Letters

July 18, 1999

Leaving the Indianapolis Motor Speedway out of the top three is
questionable; leaving it out of the top 20 borders on insanity.
--ROB CLEVELAND, Leesburg, Ind.

Pride of the Yankees

It was great to read about the rich history of Yankee Stadium,
and the pictures were even better (This Old House, June 7). The
Gothic architecture served as an ideal backdrop for the many
memorable sporting events that were staged there. Unfortunately,
classic ballparks such as Fenway Park and Tiger Stadium will
soon be replaced by generic facsimiles that might look nice but
will have all the character of the local Wal-Mart.
JOHN EHRMANN, Waterford, Mich.

A week after Yankee Stadium was closed for renovations in 1973,
my cousin and I drove down to the old park. We happened to see a
bunch of old wooden seats piled behind a gate in rightfield. For
the $50 we paid to a guard, we bought two blue seats. When we
got back home, my uncle asked, "What are you guys going to do
with those pieces of junk?" Those seats may have been junk then,
but they are jewels today.
ALAN HAGUE New Milford, Conn.

I've been a firm believer that the best thing the Yankees could
do would be to move to a brand-new ballpark in New Jersey, which
would be easier for me to get to, would be in a safer area and
would draw more fans. After reading William Nack's article on
the history of the Stadium, I've changed my mind. It would be a
sad day in sports history if the Yanks were to move from this
hallowed ground.
BOB PANAZZOLO, Carteret, N.J.

HOME SWEET HOME

I was surprised by the absence of Ohio Stadium from your list
(Our Favorite Venues, June 7). Howard Dwight Smith designed it
after Rome's Colosseum and Pantheon, and its shape resembles the
Greek letter omega, or "O" for Ohio. The design won a gold medal
from the American Institute of Architects in 1921. Ohio Stadium
is older than Yankee Stadium and holds more fans.
ROBERT B. STEVENSON, Columbus, Ohio

The inclusion of Notre Dame Stadium and the Rose Bowl is more
interesting when you consider what's been excluded: the home of
the most storied college football program--Michigan Stadium.
DANNY MERCIER, Ann Arbor, Mich.

The greatest upset in college football was played there:
Hurricanes over Cornhuskers. The greatest pass in college
football was thrown there: Flutie's Hail Mary to beat Miami. The
greatest NFL playoff game was played there: Chargers over
Dolphins. The greatest season in NFL history was played there:
1972 Miami Dolphins. I was at the Orange Bowl and saw them all.
SCOTT M. ZAHLER, Atlanta

Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Neb., has been sold out for every
football game since the 1960s, despite its location in a state
with fewer than two million people. Where else can you see grown
men wearing red-and-white-striped bib overalls and corncob heads?
GREGG DOHMEN, Columbus, Neb.

I offer Richard Hoffer my seat in the last row (95) of Penn
State's Beaver Stadium to take in the spectacular view of Mount
Nittany, the blue-and-white uniforms, the black shoes, the
96,000 fans and Joe Paterno.
DION RUMSEY, New York City

The Pit and not Philadelphia's Palestra, home to the passions of
the country's best intracity series? The Big Five (Penn, St.
Joe's, Villanova, LaSalle and Temple) store some of their
greatest memories in those rafters. The Palestra is the gym's
gym. At least you didn't include Madison Square Garden.
JOHN TIDD, Morrisville, Pa.

How in the good name of responsible journalism can you leave
Madison Square Garden, "the world's most famous arena," off your
list?
JON FINK, Syracuse, N.Y.

I figured that since F.C. (Phog) Allen and Larry Brown coached
there, and since Wilt Chamberlain, Jo Jo White, Danny Manning
and Raef LaFrentz played there, Allen Field House would be among
your 20 favorite venues. But then I realized it's in Kansas.
KEDRIC WEBSTER, Sebring, Fla.

How could you ignore a clear blue sky overlooking a sun-drenched
crowd of 150,000 or so under the Twin Spires of Churchill Downs
on the first Saturday in May?
R. VAN YOUNG, Louisville

Augusta National a sporting venue? Rick Reilly has a better
chance of gracing the cover of your swimsuit issue than I do of
getting a ticket to the Masters at this Georgia landmark. With
most of your other venue selections, a fan at least has a
reasonable shot at gaining access.
TIM GROMAN, Sarasota, Fla.

Had you made your list five years ago, surely you would have
included Boston Garden, the Montreal Forum and Toronto's Maple
Leaf Gardens.
MARK HYLBAK, Marietta, Ga.

How could you overlook Tiger Stadium? I once had a reserved seat
down the first base line, and with George Brett standing in the
on-deck circle, I politely asked him how his hemorrhoids were
doing. Ninety feet away, the pitcher stepped off the rubber,
laughing. How's that for intimacy and acoustics?
JOE RAVIDA, Southgate, Mich.

SAMMY VERSUS MARK

The article on Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa showed me the reason
Sammy is the National League MVP (Power Couple, June 7). He
enjoys playing the game every day, unlike McGwire, who seems to
consider it a chore.
JOHN R. SWARTZ, Kenosha, Wis.

Tom Verducci wrote that since the fifth game of the 1998 season,
Sosa had outhomered McGwire 83-81. That's true, but during that
time Sosa had batted approximately 150 more times than McGwire.
NEIL GOODBRED, Livonia, Mich.

Verducci fell into the same trap as the rest of the media: using
Sosa's personality as the yardstick to measure McGwire's. Last
year we had a home run derby. This year we have a media derby.
The one who answers questions with the biggest smile wins.
MARY GLATZ, Manchester, Mo.

SALT OF THE EARTH

I just read Ivan Maisel's wonderful article about the Nutt
family (You've Got to Be Nutts, June 7). I grew up in Fordyce,
Ark., with Houston Sr. and briefly had Houston Jr. on my
football staff at Arkansas State. I was also the athletic
director at ASU when we hired Dickey as an assistant basketball
coach. The purpose of this letter is to mention Houston Sr.'s
father, Abb, who was amazing in his own right. Abb could not
hear or talk. He raised a large family. One of the ways Abb
provided for them was with his mule and wagon, from which he
sold firewood. As kids in Fordyce, we all rode in Abb's wagon.
My father, "Chink" Lacewell, used to load the Nutt family into
our old Chevy and take them to watch Houston play ball. I gained
a great deal of respect for Abb and his family through these
experiences. They prove that people can overcome physical
hardships with desire and hard work.
LARRY LACEWELL
Director of Scouting, Dallas Cowboys
Irving, Texas

DISAVOWING FAY

The article on the Donald Ross Society was unfortunate in that
the focus was on negative comments attributed to Michael Fay
rather than on the positive contributions the society has made
to golf in Donald Ross's name (Keepers of the Flame, June 14).
Mr. Fay's alleged statements are his own and do not necessarily
reflect the sentiments of the society's board of directors.
BARRY J. PALM, President
Donald Ross Society
Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

NEW MODEL

I want to thank Michael Bamberger for his article on golfer Jeff
Maggert's divorce and newfound life with fiancee Michelle Austin
(Fresh Start, June 14). One comment made by Mr. Maggert was
telling: "When you're 16, you're mostly interested in physical
attraction." Guess what, Jeff? You're still 16, and you are
still mostly interested in physical attraction. It was not
Michelle Austin's mind that got Maggert's attention.
RON THOMPSON, Greensboro, N.C.

Terrific article on the devotion of Maggert to his wife and two
kids. It seems as if we are supposed to "celebrate" Maggert's
divorce and subsequent trade-in of his wife for a younger,
perkier version.
LYNN RIZZO, Point Pleasant Beach, N.J.

FAMILY MAN FRED

Your article on Fred Couples showed me that some athletes still
have their priorities right (TEEING OFF, June 14). Too often an
athlete focuses too much energy on his career and not enough on
getting to know his children. Once his career is over, he works
on his relationship with his children, but it is too late. It's
good to know this won't happen with Freddie and his stepkids.
JEFF FUJA, Minneapolis

COLOR PHOTO: RICH CLARKSON JOHN BIEVER Augusta National is a tough venue to crack for sports fans wanting tickets to the Masters.

HIS FAVORITE VENUE

Hard to understand how you overlooked the L.A. Memorial
Coliseum. No other stadium in America has two Olympic Games, one
World Series, two Super Bowls and a presidential nomination
acceptance speech (John F. Kennedy's) on its resume. Five
Heisman Trophy winners played home games there. The Pope and
Billy Graham played the Coliseum, too. So did Jerry Garcia.
ANDY FURILLO, West Sacramento, Calif.

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)