THE BIG EYE
It seems to me that the "insidious kind of salesmanship" against which ABC's Roone Arledge is preaching (It's Sport, It's Money, It's TV, April 25) has crept into his own article. When he says "it's obvious that NBC has to create an illusion of parity with the NFL" and states that "the NFL has twice as high a rating as the AFL," he creates a prejudice against the lower-rated AFL, which makes me wonder if TV is capable of resolving the "basic ethical conflict" of which he writes. The fact that CBS has paid $28.2 million for the NFL games, owns the Yankees and is now forcing the AFL to "be faced with an almost total blanket by the NFL" does not seem to bother his sensitive TV conscience one whit.
To me, a viewer, it is quite significant that one league—through TV—is trying to eradicate the other. It is also clear that the NFL, if successful, will be able to dictate the tastes of U.S. TV sports fans.
Boca Raton, Fla.
Roone Arledge tries to put over the idea that television is not running sport, but he seems to contradict himself when he says that hockey would be a better television sport if it were played with one less man on each team. This gives me the impression that TV would drastically alter a sport if it could in order to create more excitement for its audience.
Many sports are dying from overexposure, editorialism, inflation and a number of other things. Football, baseball and basketball, for instance, have millions of fans coast to coast, but few of them ever set foot in a baseball park, a football stadium or a basketball court. Instead, they sit before their TV sets and swallow the insipid "color and commentary" propaganda given.
My only request is that TV leave hockey alone. So far, there are no $400,000 bonus babies in hockey, no prima donnas, no time-outs, no lags in the speed of the game, no microphones in the pads of the players, no gimmicks of any kind. Hockey doesn't need gimmicks. NHL teams played to 93.7% of capacity during the regular season of 1964-65. Their fans go out to the games. You don't find any empty seats at hockey rinks, because this is one sport that has been left to its own.
Is there any way that we fans who have no nearby baseball games to attend can put pressure on the TV moguls to give us a ball game on both Saturday and Sunday?
J. PAUL JOHNSON
Port Angeles, Wash.
Thanks tremendously for your uplifting report on the Pittsburgh Pirates (Wham! Bam! and Alley Oops, May 2). You see, I got the word—"The Pittsburgh Pirates will take the National League pennant and the World Series crown for 1966"—and your report just strengthened my beliefs!
Aztec, N. Mex.
Tom C. Brody's article was fabulous. It brought out the fact that the Pirates have the ability to work as a team and do not thrive on one or two outstanding players alone. I am glad that, finally, someone has given recognition to the best keystone combination in baseball, but I was disappointed that you did not mention Vernon Law's four-hitter earlier in the season.
C. W. HORN
When I looked back at your April 18 LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER I was very happy to see that there is at least one intelligent man on SI's baseball staff: Mark Mulvoy. He is the only one who picked the Pittsburgh Pirates, the strongest team in baseball. I was also very surprised to see that Bill Leggett thinks the Pirates are going to finish eighth, behind every team excluding New York and Houston. You can tell Bill Leggett for me that he is out of his mind. The Pirates are the future World Champions.
Congratulations and thanks to SI and Jack Olsen for that moving five-part series on Cassius Clay (A Case of Conscience, April 11 et seq.). It was, unquestionably, the finest I have ever read on him. Like Mr. Olsen, I cannot bring myself to hate Cassius as so many other Americans do. Instead, I see before me the image of that "clean and sparkling champion" the world was waiting for and saw in Clay for such a brief time, before we found out he was just as confused and misguided as the world around him. Your article brought me much enjoyment, but, at the same time, much sorrow, and, I hope, understanding.
MICHAEL DI NUNZIO