Gary Smith resurrected the baseball fan in me with the most
entertaining article since George Plimpton scouted Sidd Finch.
This is an article from the Aug. 31, 1998 issue
FOLLOW THE LEADERS
It was with great interest that I read Gary Smith's account of
the Mark McGwire-Sammy Sosa-Ken Griffey Jr. home run battle, for
I too am a victim (Home Run Fever, Aug. 3). Big Mac's home run
number 42 in St. Louis bounced off my chest so hard that it left
me with a large bruise and a sore rib that took more than a week
to heal. I have since dubbed it McRib.
ROBERT HEINZ, Hattiesburg, Miss.
What a blast! Gary Smith's 4 for 4 plus John Biever's amazing
shot of your intrepid reporter celebrating with his bleacher
pals: Now that's real Powerball.
BOYD FELLOWS, Sturgeon Bay, Wis.
Of the three ballparks Smith visited, he chose to be negative
only toward Tropicana Field. He called our domed field
artificial, implied that our fans are heartless, and yet he
found no problem with fans' throwing beer cups in Chicago. I
don't know if you have spent any time in Florida during the
summer, but I'll keep my air-conditioned, out-of-the-rain
Tropicana Field. We may not be the craziest fans, but given time
to get over our shock of finally enjoying major league ball, I
believe we will be as loud and supportive as any city in the
TIM PULHAM, St. Petersburg, Fla.
I wish to express my objection and serious disappointment that
you would allow Smith to use the name of Christ as an expletive.
For many people the name of Christ is used only with great
reverence and in a context of respect.
LOUIS R. GARAVENTE, Lakewood, Pa.
Drew Henson will represent both the University of Michigan and
the New York Yankees with pride (Golden Boy, Aug. 3). His
remarkable talents will be fun to watch both on the college
gridiron and the professional baseball diamond for years to come.
MICHAEL RICAURTE, Evanston, Ill.
About the only superlative that Leigh Montville didn't include in
his article about golden boy Henson was that he walked across
JERRY H. GREGORY, Annandale, Va.
Thanks for the article on the basketball world championship
(Dirty Dozen, Aug. 3). I consider myself a big NBA fan and was
disappointed when I found out that the best players wouldn't be
representing my country. After reading your story, though, I'm
glad that we put the best team on the court.
CHUCK PETRUCCIONE, Waterbury, Conn.
When the team that is representing the U.S. in Athens is
referred to as the Dirty Dozen, it is degrading not only to the
team but also to the U.S. The players who were in Athens were
not there to promote a shoe deal or gamble away more money in
one night than many Americans make in a year. They were there to
represent their country with pride, honor and bravery, something
those other so-called basketball players chose not to do.
OSCAR AQUIRRE, Bacliff, Texas
Phil Jackson made his decision (Who Is Tim Floyd? Aug. 3). Jerry
Krause made his decision. Both did so, I believe, in their best
interests. I cannot believe that a decision by Michael Jordan
not to play for a coach like Tim Floyd could be considered in
the best interests of anyone.
DAVID HESSE, Eau Claire, Wis.
Floyd had better have elephant-thick skin. Once the inferno
begins, he'll feel the heat from all sides. Good luck, Tim, but
you'll need more than that.
LYLE CAZEL, Glenview, Ill.
The story on Floyd was another example of why African-Americans
and others of color have a difficult time getting their feet in
the door. Upon reading Floyd's letter regarding a coaching
position, Don Haskins of UTEP was about to throw Floyd's letter
away when in Haskins' words "my eye fell on the third line." Per
Floyd, "You might know my dad, Lee Floyd (former player at UTEP
and coach at Southern Miss)." Historically minorities have not
benefited from this instant credibility or "halo effect." Maybe
Floyd can coach in the NBA; maybe not. The point is that if the
good ol' boy network had not been in place, he may not have
gotten the initial and now golden opportunity to coach the Bulls.
MIKE HARTMAN, Plano, Texas
It was long overdue to see strength coaches get some of the
credit they deserve for the on-field success most often
attributed to great recruiting and superior coaching (Power
Play, July 27). But I was disappointed there was no mention of
Northwestern's Larry Lilja and Colorado's E.J. (Doc) Kreis. They
were integral parts of the meteoric rises of both schools to
national prominence, helping to make possible the "miracles"
worked by Gary Barnett and Bill McCartney.
Captain, 1995 Northwestern Football Team Chicago
Anytime the topic of strength and conditioning surfaces, it
should not happen without the mention of Ohio State's Dave
Kennedy. He is the architect of a program that in the 1990s is
responsible for a dozen first-round draft picks, including two
No. 1 selections, and a Heisman Trophy winner. Many of these
multimillionaires annually return to Columbus for guidance and
instruction by the man they know simply as Coach K.
CRAIG TOMKO, Atlanta