SI Vault
Edited by Robert W. Creamer
October 01, 1973
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October 01, 1973


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Afraid this one is a bit awkward to write. Lot of nonsense, really. But, oh well. Gunther Pilz, a West German sociologist working at the Swiss federal college of physical education, argues that sportswriters have become warmongers. He says they (or we, if you insist) give sport greater significance than it deserves, create artificial sensations and advance the cause of nationalism.

"They turn their reporting into a manipulation of emotions, the kind of emotions that make fanatics out of players and spectators and turn stadiums into battlefields. Sports events that ought to promote the friendship and integration of nations are converted into little wars, and these warlike sublimations get the upper hand, particularly when former enemies are involved.

"Sports reports not infrequently resemble cheap Wild West tales or medieval epics. Events are managed to suit television, and stadiums are built with the same end in view. The more the mass media succeed in emotionally arousing players and spectators, the greater the danger of negative, aggressive reactions on the part of both."

Pilz, you have exactly 24 hours to apologize. If you don't, we attack.

20/20 VISION

Ever since Wilbur Wood of the Chicago White Sox won his 20th game this year and at about the same time showed that he was going to lose 20, too, people have been asking what other major league pitchers ever won 20 and lost 20 in the same season. Here, via Duff Wyllie, the superstatistician from San Francisco, is the final word, complete with colorful nicknames. It was a fairly common occurrence before 1900, Wyllie says, but in the 20th century the list is limited to:

[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]

Win One Lose One Wilbur Wood is 60 years behind the times.


A middle-aged man tried to explain what it was about Willie Mays that made him so special:

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