Radio created this so-called problem, commercial television compounded it and now cable is trying to profit from it. Radio broadcasts from faraway cities to rural areas helped create pockets of fans for those city teams throughout the countryside. Thus, an Oklahoman could be a St. Louis Cardinal fan without once leaving home. With the aid of satellites, the reach of a broadcast became wider. For example, in the late 1960s and early 70s, while living in New Haven, Conn., I became a Minnesota Viking fan.
To paraphrase Pete Rozelle, what reduces the number of fans is a losing team. In New Haven I was surrounded by losing teams: the Bills, the Jets, the Giants and the Patriots. I had to root for somebody. The weekend TV broadcasts allowed me to go shopping nationally. So in decrying the youngster in Cleveland who's a Brave fan, Villante is picking on the wrong villain.
By the way, I now receive both WTBS and WGN ( Chicago) at my home here in Alabama. I have quite a choice: the Braves, the Cubs and the White Sox; the Bulls and the Hawks; and even the Sting and the Chiefs. But I intend to stick with the Phillies, Eagles and 76ers.
ZOLLIE S. STRINGER III