I would like to compliment Walter Bingham on his article Take Me Out of the Ball Game (April 27) on the rowdies at ball parks. What he said is all so true. Just recently I was at a Red Sox game. Orange peels were thrown on the field in addition to ripped-up papers. Some kids were sort of sitting around looking for trouble. They were distracting everybody else by throwing things at them. Matter of fact, at one point during the game the umpire had to call time due to orange peels on the field. It took a hit away from one player. We've always had rowdies at these games, and we probably always will, too, but unless some extremely strict action is taken, it seems likely to get worse before it gets better.
Walter Bingham says, "Some effort is being made." But his article (accidentally or intentionally) doesn't mention what it is. The television corporations have been asked (by the commissioner) not to show the actions of the rowdies, such as throwing "pool balls" and writing obscene remarks on banners and flags. But what is being done to protect the players? The front office at Yankee Stadium has denied the request for a roof over the bullpen because the fans like to watch the pitcher warming up. But also the fans like to throw things at the pitchers.
This problem of rowdyism is not one which can be stopped only by the administrations. We as fans can help by controlling our emotions (and also our adrenal glands). I am a member of the NYSBUA (New York State Baseball Umpires Association), and I of all people know what it is like to receive both physical and verbal abuse. From the standpoint of the baseball official this abuse is not pleasant.
ANTHONY J. LIGOURI
I take strong objection to one point Walter Bingham made in his article. While discussing (and quite rightly) the problems of people throwing cans, cups and bottles on fields he implies that the spontaneous celebration after the world champion Mets' "Impossible Dream" of 1969 was vandalism. I think that the author's point is way out of line.
First of all, how can the Mets' front office be upset by the loss of a home plate, bases, grass and wooden outfield walls when their fans spent millions of dollars for years to watch the Mets lose? Secondly, how can Bowie Kuhn be upset by the "vandalism"? Baseball was known as the dying sport until the Mets' victory. It is quite a different story today. And what better way to depict the miracle than to show the Mets' long-suffering fans finally celebrating by tearing up the field where all the losses had taken place?
New York City
I suggest that Walter Bingham read William Leggett's A Tumultuous Spring but a Fine Season Ahead (April 13). "Koosman took the elevator down and walked out onto the field to get some of the hallowed sod to take back to his friends." Either Mr. Bingham believes that the people in Minnesota are more deserving of the sod than the most loyal fans in baseball or that Jerry Koosman is a vandal!
Klamath Falls, Ore.
Bobby Orr (Mr. O and the Sack of New York, April 27) is certainly the most phenomenal hockey player of the new decade, but I think your readers are sophisticated enough to want to know the entire picture. In the crucial fifth game of the playoffs the Rangers scored their two goals with Orr on the ice. On the first Rod Gilbert stole the puck from Orr behind the Boston net, and on the second there was a hole in the Boston defense because Orr had offensed himself out of the play. Boston rallied on two goals by Esposito to win the game and thus the series. The Bruins and Orr gave up some defense because of his style of play even though it was worth it for the vastly increased scoring power he gives them.
Magazine stories so often share a common fault: to make his point a writer marshals all the facts that support it and omits all those that point another way.
New York City
I read your article with more than passing interest for a couple of reasons, the first being that the Bruins last won the Stanley Cup in 1941 and the indignities that Boston teams have suffered over the last 29 years are too overwhelming to recall, and the second being that there is a growing suspicion among hockey fans in general and Bruin fans in particular that we are witnessing one of the greatest talents that any of us are likely to see. When Gordie isn't within earshot most hockey men will agree that Orr is the greatest hockey player who ever lived. The feeling here is that a passably good argument can be made to justify the belief that Bobby is the greatest athlete who ever played any sport at any time. There is, of course, no answer to the question of who the athlete of alltime is, but how many of us can remember anyone who has so thoroughly devastated a league of the caliber of the NHL at the age of 22? Ordinarily when people argue about who was the greatest baseball player or greatest President or greatest anything, the nominees have been so long dead that it is virtually impossible to separate the fact from the distortion. But the best part about Bobby Orr is that, like going to the carnival, you can see him "live and in person." It's fun to go to a Bruin game with a dilettante and say, "Watch Orr, he's the greatest ever," and then watch smugly as he plays his "routinely magnificent" game.
If you think for a minute that I am overstating the case, go ask Billy Reay and "The Cat."