After reading John Garrity's article about bugs and baseball (How Bugs Drive Baseball Batty, Aug. 18), I felt I had to relate a buggy story of my own.
In 1978 in the small Arizona town of Oracle, north of Tucson, the local Little League was sponsoring a softball tournament under the lights when there was a great infestation of flying ants. Now, Arizonans are no strangers to bugs, because the desert is home to just about every creepy, crawly, flying thing in creation, but this was something special. In the middle of one game, I noticed an unusual number of flying ants swarming around every light in the park. About 10 minutes later, the field was hit by an unbelievable swarm of ants. They were so thick, the pitcher appeared to be only a shadow, and everybody was flailing uncontrollably, trying to clear away the insects; of course the game was stopped. Then suddenly all the ants died, and the entire area was covered with about an inch of dead bugs—home plate, automobiles and everything in the snack bar. It remains to this day the most remarkable phenomenon I have ever seen.
DAVID S. JOHNSON
Garrity did an outstanding job of reporting on a facet of outdoor games often overlooked; it is one aspect everyone gets annoyed by. Remember at the PGA Championship this year, Peter Jacobsen putted with a fly on his ball- and made it?
I have another bug story and it's not a tall tale. About four or five years ago, I was involved in a fast-pitch softball game at Gila Bend, Ariz., when a mass of migrating green leafhoppers floated through the field. The cloud was so thick that the outfielders couldn't see the ball, and batters were swinging at anything for fear of being hit by a pitch. Reports the next day indicated that the cloud of bugs reached 3 miles high and 5 miles wide and eventually covered a distance of some 20 miles. The explanation for the phenomenon was that the leafhoppers' breeding site had dried up.
DAVID B. NICKEL
Edwards AFB, Calif.
I really enjoyed the article, but you failed to mention any stories about foreign pests. I have heard that the mosquitoes in some of the Japanese ballparks are so big they have air force insignia on their wings. And they say that in one of the Mexican leagues a game was called off because termites ate the bats-of both teams.
VINCE DEL GAVIO
Most of your stories are good, but what was your reason for a five-page report on bugs? Now, come on!