If Joe Montana is singing Kansas City, Here I Come (Joe Goes, April 26), then San Francisco 49er owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr. must be singing What Kind of Fool Am I? DeBartolo should be ashamed of his last-minute antics to try to keep Montana in San Francisco. Joe deserves more (and come to think of it, so does Steve Young), and thanks to the Kansas City Chiefs, he will get it. We will miss Joe and wish him the best, unless, of course, the Chiefs meet the Niners in the Super Bowl.
I'm not a Kansas City fan, but you portrayed Montana's going to Kansas City as though he were an ACC basketball coach going back to high school ball. The Chiefs might not match the 49ers when it comes to receivers, but J.J. Birden, Fred Jones and Tim Barnett can hold their own. And what about the backfield? Were you suggesting that 260 pounds of Christian Okoye can't block like Tom Rathman? And that Harvey Williams can't do "spin moves" like Ricky Watters?
Joe, it's not going to be as bad as they say.
Bo Is Back
Terrific article on Bo Jackson (Hip, Hip, Hooray! April 19), but I have to take my hat off to Greg Ourednick (right), the 16-year-old who snared the home run ball that Jackson hit into the rightfield bleachers on his first official swing with an artificial hip. Knowing that Jackson wanted to keep the ball, Ourednick returned it to him. Despite all the negatives associated with baseball these days, this young man exemplifies what the game is all about: the fans.
I am 37 years old and had my left hip replaced five years ago. In hip-replacement surgery, the muscles are pulled aside, not cut, to obtain access to the femur and hip socket, and there is minimal cutting of other connecting tissues. After six months or so the patient can't really feel any difference between a natural hip and the replacement. Bo is a fantastic athlete, and I wish him success, but please stop implying that only Bo Jackson could play baseball after having hip-replacement surgery.
The Dallas North Stars
Leigh Montville's article exposing North Star owner Norman Green (Spleen for Green, April 19) accurately described the sentiments of livid Minnesota hockey fans. Green seemed like a savior when he bought the team only three years ago and promised to keep the Stars in Minnesota forever. He sure fooled us.
As a hockey fan, I was disappointed to see the North Stars leave Minnesota. As a participant in a marketing campaign aimed at increasing the team's ticket sales, I was not surprised.
Six years ago I hit the streets and phone lines to get fans excited about the North Stars. Armed with snappy literature touting the appointment of Herb Brooks as coach, I set off on what I thought would be the easiest sale in town. After all, this was Herbie! St. Paul native! Coach of those great Minnesota Golden Gopher squads! The man who had coached the U.S. to the 1980 Olympic Miracle on Ice! Talk about easy! Talk about exciting!
Talk about exasperating. Day after day I was met with huge yawns and a community-wide chorus of "Who cares?" I quickly learned how fickle fans can be. Win and they love you; lose and they forget you.
I feel confident that the NHL will one day return to the Twin Cities. I hope the community will then embrace it as warmly as it did the NBA when it returned in 1989. (Psst! Hey, Timberwolves, you had better start winning!)
I take comfort in knowing that we Minnesotans have finally gotten even with Dallas for the Herschel Walker trade. I feel a little bit guilty for sending Norman Green to Dallas, but paybacks are hell.
While your article may have painted a realistic picture of the anguish Minnesota fans are feeling because they have lost their hockey team, it drew an unfair and inaccurate picture of Norm Green. I knew and worked with Green before the move and have followed the negotiations that led to the Stars' relocating in Dallas. Anyone close to Green knows how much he wanted things to work out so that the team could stay in Minnesota and how much of a financial drain the team had become.
Surely SI must know that nobody these days buys a pro sports team because of greed. The financial risks are too great. You did point out that Green tried several avenues to enhance the value of the franchise, but they all required help from other parties, and that help was not forthcoming.
We are thrilled that Green and the North Stars are coming to Dallas. I feel sorry for the Minnesota fans, but I feel especially sorry that their disappointment has turned to unfair vilification of a very good man, a great hockey fan and a man who still has nothing but good things to say about Minnesota and Minnesota fans.
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