Swings, Spins and GooglysOh dear!Richard O'Mara's Sept. 9...


September 21, 1992

Swings, Spins and Googlys

Oh dear!

Richard O'Mara's Sept. 9 "Dirty Cricket?" story completely misses the point about "swing" bowling.

By utilizing a certain technique, swing bowlers make the ball move into or away from a batsman before it hits the ground. Such balls are called in-swingers or out-swingers.

Mr. O'Mara's description of a ball turning sharply after hitting the ground refers to "spin" bowling, a technique employed by spin bowlers.

The controversy regarding England's recent games with Pakistan concerns a ball moving -- swinging -- so late that it raised suspicion among England players and commentators.

A new ball swings a lot; it swings more in humid or damp conditions. To get it to swing, one side of the red leather ball is rubbed to a shine; the other side of the ball is left rough. (That's why swing bowlers have unsightly red stains on the inside leg of their white flannels!)

Wasim Akram and Wagar Younis were getting the ball to swing after it had been used for some time. An old ball is not supposed to swing unless, for instance, the seam of the ball is raised or damaged in some way. (A ball is used for a certain number of overs -- six balls to one over -- before it is exchanged for a new one).

An aerodynamic study on why a cricket ball behaves the way it does is now being conducted by an English university. Whether this throws any light on the current controversy or not remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, Richard O'Mara might like, as follow-up, to delve into the delights of spin-bowlers who serve up slow off-breaks and leg-breaks, with an occasional googly thrown in.For the purist, this is true art.

Cricket a complicated game? Naw!

Rodney Calver


The writer is chairman of the Annapolis Cricket Club. At dismissal time on the first day of school, my 15-year-old daughter and her classmates were greeted by several members of ACT-UP/Baltimore, a local AIDS activist group.

My daughter declined their offer of free condoms but did accept a brochure which contained several facts concerning "safe sex" practice. This information was accompanied by a number of crude cartoons and four-letter words, presumably because ACT-UP believes that real communication with today's youth requires raunchiness.

But as I see it, this crudity reflects an underlying contempt for youth, since it implies they are incapable of responding to more dignified appeals.

ACT-UP defines itself as a coalition "united in anger," which may explain its penchant for scatological reference. But such feeling is hardly a basis for sensitive discussion of an issue as complex as human sexuality.

I suggested to my daughter that she seek reliable information elsewhere.

Howard Bluth


Bird in Hand

It seems to me that most every time Bill Clinton suggests plans to better the country, President Bush announces he'll do the same thing or something better.

Never has an old saying been more true than now: "A bird in the hand is worth more than two in the bush." Even Rush Limbaugh, who acts and talks like Mr. Bush's top shill, can't contradict the old bird saying.

C. Newton Weaver Sr.

Ocean City

Who Is Causing Confusion about Abortion?

Your editorial staff has done its readership a regrettable disservice in printing "Confusing the Abortion Issue" (Editorial, Sept. 13).

The editorial alleges that those who oppose Maryland's abortion bill are deliberately muddying the waters of discussion by framing the debate as one of women's safety, parental notification and medical regulations, and further alleges that the "real" issue is "whether abortion could again become a criminal act."

These assertions are at considerable variance with the facts. The truth is that if the abortion bill (SB162) is rejected by the voters in the Nov. 3 referendum, abortion will by no means become a criminal act.

Roe vs. Wade will continue to keep abortion legal, and even if that ruling is overturned, Maryland would return to a 1968 law that allowed abortion up to the point of viability for a variety of reasons (including the broadly-interpreted "health of the mother") and thereafter to save the life of the mother. It also discouraged abortion-as-birth control -- measures which are approved by the majority of Americans.

The editorial claims that under SB162, the abortion industry will be well-regulated for safety in Maryland. This is plainly false.

While SB162 does indeed allow for the adoption of safety regulations, it mandates none (except that the abortionist must be a licensed physician -- of any kind: podiatrist, ophthalmologist, what-have-you). None currently exists in our state.

The price for such risky legislation has already been paid by Marylanders. CBS' "60 Minutes" in April, 1991 detailed how women were maimed and permanently disabled (and one actually killed) in an unregulated abortion clinic in Prince George's County.

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