In Frank Deford's article on sports in Washington, D.C. (It's Tough To Be the Hometown Team in No One's Hometown, July 2), I expected an educated and unbiased analysis on why certain teams have trouble drawing in D.C. Instead, I found eight pages' worth of cheap shots taken by a writer who grew up in Baltimore with a typical Baltimorean inferiority complex. He probably satisfied a lifelong ambition by insulting the nation's capital and its people in print. Oh well, I guess I can understand why residents of Baltimore are so jealous of Washington. It's not easy to be from a town only 40 miles from the most powerful and most beautiful city in the country (and maybe the world)—especially when that town is as insignificant as Baltimore is.
JOSEPH P. DALY
Letting a Baltimorean write about Washington is like letting a lifelong Dodger fan write an article about the Yankees!
Chevy Chase, Md.
I have just finished reading the wonderfully inaccurate trash about the sports fans of Washington, D.C.
Why didn't Deford deal with why the Bullets left his beloved Baltimore, or why the hockey Clippers folded, or why the Colts can't sell out playoff games, or why the Orioles draw only when they are in first place or on a 10-game win streak?
Baltimore is a beautiful city, with good fans, but that is no reason to belittle the great fans of the Washington, D.C. area.
"A tiny little trapezoid of a ball park" is a nice phrase but it hardly describes the Griffith Stadium I remember. Although it held only 30,000-plus fans (no bleachers in center or right) it had one of the most spacious outfields in the majors. Roy Sievers, a first-rate power hitter, spent half his life flying out deep to left, and Mickey Vernon (as well as Mantle and Maris) had all they could do to lift one over the towering rightfield wall.
Deford revived wonderful childhood memories in his piece on Washington, especially in his reference to the all-too-terrible Washington Senators, who were quite probably the worst major league team of all time. Nevertheless, his article brought back memories of such luminaries as Tex Clevenger, Reno Bertoia, Hal Griggs and a cast of characters who guaranteed a last-place finish for the Nats almost every year. Thank you.
Kansas City, Mo.
Deford hit very close to home, but he is mistaken about the popularity of the Bullets. In 1978-79 they averaged more than 12,500 per home game, fourth best in the league. That means they outdrew 18 other franchises, including Boston, New York and Chicago. Right now the Bullets have surpassed the Redskins in popularity in this area.
Deford implies that the main concern of the National Rifle Association is to see to it that "every sportsman in this great nation retains the God-given right to dispatch fellow sportsmen with Saturday Night Specials." The bill he apparently had in mind would actually ban all handguns except those approved by the Secretary of the Treasury, including those with barrels of less than six inches. Handguns larger than that could hardly be called Saturday Night Specials.
Billy Martin not only symbolizes New York City's battling, winning style, but also the Yankee ball club (Billy Boy Is Back, July 2). No matter how much you beat them to the ground, when the final bell rings they're ready with that big knockout punch. Baltimore may lead in the early rounds, but in the end it will be Billy and the Yanks by a TKO.
New York City