You are quite right in your conclusion that one of the purposes of sport is the achievement of excellence (SCORECARD, Aug. 9). However, to set the record straight, my suggestion was not to send second-class material—but to send fewer competitors—perhaps one or two instead of three in an event.
International Olympic Committee
We have listened to Robert Short make excuses for his financial plight (Bad Case of the Short Shorts, Aug. 9) and criticize Washington as a baseball town long enough. First, let me say that blaming poor attendance on the fact that Washington is too close to Baltimore is utterly false. If Washington fans were treated as well as Baltimore fans (check the admission prices there), they would outdraw them by several hundred thousand. There are almost three million people in the Washington metro area, more than enough to support a major league team.
When Short came to Washington in 1969 he raised the ticket prices. Worse yet, he changed reserved grandstand seats to box seats, changed unreserved grandstand seats to reserved grandstand seats and moved unreserved grandstand seats to the upper deck of the outfield. He then had the gall to say that he had only raised box seats to $4 (from $3.50), without mentioning the change in seating arrangements. At the same time, he boosted mezzanine box seats to $5 and last season raised them to $6.
I don't think that it's fair to charge outrageous prices and then say that fans have an obligation to go out to the ball park to see the team play. I am still a Washington Senators fan, but I have been dormant since Robert Short bought the team. When he lowers prices and learns to appreciate his fans, he will have no problems with attendance.
I thought the implied criticism of Washington fans by Calvin Griffith was unjustified. It is true that "Washingtonians have endured athletic mediocrity longer and with greater patience than their more fortunate counterparts in other communities." But Griffith seems to have conveniently forgotten the simple fact that a winning team draws fans (the Mets were an exception), and the Griffith clan never provided one during its stay in Washington.
Look at Griffith's Twins this season now that they are a losing team. Their attendance is some 200,000 lower than last year. And despite the fact that " Baltimore wins everything," the Orioles can't even sell out a playoff or a World Series game. In 1969 the fourth-place Senators drew 918,000, while the American League champion Baltimore Orioles drew a fraction over a million—less than 150,000 more than the Senators. Yet there has been no talk of moving either the Twins or the Orioles. Give us a good team in Washington and we'll support it.
New Carrollton, Md.
There is an omission in baseball statistics that I feel is unfair. I refer to statistics for relief pitchers. Consider the possibilities when a reliever enters a game. If the score is tied, or if his team is behind, he gets credit for a win if his team rallies to win the game. On the other hand, if his team is ahead when he enters the game and remains ahead until the end, he gains a save no matter how effective or ineffective his pitching was. The only way a relief pitcher can be charged with a loss is for him to put the winning run on base. If there are men on base when he comes into a game and they score to win the game for the opposing team because of hits he gave up, the relief pitcher is not charged for it.
My point is that a relief pitcher should suffer some statistical penalty for allowing the winning run to score when he enters a game with his team ahead or the score tied. How about giving him a "fault," or some such term, when a loss is charged to the starting pitcher because of the reliever's poor pitching. He hasn't done his job, and the fact should be noted in some form.
NO CHEAP SHOT
Shame on you for calling Bobby Thomson's historic sudden-death home run against the Dodgers in the 1951 National League playoff a "Chinese home run" (Baseball's Week, Aug. 9). It is the first time I ever heard it characterized in such a demeaning way, and I can only conclude that the writer, Larry Keith, is an anguished Dodger fan who still doesn't believe it happened. Why, even Ralph Branca never claimed that Thomson's homer was a cheapie.
In reality, Thomson's home run was a hard-hit line drive that went into the lower deck in left field in the Polo Grounds with room to spare. Since the upper deck in left field extended some 25 feet over the lower deck, a home run hit down below had to be a screaming line drive. The infamous Chinese home runs usually were pop flies that dropped into the upper left- or right-field decks on the way down, such as the first home run hit by Dusty Rhodes in the 1954 World Series against Cleveland.
New York City