UP WITH THE BIRDS
Ron Fimrite's article on the Cardinals (Cashing in Those Intangibles, Aug. 6) was excellent. Since early in the season, when you reported how bad the Cardinals were doing, I just sat back and waited for the rookies to improve, the pitching to come around, the bats to get hot and the Cubs to choke. With Wise and Gibby and Cleveland winning, how can the Cards lose?
Fimrite's comments on the St. Louis fans' appreciation and knowledge of baseball are as refreshing as his perspective of what is making the team a pennant contender.
New York City
Red Schoendienst and the Cardinal front office should be given a lot of credit for not panicking and putting the whole team on the trading block, as some people in St. Louis suggested.
Three cheers to the Cardinal players, the rookies and veterans who held fast to the belief that, with five wins and 20 losses, there was no place to go but up.
I don't think Don Shula, coach of the Miami Dolphins, will ever forget John McKay, coach of USC and this year's great All-Star team, for what he said (Two-Sided, For Once, Aug. 6): "Just give 'em to Don Shula. He'll have 'em in the Super Bowl in three years." It was a great compliment to a great coach, but the same to Mr. McKay—certainly a great coach himself.
East Lansing, Mich.
McKay with his experience realized that the game itself would be won by the team that could best operate as one unit. With that thought in mind he set out to prepare the All-Stars mentally, rather than physically endangering them with heavy workouts in practice sessions.
In the game itself, however, although the All-Stars had plenty of talent, desire and know-how, they showed a lack of concentration. As a result, this was all the Dolphins needed; they had that little extra mental unity being an established team.
If nothing else, the All-Stars proved that they could play with the best of the pros, and anytime that can be done that's some kind of achievement.
I am a little puzzled by John Underwood's comments regarding the New England Patriots and their draftees in relation to the All-Star Game against the Dolphins. The way Underwood writes it, it sounds as if the Patriots kept their draftees off the team. Actually, there were three Patriot draftees on the All-Star squad—including Sam Cunningham, the only player who was significantly injured in practice.
KARL F. STEPHENS, M.D.
It was good to see SPORTS ILLUSTRATED recognizing the young American soccer players who have contributed so much this season to their teams in the NASL (Learning the Game by Rote, Aug. 6).