SI has always had the best sports coverage, and your handling of the Winter Olympics was no exception. I wish, though, that you had included a picture of the wonderful, spontaneous hug Peter and Kitty Carruthers gave each other at the conclusion of their freestyle performance. It was one of the warmest moments of the whole Olympics. Could you publish that picture?
In his very fair assessment of ABC's coverage of the XIV Winter Olympic Games (Notable Triumphs, Wrong Notes, Feb. 27), William Taaffe didn't make enough of his best point. ABC's greatest failing was its "teasing." Nothing was more frustrating than turning on the tube to watch a rescheduled Alpine skiing event and having no idea when it would occur during a three-hour broadcast. ABC should have given viewers the choice of not watching John Denver and some of the other schlock it offered.
BRUCE COFFEY JR.
ABC's Olympic movers and shakers obviously didn't read John Naisbitt's bestseller, Megatrends. They would have learned that TV viewers won't put up with "information float." They want to see news when it happens, not seven or eight hours later. What transpired was an insult to viewer intelligence. Thank goodness for Kathleen Sullivan's postevent coverage.
I agree with some things William Taaffe said about ABC's coverage of the Olympics—Dick Button was terrific, Peggy Fleming dreadful; some features were good, others sappy or dumb; and "the tease" was not enjoyable. But I cannot agree with his general conclusion that the coverage was boring. By definition, the Games are a great happening. I watched about three-quarters of ABC's presentation (all that I could) and was never bored. With some effort it was possible to avoid hearing the sports news, and I appreciated ABC's little pretenses to keep the events alive for me. I also think ABC will be doing the public a disservice if it broadcasts live this summer, instead of in prime time when most Americans can watch. As for the ratings, since when has quality TV gotten good ratings?
West Chicago, Ill.
ABC rates a gold medal for this year's Winter Olympic coverage. Even with all the negatives (the U.S. hockey team hype, the blizzard, the time difference), it presented us with sensitive "up close and personal" segments, creative and exciting sports photography, a touch of the Olympic spirit that goes beyond winning and expert commentary. SI's simplistic and unfair account of the coverage is hard to figure, because even a Trappist monk knew Bill Johnson was the winner of the downhill before he appeared on your cover.
JOSEPH W. OGLE
My highest compliments to Jim Kaplan on his article about baseball's events "outside the white lines" (Here's to the Good Old Days, Feb. 27). The stories he recounts from the 1983 season range from the serious to the hilarious to the poignant. However, his odyssey is nowhere near complete without some acknowledgment of that beautiful October weekend at Fenway Park when Carl Yastrzemski bid farewell to the baseball world. Yaz was the ultimate personification of the game as the national pastime rather than a business. Yes, Johnny Bench was one of the alltime greats, and he retired to accolades at special ceremonies as he made his final appearance in each city. Yaz asked that no special ceremonies be given him in other cities. Even though his wishes were respected, one needed only to look at the fans and at the banners that decorated each park to appreciate the enormous respect he had earned.
Although I enjoyed Jim Kaplan's article, I find it hard to believe there was no mention of the team that epitomizes the good old days, the world champion Baltimore Orioles. No big contract disputes, always a team effort, a grass-covered, roofless stadium and a mustachioed batter who was the Series MVP.
I disagree with Jim Kaplan's opinion of mascots. They add that little touch of light-heartedness that reminds us it's only a game. And speaking of outlandish, while the Phillie Phanatic is quite a horror, the Baltimore Bird is just a cute-looking oriole.
Fort Dix, N.J.
Do your readers a favor. Don't print any more articles by Jim Kaplan. I couldn't finish his journal because of its depressing perspective. Kaplan deserves the same treatment Roger Angell gave Dave Kingman: Btfstpk!
NEIL B. CONNELLY
North White Plains, N.Y.