May 14, 1988
When it became known that an NHL coach had screamed at and allegedly pushed a referee, I waited for the eventual Scott Ostler column denigrating the violence in hockey. Ostler's hockey columns are legendary among fans. His lack of knowledge is exceeded solely by the paucity of factual information. Tuesday's column was no exception. Granted, attacking Ostler's column is like walking into an unguarded bank vault: There's so much to choose from and it's so damn easy. NHL President John Ziegler is soft on violence as Ostler states, but not because of ignorance.
December 27, 1987
EDITOR'S NOTE: These letters represent many of the best received by The Times in 1987, and reflect the leading issues and events discussed in Viewpoint during that period. Scott Ostler says that the Los Angeles Marathon drew 1.4 million spectators. Allowing 18 inches per spectator, they would have had to be lined up 7 1/2 deep on both sides of the street for 26.2 miles. 1.4 million? More like 400,000. ROBERT L. PIERCE Thousand Oaks
September 5, 1987
Can't Scott Ostler and your sports department find a better way to write columns and report stories other than making sarcastic jokes about them? Poking fun at the fact that N.Y. Giant football players are being stricken with cancer "at an alarming and unexplainable rate," and the possibility that the area around the Meadowlands has something to do with it is, in my opinion, poor taste. Until now, I've become accustomed to a higher class of reporting from your newspaper. Two people have died and two others are sick.
August 22, 1987
Scott Ostler must think we readers are awfully naive if we are supposed to swallow his suggestion that the Dodger front office is somehow responsible for Fernando Valenzuela's "overworked" arm and mediocre record this season. Most ordinary folks know that anytime Fernando wants to hide away and miss a turn he could do so and no one, from O'Malley on down, would say boo. The Dodger organization may not be great humanitarians, but they know how to nurse their prime asset. Mr. V. has "handle with care" written all over him. BILL RETCHIN La Quinta
June 20, 1987
An outstanding facet of the NBA finals was the class act of the two head coaches. I'm glad to see this fact didn't escape Scott Ostler. The coaches are not the name of the game--the players are. For once, we were spared the antics of the showboat egocentrics who tend to forget that axiom. Pat Riley and K. C. Jones left their indelible mark on this great series by displaying intelligent and distinguished leadership which is such a departure from the ranting and raving to which we are constantly exposed.
May 23, 1987
For some time I have been reading the sports page in an effort to at least become aware of what is going on in sports so I can communicate with my husband to some degree when he gets all excited about a certain team or players. I have to say that reading the columns of Mike Downey and Scott Ostler have really made reading this "foreign" section of the paper enjoyable. Thanks to both of these gentlemen for making my quest for sports knowledge a little less painful. LINDA FERNANDEZ Downey
March 28, 1987
Lanny R. Middings' criticism of Scott Ostler's contention that Babe Ruth was the greatest baseball player of all time (Viewpoint, March 21) and Middings' own contention that Ty Cobb was the greatest are both off the mark. To put it kindly. The most knowledgeable baseball person I can think of is Bill James, author of the "Historical Baseball Abstract." In it, he wrote: "If one does not wish to assert some particular point, but wishes only to identify the greatest player who ever lived, one is drawn almost unavoidably to the conclusion that it was George Ruth.
March 21, 1987
In his March 9 column, Scott Ostler perpetuates the myth by stating "Babe Ruth . . . not only the greatest baseball player of all time . . . " Ostler, who was not even around when Ruth was playing, dogmatically accepts the lie that the fat, dissipated slob from Baltimore was the "greatest of all time." Knowledgeable baseball people know who the greatest was: Ty Cobb. No argument. Wise up, Scott. LANNY R. MIDDINGS San Ramon
March 7, 1987
Scott Ostler says that the marathon on Sunday drew 1.4 million spectators. Allowing 18 inches per spectator, they would have had to be lined up 7 1/2 deep on both sides of the street for 26.2 miles. 1.4 million? More like 400,000. ROBERT L. PIERCE Thousand Oaks