Two of the few games away from the East Coast had to be the Knicks vs. Houston and Seattle (with the ridiculous starting time of 11 a.m. in Seattle).
Since the arrival of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar our local heroes have gotten some big-game coverage, but teams like Chicago and San Francisco are only seen when they play New York.
I am sure that if the survey had been conducted excluding the New York area the figures would have been far more unpleasant. Perhaps it is time Czar Kennedy and ABC realized that there are 17 teams in the NBA.
J. L. BORDEAU
As an avid basketball fan, I used to look forward to watching the weekly NBA game on ABC. Not anymore. If ABC and the NBA are getting worried about a decline in viewers, it is no wonder. I, for one, am sick and tired of watching the New York Knicks. It is just like a summer rerun show.
Why not show other games? It is time that the NBA, ABC and the sponsors realized there are other parts of the country besides New York.
I was interested in John Carol's piece on the relative unpopularity of pro basketball on television. If pro basketball is unpopular, perhaps it is because in essence it is a game played by remarkably agile giants in a confined space. Its impact depends on the viewer having an accurate sense of its proportions. Wilt Chamberlain is impressive because he is enormous (as well as good), not because, on television, he is a 4�-inch midget surrounded by 4-inch ones. The game, unlike football, does not miniaturize easily. Football, more than basketball, tends to become a diagram acted out. To keep the viewer comfortable, football's violence needs to be diminished and distanced. That of basketball needs to be emphasized.
Earnshaw Cook's fascinating findings on baseball percentages (It Ain't Necessarily So, and Never Was, March 6) unfortunately have the same flaw that plagues baseball traditionalists—overgeneralization.
To flatly theorize that pitchers should go, at most, five innings because "it removes a pitcher before he is likely to get into trouble, not afterward," is ridiculous. One obvious example is my favorite team, the Chicago Cubs. With a team that does not have any effective relief pitchers and includes among its starters the fabulous Fergie Jenkins, who gets stronger the longer he pitches, the five-inning theory fails to apply.
Although some of Mr. Cook's findings are interesting, he himself is guilty of the sin he accuses baseball of: using broad formulas which "ain't necessarily so."
It was nice reading about Earnshaw Cook, a fellow fanatic who thinks the sacrifice bunt is a waste of time. I am sure glad to find out I am not the only one who is fascinated by statistics.