Damn Yankees

How ironic that you put King George and his overpaid posse on
your 2003 Baseball Preview cover (March 31) yet pick the A's to
take it all. Like you, I'll take my small-market A's and their
small paychecks to go all the way.
John Chappell, Concord, Calif.

The 2002 season was tremendous for baseball. The Angels, Barry
Bonds and Randy Johnson had remarkable seasons, but instead of
focusing on one of their great feats for the cover, you show us
what is wrong with baseball. The Yankees--and other big-market
teams--continue to spend, while many other teams can't dream of
being competitive.
Jeffrey Lesserson
New York City

Being a Yankees fan, I noticed the absence of one of the most
colorful Yankees starters from the cover. Where was Boomer? I
have heard that David Wells has been mad at SI ever since you
guys called him fat (Heavy Duty, July 10, 2000). What's the big
deal? The Babe never worried about his big-boned persona. Maybe
next time you should tell Boomer there'll be a book signing after
the photo shoot.
Adam Fernsler, Lemont, Pa.

Vlad All Over

I'm pleasantly amazed by your astute pick of Vladimir Guerrero as
the No. 1-ranked skill position player (SI's Fantasy Baseball
Ratings, March 31). No matter the protestations of Bonds and
A-Rod fans, the truth is that Guerrero is the best player in the
game: a true star with a laser eye at the plate, a mammoth bat
and a cannon for an arm. Plus, the kid runs the bases the way
DiMaggio did in his prime.
Brandon Reische, Murfreesboro, Tenn.

Jack Strongarm

Kudos to Tom Verducci for The Ultimate Gamer (March 31). The
spotlight on Jack Morris was long overdue. If his 254 career
wins, 2,478 strikeouts and three World Series rings aren't enough
to qualify him for the Hall of Fame, how about being the dominant
and most dependable pitcher of his era?
Chris Hass Howell, Mich.

Your story on Morris has me seeing him in a more negative light.
Am I supposed to be impressed when he says, "Show me a good
loser, and I'll show you a loser"? Is that what he teaches his
children--bad sportsmanship? In sports, losing is inevitable. You
don't have to be happy about it, but you can still conduct
yourself with dignity and grace in the face of defeat. To me,
Morris's statement is nothing but a sign of immaturity. If he
couldn't handle losing, he shouldn't have been playing a game.
Gregg Roth, Locust Valley, N.Y.

Sports in a Time of War

Thank you, Rick Reilly, for sharing your letter to M. Sgt. Chris
Calkins (The Life of Reilly, March 31). My other half is over
there as well, and I send him all the SIs I get just so he and
his buddies can get their minds off what they're dealing with,
even if it's just for a few minutes. I know he will appreciate
the piece too.
Rachel Block, Surf City, N.C.

--SI is committed to sending 5,000 issues a week to military
personnel stationed in the Middle East.--ED.

Once again Reilly has eloquently captured my feelings and put
them into words. Because I'm such a big college hoops fan, this
time of year usually excites me more than my mom's home cooking,
but before reading Reilly's article, I felt the NCAA tournament
should have been postponed because of the war. However, if it
created even the slightest bit of joy for our troops overseas,
I'm glad it happened as scheduled. Despite Syracuse's winning the
trophy in New Orleans, we all know who our true national
champions are. Thank you to the men and women who are protecting
and serving so generously.
Dave Hoffman, Brookline, Mass.

While sports may be an afterthought to some, it is quite a
release for those of us defending freedom. Reilly's words were
heartfelt and meaningful. Anybody in the military who reads his
article will appreciate it. We--the U.S. military--will carry on
smartly because of Americans like you who support us.
PO Charles Johnson, USS Saipan

Giant Killers

I enjoyed Mark Beech's column on the recent NCAA wrestling
championships (INSIDE WRESTLING, March 31). Although it was
titled Ruled by Giants and included a chart on NCAA team
championships won by schools in Iowa and Oklahoma, the author
overlooked one of the great David versus Goliath stories in all
of college sports. In 1947, Cornell College, a tiny Methodist
school of fewer than 700 students located in Mount Vernon, Iowa,
won both the NCAA and AAU wrestling titles. (At that time there
were no divisions. All schools competed in one tournament.)
During the dual-meet season Cornell went 12-0-1, beating several
Big Ten schools and the service-academy teams. Members of that
squad wrestled in the Olympics, and others have coached in some
of the nation's top wrestling programs.
Bud Andrus, Minnetonka, Minn.


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