It's about time somebody decided to get the drugs out of baseball (The Commissioner Gels Tough, May 20). Hats off to Peter Ueberroth! But why did it take so long? Also, Boston pitcher Bob Stanley shouldn't feel the way he does about drug testing. I am a bartender, and having to take a lie-detector test (and passing) didn't bother me, so why not cooperate. Bob?
West Palm Beach, Fla.
That was a splendid piece on commissioner Peter Ueberroth. Let's hope his courageous and timely acts inspire his counterpart in pro football to blow the whistle on the NFL's problem. Ueberroth is doing the whole nation a favor. More power to him.
ROBERT FARRIS THOMPSON
New Haven, Conn.
If the police want to search my house for drugs, they need a warrant. Shouldn't Peter Ueberroth be required to have at least that much legal backing before searching the bodies of baseball employees? If the police or prosecutors ask me if I use drugs, I can refuse to answer because the law protects me from self-incrimination. Shouldn't baseball's employees enjoy the same protection from tests that could cost them their reputations and their jobs?
Tyrants always justify their actions on the grounds of necessity. We cannot afford to be free, they argue; it's too dangerous. A major drug scandal would seriously damage baseball, cutting into the gate and the TV money, and that is far more important than freedom. Or is it?
June 2, 1985
CHEMICAL REACTIONS (CONT.)
In your special report concerning the use of anabolic steroids by athletes (The Steroid Explosion, May 13), you failed to mention that there have been two medically documented cases of liver cancer associated with the use of anabolic steroids in otherwise healthy athletes. One of the two athletes is deceased, and the other has had two-thirds of his liver removed through surgery.
WYLIE L. OVERLY, M.D.
In your piece on steroid dealer Charles Radler, you refer to a 1983 CBS Evening News story that you say "mentioned" Radler. In fact, our story was the result of an investigation of Radler's operation, and it gave national attention to the apparently illegal distribution of steroids to virtually anyone who cared to call.
Radler told you that our story caused his business to "zoom"; what he didn't tell you was that our story also caused Pennsylvania authorities to open the investigation that led to the end of Radler's business, and to his indictment.
ROME J. HARTMAN
Producer, CBS News
THE EWING LOTTERY
I would love to admit to being a Knicks fan again, but before I get tickets, please tell me that Morin Bishop's story on Patrick Ewing, (Live From New York, It's St. Patrick's Day, May 20) is not another Sidd Finch tale. To a Knicks fan, it's too good to be true.
New Haven, Conn.
Patrick and Bernard—wow!
Dell Rapids, S. Dak.
As fans of the Boston Celtics, we can honestly state that the Patrick Ewing cover scared the hell out of us!
JOHN MCGOVERN JR.
ED KENNEDY III
North Quincy, Mass.
The Golden State Warriors got the short end of a very long stick when their rights to the NBA's first draft pick were abrogated by the NBA's new lottery system. Although we're not fans of the Warriors, we do favor fair treatment of teams and a balance of power in the NBA. The Warriors' future was shattered by the loss of Patrick Ewing to the undeserving New York Knicks. Golden State, which has been one of the NBA's doormats for the past several years, was robbed of a franchise player who could have put the team back on the road to success. We say no to New York and the NBA lottery.
A RUNNER'S HEART
As a third-year medical student who runs periodically, I was very much interested in Dan Levin's account The Telltale Heart (May 20). This interest was enhanced by the fact that I have just recently completed hearing a series of cardiology lectures. I learned that one must be skeptical about the reliability of any tests revealing heart disease in an athletic young man who doesn't smoke, have high blood pressure or a high cholesterol level. Therefore, it seems unconscionable to label someone, such as the author of the story, as having heart disease on the basis of these tests. In such a case, angiography is justifiable 1) to confirm heart disease and allow planning for subsequent therapy (unlikely) or 2) to rule out heart disease and allow the patient to resume a normal life without any anxieties or stigma attached (likely).
I fully identify with Dan Levin's experiences. I am also a middle-aged runner who works in the exercise business, and I began to question not only my invincibility but also my credibility because of Jim Fixx's death. I am reminded of this every time I have a pain high in the abdomen or my heart goes "floomp." The irony is that regular runners have a reduced risk for sudden death, yet they are highly concerned about dying. The death of Fixx has magnified this irony.
The lesson to be learned here by exercisers is one of perspective, not invincibility. The marathons and thousands of miles of training are not for nought. Thank you, Dan, for your runner's insight into a frightening dilemma.
NORMS M. RUSSELL, ED. D.
As a longtime SI fan, marathon runner and cardiologist, I was appalled by Dan Levin's article. This is a tasteless, neurotic diatribe by someone who clearly dislikes and distrusts the medical profession. Exertional chest pain in a 46-year-old male—even an athlete—needs to be taken very seriously. Levin was appropriately advised to have the definitive test, a coronary arteriogram (very routine with less than 1:1,000 risk of death or major complication) after "noninvasive" tests were abnormal. If he had initially followed this advice, he would have saved himself weeks of anguish and worry, his insurance company thousands of dollars, several physicians the frustration of dealing with a hostile patient and, perhaps more important, your readers and all cardiac patients the disservice of an emotionally charged and slanted view of cardiac testing and disease.
ALAN S. BRENNER, M.D.
My thanks to Jaime Diaz for a most understanding profile of a most misunderstood young woman, Hana Mandlikova (Hana Is Getting It All Together, May 20). Although she is still an enigma on the court, she no longer seems that much of a mystery off it.
As a longtime fan of Mandlikova's, I had always been curious about her "other side." Was her beauty as a tennis player a reflection of her inner beauty as a person? Was she as spoiled and disrespectful as she was made out to be? Well, aside from her occasional bouts of moodiness and irrationality—which prove her to be as human as the rest of us—Diaz's piece reveals Hana to be a nice, bright, insightful person.
If seeing things in gray tones is difficult for Mandlikova, here's one fan who believes that she looks and sounds just fine in her own iconoclastic black and white.
JAN RICHARD GORLIN
I appreciated Jaime Diaz's article on Hana Mandlikova. This fabulous tennis player possesses more physical grace and beauty, not to mention awesome shot-making ability, than anyone else in women's tennis today.
Here's one fan who hopes she does get her act together permanently. And yes, Ginger Rogers, Hana does have the most beautiful legs I too have ever seen!
One of the responsibilities of public journalism in a free country is to educate, a job too often given only token nods by the media. Your magazine has long been aware, however, and continues to make the country aware (SCORECARD, May 13), of the dangers to our environment arising from the irresponsible and indiscriminate uses of our natural heritage by profit-oriented special-interest groups. Through SPORTS ILLUSTRATED I have learned a good deal about the causes and effects of acid rain, the water problems in Florida and California, the deterioration of forests and wildlife in Montana and Colorado, and the politics that have contributed to the ongoing destruction.
I realize that many people have rebuked you by asking, "What has this to do with sports?" Allow me to point out in answer that roughly 3,000 men participate in the "big four" professional team sports, while tens of millions of people hike, jog, camp, fish, swim, canoe, sail, ski and hunt in our tremendously diverse and beautiful outdoors. Thank you for recognizing that sport is not just an activity between two teams, in a stadium, with uniforms and a ball and thousands of spectators. If we destroy our outdoors, we will have destroyed our sports.
CHRIS W. GRAUL
ASHLEY IN ACTION
We took great joy in reading N. Brooks Clark's SPOTLIGHT (May 13) on Ashley Whippet. It brought back some good memories, especially of his performance during that Monday Night Baseball game. There are a lot of people out here who don't realize how important that dog was.
Our only regret was that there was no picture of Ashley in action. It would be nice if you could publish one for all the people who loved Ashley from afar.
•Here he is.—ED.
Letters should include the name, address and home telephone number of the writer and be addressed to The Editor, SHORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020.