I have just finished reading your article (Serious Contenders for a Funny City, Dec. 9) about the Cincinnati Royals and Cincinnati. I am a Cincinnati resident presently attending Harvard Business School and have followed the Royals for many years.
I will agree that winning is the name of the game in sports and attendance should follow. Since the Royals and Pepper Wilson have been in Cincinnati, they have had many losing campaigns with only a few highlights ( Jack Twyman and Oscar Robertson, to name two). In recent years there has been dissension on the club and noticeable griping and half-effort from the so-called superstar—Jerry Lucas. I'm only too afraid he has never lived up to the image your magazine painted early in the 1960s. The Royals, i.e., Pepper Wilson, have been particularly inept (until last year) at trading, giving away many good players and draft choices for failures. To find the reason for the poor attendance, Wilson need only look in the mirror. As a person who wants the people to come to basketball games, Mr. Wilson's tact leaves much to be desired. It is my belief that as soon as the Royals indicate that they can win consistently with a good team effort, then the people of Cincinnati will support them.
As for supporting the Bengals, they are presently playing in Nippert Stadium, which is not the best for viewing football games. The Bengals have played very well for a new club and have been supported much better than your article indicates.
One reason for the Reds' poor attendance is that Crosley Field is the smallest stadium in the majors. A second reason is that they lost many games they should have won due to poor pitching. The Reds are young and have a great chance at future National League pennants.
The people of Cincinnati look forward to 1970 when the Reds and Bengals will play in the new riverfront stadium and when they both will be contenders for the championship—and we'll see where the Royals are.
WILLIAM W. COWGILL
If Frank Deford believes that victory has departed from the University of Cincinnati, he has been in hibernation for eight years. Cincinnati won back-to-back NCAA championships in 1961 and 1962 and was beaten in overtime in the championship game in 1963, all without Oscar.
ROBERT P. BAECHTOLD
As much as I would like to see Edwin Shrake's friend Max recover fully, I feel that he was done an injustice (A Champagne Party for Joe and Weeb, Dec. 9). Mr. Shrake should have informed Max that although the Jets managed to get as far as the Super Bowl, they were sadly outmatched by the tough Baltimore defense. Remember that roughing-the-passer play in which Bubba Smith creamed Joe Willie? Well, what really happened was that Big Bad Bubba fell on poor Joe Willie and sprained his throwing arm. Exit Joe. John Unitas then proceeded to lead Baltimore to a 35-17 win. If Mr. Shrake doubts my hypothetical conclusion to his story, I have a $50 bill that I've been saving and....
Lake Ronkonkoma, N.Y.
I submit that Edwin Shrake would have as much trouble finding "thousands of tiny mean fellows with poison-tipped arrows" in Brazil's Mato Grosso as the New York Jets would have in a game against Baltimore. The Mato Grosso is a practically unexplored part of Brazil, but it is not a tropical rain-forest region. Rather, it is a savanna, similar to parts of East Africa. The sparsely inhabited Mato Grosso contains several interesting types of people, but the headhunters are all in the tropical Amazon country.
Shrake's story was entertaining, however, and I hope SI will consider additional forays into the realm of fantasy.
SETH A. DAVIS
Coles Phinizy's article (The Sharks Are Moving In, Dec. 9) was a fascinating one. I, for one, am glad that your magazine brings to the public's attention problems such as these. I only hope that further attention will be brought to the proper authorities before additional tragedies occur.
STUART J. VEEDER