Letters

December 29, 2003

LINE KINGS

When I read No Pain, No Gain (Dec. 8), I had butterflies in my
stomach. I just finished my senior season of high school
football, and playing on the offensive line is tough. We check
after a game to see who has the most paint from the other team on
his helmet. My team's running back had 203 yards rushing in our
state championship game. To me, that's a compliment. We're proud
when our quarterback finishes the game with a clean jersey and
our backs walk away smiling. To those who think linemen are big,
fat, dumb mammals: Bring it!
DANIEL HARTSELL, Albemarle, N.C.

Now my son, a single-wing center for his 95-pound team, can
replace the Brett Favre poster in his room.
REANNE DUNN, Vienna, Va.

I'm a high school offensive line coach, and all my players will
be getting this article. You did a superb job of recognizing that
we are an elite fraternity of men. I especially appreciate the
irony of defensive linemen going nuts about making one play after
being continually stymied. Thanks for explaining both the
technical and pride factors of playing the offensive line.
JEREMY BRADEN, Onawa, Iowa

A LEFTY'S LEGACY

I hope that Roger Clemens, Pedro Martinez and every other
cowardly beanball practitioner reads Roger Kahn's tribute to the
great Warren Spahn (Scorecard, Dec. 8). Spahn's refusal to throw
at batters shows he was man enough to play by the rules.
Intentionally throwing at hitters is gutless and dishonorable,
adjectives that will never be associated with Warren Spahn.
STEVE COSTELLO
Levittown, N.Y.

TOYS IN THE ATTIC

Steve Rushin's Toys Were Us (AIR AND SPACE, Dec. 8) reminds me of
just how unrealistic, simpleminded and tremendously fun all our
games were. If we wanted our game to be played in snowy
conditions, we didn't scroll down a Game Conditions menu, we
simply took our table hockey game out to the patio and really
played the game in the snow.
STEVE SCHULZ, Lake Geneva, Wis.

Forty years ago when my two brothers and I were gloriously
engulfed in Strat-O-Matic baseball, every game was a sellout,
there was never a rainout, and the only time a game was postponed
was when Mom called out, "Dinner's ready," and we had to clear
the table.
JON WILLIAMS, Fort Smith, Ark.

Thanks for validating my midlife crisis. My 2003 binge of buying
the games of my childhood can now be excused. It was certainly
cheaper than buying a sports car.
CHRIS WAGNER, Syracuse, N.Y.

CURT ANSWERS

It's amazing what a little computer wizardry can do for a photo
(Now Pitching for Boston ..., Dec. 8). The illusion of Curt
Schilling in a Red Sox uniform atop the mound at Fenway seems so
real, right down to what looks to be an uninterested Manny
Ramirez in leftfield.
ROBERT CARROLL, Plymouth, Mass.

It's blasphemous that a man who named his son Gehrig has joined
the Red Sox!
HENRY GETTENBERG, Madison, Conn.

JAZZED

When I read that SI projected coach Jerry Sloan and the Utah Jazz
to end up in last place this year (NBA SCOUTING REPORTS, Oct.
27), it was pretty disheartening. Of course, we Jazz fans are
ecstatic about the surprising play of Jerry's Kids (The Jazz Has
a Brand-new Beat, Dec. 8), but we're also ecstatic that SI
swallowed its pride and did a great feature article.
CHRIS LARSEN, Layton, Utah

ST. LOUIS BLUES

Rick, great article on Kurt Warner (The Life of Reilly, Dec. 8).
Does it make you wonder how fast you would be replaced if you hit
a dry spell? It sure makes me think about it in terms of myself.
As much as I love sports, I hate the way we treat the good guys.
Tell Kurt I am one St. Louis fan who hopes he gets the chance to
prove himself again. Here or wherever.
ARNOLD SUSSMAN, St. Charles, Mo.

Warner is getting $9 million a year to do virtually nothing.
Personally, I'd be happy to suffer such a cruel twist of fate.
JEFFREY H. KAPLAN, St. Charles, Ill.

There is nothing more important in one's life than character.
Warner should be treated with respect and not criticism, but,
hey, this is sports, right?
ALICE ERICKSON, Madison, Wis.

RIGHT STUFF

I realize we live in a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately society,
but I believe Albert Chen may have been overdoing it a bit when
he wrote "rightfield in the Bronx has been a black hole for
years" (Spin Doctoring, Dec. 8). The Yankees recently had Paul
O'Neill patrolling right field for nine seasons (1993-2001),
during which time they won four World Series. O'Neill not only
contributed 185 HRs and 858 RBIs and had one of the best
rightfield arms in baseball, but he was also a leader on and off
the field. I'm sure what Mr. Chen meant to say is that leftfield
in the Bronx had been a black hole for years--until Hideki
Matsui. Please correct this mistake before O'Neill comes to your
office and takes a couple of swings at your water cooler.
PAUL NANOS, Farmington, Conn.

COLOR PHOTO: SIMON BRUTY (COVER) COLOR PHOTO: ROB TRINGALI JR./SPORTSCHROME UPTOWN GUY O'Neill (above) was a Yankees stalwart.

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