I was amused by your article, An Easy Row on the Road to Japan (May 25), but thought your prediction of a Harvard victory in the Olympic trials a bit premature. True, Harvard has a fine crew and did a wonderful job at the Eastern Sprints, but they have yet to test themselves against some of the seasoned eights from the private clubs.
It is entirely possible that a boatload of veteran club oarsmen might get the best of Harvard at the trials. Here at the Vesper Boat Club in Philadelphia we arc practicing hard with just that idea in mind.
JOHN J. QUINN JR.
You say that even with a strong head wind (15 knots) which tended to favor Cornell and Yale, Harvard won the heavyweight varsity sprint "with seemingly effortless precision." Lake Quinsigamond is such that the first three inside lanes are well sheltered from any wind while the three outside lanes get the full force of it. It should be noted that Cornell was in lane 4, as opposed to Harvard in 3. Harvard did not get the wind impact that Cornell did.
Also, before deciding that Harvard is "an inevitable choice to go to Tokyo," the author might keep in mind that Cornell had only two races before the Sprints and has not had much luck with Cayuga Lake. As one Harvard crewman said following the race, "I'm surprised Cornell did so well with so little training."
A loud cheer arose from the banks of the Housatonic upon receipt of your May 25 issue. We at Yale were pleased to see SPORTS ILLUSTRATED predicting that " Harvard will win the Olympic trials." An Eli victory is now virtually assured!
ANDREW J. COMBE
JOSEPH R. DILWORTH JR.
WILLIAM S. LEAR
New Haven, Conn.
Harvard may be the crew to watch as far as the Olympics are concerned, but there is another international threat that deserves attention: the Washington-Lee High School crew, of Arlington, Va., National Schoolboy Champions for the past eight years (1957-1964). They have been (to my knowledge) the only public school from this country ever to compete in the Henley Regatta. They have gone three times—in 1958, 1960 and 1962—and each time they have made a better showing. At this moment they are already trying to raise the money to make a fourth try at winning the Henley Regatta. (Previous trips to England were financed almost entirely by the community of Arlington County.)
As a baseball fan who thinks he knows what makes the game go, I consider the hunger for home runs pictured in Minnesota (Home Run Heaven, May 18) a real hurt to the sport. The encouragement of cheap home runs by the shortening of fences is a detriment to the game. I watched some games between the Yankees and Indians in Cleveland, and I found more excitement in a routine ground ball. It was downright pathetic to see some of those large size "home run" bloops plop over the chicken wire to hit a spot 100 feet in front of the old fence.
Short fences have made the triple a real rarity. A triple gives the fan tremendous excitement—he sees the ball being run down by the outfielders, the runner straining around first, then the relay throw and the climax as the runner slides under the tag. That brings the fans to their feet. The short fences have destroyed much of the excitement and grace of outfield play. An outfielder can no longer get on his horse and really tear back for a long drive (as Mickey Mantle found out in Baltimore last spring). These cheap home runs are also a disservice to the art of pitching. What a letdown it must be for a pitcher to throw eight or nine scoreless innings and then lose on a bloop that wasn't even hit solidly!
I'm just 17, but I'll bet I care as much for the game as any owner or general manager, and, more important, I'm not blinded by the quest for money. So, for more excitement, a better game and more receipts, move back the fences. And not just five or 10 feet either.
HOT AND COLD
Recently you stated that games this year in the National Hockey League were 93.3% sold out (SCORECARD, May 11). This only goes to show, once again, that professional ice hockey ranks higher in popularity than professional basketball.