THE NCAA STRIKES OUT...AGAIN
I salute Pat Putnam and SI for their courageous, although probably quixotic, stand against the NCAA ruling that declared the Bruins' premier long jumper, James McAlister, ineligible for the NCAA track and field championships (This One Was for James, June 28). As Track Coach Jim Bush said, "They didn't hurt UCLA; they hurt no one but a fine, decent kid who has worked harder, was more dedicated than any athlete I've ever seen."
The salient point here is the personal injury that such an inane ruling inflicts. Some sort of reform seems necessary within the organization of collegiate athletics and the group that rules it with an iron hand (and, apparently, a cold heart).
I feel the NCAA made a ridiculous decision. If McAlister took the test and passed it legally then I feel he is eligible. It was almost as bad as saying the team attitude is bad if some of the team members have long hair, sideburns or a mustache. To James McAlister I give my condolences and to the UCLA track team I say good effort for a fine young man.
BILLY THE BULLY
Billy Martin states, "The day I start a fight is the day I lose one" ( Billy the Kid as Peacemaker, June 28). Baloney. It sure looked like he once started one he didn't lose, and I saw it from a box seat back of third base at Wrigley Field. I refer to the day in August 1960 when he all but ruined Pitcher Jim Brewer. Martin, then with the Cincinnati Reds, claimed Brewer threw at him. So he went to the mound and crushed Brewer's cheekbone. Predictably, the pantywaisted commissioner's office let Martin off with a slap on the wrist when he surely deserved at least a year's suspension and a robust fine. Why no mention of this in your article?
A FAN'S LAMENT
If horsemen and the tracks would stop shedding crocodile tears over the OTB money (Putting the Case to Howie the Horse, June 28) and begin thinking about ways to improve racing, perhaps their fiscal worries would come to an end. Both are responsible for lack of progress—horsemen for overbreeding and overracing, and tracks for altitudes that functioned well 30 years ago.
Racing has not changed much. It still is one minute and 10 seconds of action, and 29 minutes of inaction. In today's go-go world it's like driving a Model T on the freeway. The brain trusts at many tracks are overdue for a frontal lobotomy. The color, gaiety and excitement are gone. It's money, money, money, and nobody seems to be making enough: not the states, not the tracks and not the horsemen.
Dick Miles (Exterminating a Ping-Pong Pest, June 28) has shown how to deal with my particular species; however, I must appeal to Mr. Miles to aid us Finks. (A very inappropriate bit of symbolism, I might add.) Now that we are almost "exterminated," Ping-Pong will reach its lowest depths. A Ping-Pong match is certainly no fun to watch when there are two attackers (there is no volleying and the match ends relatively early).
The Fink player adds his own bit of skill to the game. It's not as easy as it seems to be a good blocker. Please, Mr. Miles, how about advice to help us Finks.
MARC A. RUBIN
If Dick Miles went to Red China looking for that "no-man's-land" in the vicinity of the right hips of the Chinese players, he should have been forewarned that it would be harder to find than Oz. A great advantage of the "penholder" grip is that it eliminates the gap between forehand and backhand. Establishment of the superiority of this grip over that of the "shake-hands" nonsense may, in the fullness of time, outweigh the political implications of the famed Ping-Pong junket.
BILL DEMME JR.
American League schedule maker Bob Holbrook's suggested three-league setup as defined in SCORECARD (June 28) is not with-out its salutary aspects. Playing more games with, and being in the same league with, natural rivals would undoubtedly increase interest and attendance. Also it would mean less traveling and decrease transportation costs. His idea of returning to a 154-game schedule is sound. Not only is the season too long at present, but the records and statistics that were based for so many years on the 154-game schedule would not be diluted, as they are now, with asterisks.