Jack Mann's article, Situation Normal in the Good Old NL (Aug. 8), shows one thing: Mann underrates the Dodgers. Take three of his statements:
1) "The Dodgers aren't capable of a long winning streak because they score fewer runs than any team in either league." Has Mann forgotten that they won the pennant with a 13-game winning streak last year when their hitting was even poorer?
2) "The Dodgers' speed has always been overrated, concentrated as it is in two or three men." Wills, Davis, Johnson, Parker and Barbieri are all exceptionally fast. Besides, when you have one man who can steal 100 bases who needs a lineup that is fast all the way down?
3) "Their defense is barely adequate." At six of the eight positions, their fielding is excellent. In Wes Parker and John Kennedy they have practically the best fielding first and third basemen in baseball.
As for the National League lining up for one of its typically wild pennant scrambles, don't be too sure. The Dodgers may win it a little sooner this year.
Jack Mann implies that the best teams do not always emerge as world champions. This notion, I suggest, is utter nonsense. If not through head-to-head competition how is the best determined? Through preseason scouting reports?
The old saying, "If you're so smart, why aren't you rich?" should apply here. The pennant race is a series of physical contests, not a literary competition made up of the best efforts of press agents, front-office men, broadcasters and bubble-gum-card promoters. Professional sport may be big business, but it is still based on a game played by men. And the best is the one who wins.
DONALD KIRKE II
The only situation that is normal in the "good old NL" is the usual mediocrity. Face it, the only reason the pennant race is such a toss-up every year is that no one team is good enough to win it. Every time a team gets into first place it proceeds to lose to a club like Atlanta, Chicago or New York.
The best club on paper does win, as Baltimore will prove in the World Series.
Can't Anyone Here Use Kanehl? (Aug. 8) was as memorable and moving an article as any to have appeared in your magazine. Leonard Shecter clearly defined the bittersweet feeling Met fans have for their magnificent nonheroes.