what would the outcome be?
BRENDA BORGH BARTLETT
Kennett Square, Pa.
TV Coverage of Wimbledon
Norman Chad's TELEVISION column about Wimbledon (July 13) digs at NBC, and rightly so. I wonder how much longer NBC can afford to keep Bud Collins. His ridiculous questions and comments, his grunts, groans and superficial remarks show he is over the hill.
Hang it up, Bud.
BERT R. BERGER
Kenny Moore's article Babashoff and Ender was riveting, but I couldn't help but wonder about one thing. At the end of the story we learn that on the day following her meeting with Shirley Babashoff, Kornelia Ender was to compete in the 50 backstroke and 100 freestyle at the World Masters Swimming Championships in Indianapolis. How did she do?
•Ender won the 50 backstroke with a time of 32.47 and was seventh in the 100 free, finishing in 1:04.09.—ED.
Ender, who competes infrequently these days, says that she barely prepared for the Masters.
Letters to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED should include the name, address and home telephone number of the writer and should be addressed to The Editor, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020-1393.