Just once I would like to read an article about a Philadelphia
team and not see a reference to how we booed Santa Claus.
--A. SOLL, Elkins Park, Pa.
SHAME IN WICHITA
I was horrified to read about Wichita State pitcher Ben
Christensen's hitting Anthony Molina while he was standing 30
feet away from the plate before the first pitch of a game
(SCORECARD, May 17). I wondered where Christensen could have
learned to act so disgustingly. After reading the comments made
by the Wichita State coaches about the incident, I know.
SCOTT VAN NESS, St. John's, Antigua
It's a close contest as to who is more boorish: coaches Brent
Kemnitz and Gene Stephenson, with their chillingly callous
attitudes, or Christensen, who doesn't have the guts to let his
pitching do the talking.
JOHN SIMPSON, Charlotte
June 27, 1999
Pete Rose was banned from baseball for betting. Al Campanis was
forced to resign from the Dodgers for making a racist remark.
Now beanballer Christensen is looking forward to a bright
future. What's wrong with this picture?
GREGORY CARR, Cornelius, N.C.
Christensen belongs in jail, but instead he'll probably be
rewarded with a huge contract by the Chicago Cubs as their
first-round draft choice and forget that he nearly ruined
another man's life.
ERIC HIRATA, Gifu, Japan
What was intriguing about Grant Wahl's article (Holy War, May
17) was the history and the people behind the Rangers-Celtic
rivalry. The game was of secondary interest.
ALI NAHVI, Los Osos, Calif.
As a U.S. Air Force master sergeant stationed in Great Britain,
I enjoy watching all of the soccer matches--on television from
the safety of my own home.
ANTONIO JOHNSON, Mildenhall, England
Soccer is a terrific game, and both the Catholic and Protestant
faiths reflect the teachings of Jesus. But what the lads in the
bleachers of the Old Firm have to do with any of the above is a
mystery to me. Neither church condones stabbings and beatings.
It might be interesting to see how many of these "religious"
fanatics actually worship in the churches with which they are
STEFAN ULSTEIN, Bellevue, Wash.
I liked the article on Donovan McNabb, especially the emphasis
placed on his maturity and poise (Head Games, May 17). I think
Philadelphia fans will find him to be a superb quarterback. His
experience as a starter in 45 regular-season games in Syracuse's
top-notch program will aid his transition to the NFC East.
GREG GIRSCH, Chicago
McNabb is the kind of player who could return the Eagles'
offense to the exciting anything-can-happen days of Randall
Cunningham--and the fans boo him? It crushed me to see such a
talented and classy athlete go to such an undeserving city. But
what do I care? I'm a lifelong Redskins fan who's certain that
Philly will find some way to screw up its relationship with this
DAVID PARKS, Los Angeles
Philadelphia sports fans are some of the most passionate and
loyal in the country. When we boo, it is out of frustration and
disgust. However, we go to the games and support the teams.
McNabb, if he lives up to the expectations of the coaches, will
find that fans will support him, and that will make the
draft-day booing a distant memory.
MARK ABRAHAM, Bala Cynwyd, Pa.
JUNIOR'S FAN CLUB
It's unfortunate that many of us who love the game of baseball
but do not reside in the state of Washington or subscribe to
satellite baseball programming do not get to appreciate the
day-to-day performance of the Seattle Mariners' Ken Griffey Jr.
(Joltin' Junior, May 17). Tom Verducci has succinctly summarized
the significance of Junior. I recall the chills I felt as I
watched Rose break Cobb's record, Ripken break Gehrig's and
McGwire break Maris's, and I await the moment 11 or 12 years
from now when I see Griffey hit the 756th home run of his career.
R.B. PEMBER, Atlanta
Many baseball fans already knew Griffey as a quality hitter. Now
everyone can also understand Junior's exceptional fielding
ability. Griffey is the epitome of what a professional athlete
should be: consistent, fan-oriented and family-centered.
CASEY DOROUGH, Fresno
I was thoroughly impressed with Verducci's article on Junior,
and one number stood out above all the rest: 312 feet. That is
the distance down the rightfield line in the Kingdome. In my
view, the Kingdome should be getting more credit for Griffey's
home run count than he does.
LEO LAWYER, Pasadena
[Cheers]* Jeers for Reilly
I just finished [laughing at] Rick Reilly's [hatchet job] column
on the Detroit Red Wings-Colorado Avalanche playoff series (THE
LIFE OF REILLY, May 17). How [pathetic] clever! It just goes to
show, a [bitter little man] sportswriter can be as [psychotic]
excited about this [one-sided beating] matchup as the everyday
hockey fan. Thanks to the defending champion Red Wings and the
[Nordiques] Avalanche for the best [bloodfest] rivalry in pro
sports. [Much pity] Many thanks to Reilly, whose [TV commercial
with Rebecca Romijn-Stamos] insights really made me [sick] think.
STEPHANIE HARRIS, Philadelphia
*[bracketed text has been struck out]
I was appalled by Reilly's article about the Red Wings and their
fans. Reilly sounded like a whining Colorado fan who can't
decide if he hates Detroit because of its "wussy boy star" or
because it showed "aggressive behavior against the Avalanche."
Rough play is part of the sport, and Colorado dishes out as much
as it takes.
TRAVIS VERAGHEN, Powers, Mich.
Rick Reilly has written what I know every sportswriter wants to
write about the Red Wings.
--JARED AUTREY, Albuquerque
Let us not forget what started this rivalry: Claude Lemieux's
heartless breaking of Detroit center Kris Draper's jaw. You've
shown that Colorado, not Detroit, is the place with no class.
MICHAEL TRUDEAU, St. Clair Shores, Mich.
I have always brought my SPORTS ILLUSTRATED to school to have my
class read it. Now I have another way of using your magazine--as
an example of how to bring writing alive. I can't wait to have
my students read Reilly's column to see how important the choice
of words is. I will encourage them to have a go at copying his
PAM LEWIS, Glenwood Springs, Colo.
All I can say is thank you to Reilly. I hadn't laughed that hard
in my life.
CHRISTIAN KLOBERDANZ, Grand Junction, Colo.
Pennington's the Man
Louisville's Chris Redman is a fine quarterback with nice stats
(INSIDE THE NFL, May 24), but anyone who saw last December's
Motor City Bowl at the Silverdome in Pontiac knows that the guy
from Marshall, Chad Pennington (above), is better. Pennington
led the Thundering Herd to a convincing 48-29 victory over the
Cardinals. In the process he outplayed Redman, throwing for 411
yards and four touchdowns to Redman's 336 yards and one score.
Pennington could very well be the best quarterback in Division I
SCOTT GILLESPIE, Bowling Green, Ohio