Hooray for Ueberroth, Mantle and Mays
Thank you, Peter Ueberroth. You have given us back two of our heroes, Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle. Baseball needed a commissioner such as Peter Ueberroth--a commissioner caring about the players and the fans--not an "owner's commissioner." It has been a long time. We are now entering an era of new integrity in baseball.
It brought tears to my eyes when Jim Murray wrote: "Baseball has got its center fielders again." Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays are baseball.
Mater Dei, Ocean View Praised and Criticized
Out of curiosity, was Pat Cannon badly frightened by a Catholic high school as a child? I'm merely trying to understand the reasoning behind his constant invective directed against Mater Dei and its championship boys' basketball team. Cannon seems to take it personally that the Monarchs had such a fabulous season, devoting nearly half of his prep column to snide put-downs of the 5-A champs.
Mater Dei defeated several non-Orange County teams through its season, including an excellent Santa Clara team and then Verbum Dei and Serra in the playoffs. It then handily defeated Ocean View, which had just as easily beaten perennial power Long Beach Poly.
Mater Dei has always prided itself on its excellence in academics, athletics and spirituality. Cannon would have served them, and perhaps more important, himself better had he chosen to acknowledge and congratulate a truly talented and impressive team on its victory rather than airing his personal prejudices in print.
I find it disappointing to see all the ink that is spread toward Mater Dei and Ocean View high schools' basketball programs. Both schools have basketball players who originally lived out of the area living with a member of the coaching staff. Both schools have accepted transfers (six in all) that star in their programs. Both schools were seeded No. 1 and 2 due largely to transfers and live-in residents.
Return Lewis, Thomas, Mitchell, Butler, Hazeley and Pinzica to their original schools, then guess how effective each school's program would be.
Forget Baseball for Now, Let's Hear It for Kings
Well, it happened again. The Kings beat Edmonton on Sunday and where do I read about it? Page 2. When Edmonton beat the Kings, your editors are quick to put it on Page 1 with pictures.
Baseball season starts in 3-4 weeks. Put it on Page 10. Who the heck cares about Moose Stubing or Dickie Thon? Tell me about them next month. Let's hear about Dionne, Janecyk, Taylor and the whole Kings team. The playoffs are coming.
I hope the Kings win the Stanley Cup, because if they do, the next day when I pick up The Times I'll be able to find it on, you guessed it, Page 2.
RICHARD A. NYERGES
Stop Beanballs by Giving Hit Batter Second Base
There is no situation in baseball that justifies jeopardizing a player's career or even his life by intentionally hitting him with a pitched ball. By some perverted logic, many accept this dangerous practice as an adroit strategy intended to intimidate the opposing batsman. When tragedy results, everyone is sorry.
There is a very simple remedy for the willful inside pitch, or even the accidental one. Instead of merely awarding the hit batsman first base, put him in scoring position on second base. If that isn't enough, put the next one to be hit on third base where a game-winning run can be scored in a dozen different ways. Very cautious pitching will result.
NORMAN WILLIAMSON JR.
Bruin Fan Wants Negative Letters to Be Discarded
I know you love to run letters critical of UCLA basketball coaches since the days of John Wooden. Even when they do something good, you stress the negative. Recently, you ran a good article or letter about Walt Hazzard, but the headline was derogatory.
I think Walt has done a great job after a down season last year and, in fact, missed the NCAA by only one game. Let's be positive, not negative, in the letters you deem to print in Sports Viewpoint.
It may prove true that the "best" team in the West (UCLA) did go to the NIT. The performance of all West Coast teams in the NCAA tournament can be summed up in one word: phew .
Wooden Award Is Meant for Scholarship, Too
Unfortunately, the recent criticism of Chris Mullin's selection for this year's Wooden Award shows the poor memory of those who follow college basketball.
Years ago, John Wooden made it very clear that he would not allow his name to be used in connection with an award that would honor an athlete solely on his basketball achievements. The award was established so that the best student-athlete would be the recipient. This took into consideration Wooden's desire that an individual be recognized for his academic, as well as athletic, accomplishments. If interviews are any indication, Pat Ewing has a long way to go before meeting all the requirements.
Jazz Coach Layden Hits the Right Note
Thank you, Jazz Coach Frank Layden, for giving professional sports such a good name. The name? Sportsmanship!
MARY M. MOORE
Optimism Blooms Again, So It Must Be Spring
I don't need a calender to tell me it's spring. A daily glance at the baseball reports from Florida and Arizona gives it away.
Untested rookies are labeled as can't-miss prospects . . . older players claim they feel better than they have in years . . . hitters coming off bad years have corrected flaws in their swings . . . pitchers have added a new pitch to their repertoire . . . everybody is down to their best playing weight . . . managers are bubbling over with optimism.
If spring training talk translated into autumn results we can expect to have 26 pennant-winning teams, dozens of .350 hitters and 30-game winners, and at least 250 comeback-player-of-the-year winners,
If That's His Criteria, Reggie Will Never Quit
It's nice to hear Reggie Jackson will play for the Angels again in 1986 unless he's "an embarrassment to the club or himself" in '85.
If a three-year average of .234, 113 hits and 142 strikeouts for a $975,000 salary hasn't already embarrassed him, he'll probably play forever.
Letters should be addressed to Sports Viewpoint, Sports Department, Los Angeles Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles, 90053. They should be kept as brief as possible and are subject to condensation. They must include a signature and a valid mailing address.