I agree with SCORECARD (July 4) that the selection of the All-Star Game players becomes a popularity contest when left to the fans. The other night I attended a Braves game in Atlanta and was handed 14 All-Star ballots, as were my companions. I was urged to vote for the Braves players not only by the usher and the public announcer, but also by the electric scoreboard. There were 10,000 at the game, so probably 40,000 to 50,000 ballots were cast, obviously with management's approval.
But as a discriminating baseball fan, I cast all my ballots for Red Sox players. I can't imagine what the woman who sat behind me did with her 14 ballots; she wanted to know why the players ran off the field periodically throughout the game.
My father and I attended the July 2 game between the Orioles and the Red Sox at Fenway Park.
When the ushers distributed the ballots for the All-Star game. I was surprised to see that the ballot they gave me had already been punched for George Scott and Rick Burleson. All the people around us received similar ballots.
Feeling quite disturbed that I could not vote for Rod Carew, I asked the usher what had happened. He told me that all the ballots used at Fenway that night were punched for Scott and Burleson. He went on to explain, in a tone one might use to a 2-year-old, that the ballots had been delivered to the park that way. When the machine printed them, he said, the ballots had been "accidentally" punched for Scott and Burleson.
I find this story hard to believe. Ballot-box stuffing by individuals should be frowned upon. But when such practice is sanctioned by the home team and forced upon the fans, All-Star voting has reached a level that is shameful and sad.
BLOWING THE WHISTLE
Houston Rocket Coach Tom Nissalke was well defended in the 19TH HOLE of June 20, but I believe it's about time someone defended the officials. The basketball referee receives more abuse than any official in any other sport. Yet he goes out on the court every day and receives more of same. I can understand small arguments between referees and coaches during the heat of battle, but what Nissalke did after the game with Philadelphia—complaining about the officiating over the Houston P.A. system—was bush. The only answer I've got for the people who defend this sort of thing is, try refereeing sometime and see how difficult it is.
EDWARD R. PAWLUS
In Setting Sail for the Defense (June 20) the lead picture shows Courageous with "26" on her mainsail and "28" on her spinnaker, while Independence has "28" on her mainsail and "26" on the spinnaker. Are the competing owners so friendly that they swap sails?
RICHARD E. WHITE
Jacksonville Beach, Fla.
?The two boats are raced by the same syndicate.—ED.
THE MATSON LINE
I must argue with Edwin Moses' self-assessment at the AAU Track and Field Championship (Good Times and Good Time at L.A., June 20). Granted, Moses is the best in the 400 hurdles, but he stretches the facts when he says, "No one has dominated an event like I have, the margins I win by, the times I run, the consistency I've maintained." He forgets Randy Matson, whose specialty was the 16-pound shot. Matson won a silver medal in Tokyo in 1964, when he was 19, and a gold in Mexico City four years later. He was the first to crack the "impossible" barrier of 70 feet in 1965 and repeated the feat more than a dozen times. It would be seven years before anyone else would throw the shot that far. Randy Matson was truly in a class by himself.
GARY N. ORADAT