Letters

October 05, 2003

GRAVITY GAMES

The cover picture of the Buffalo Bills' porcine Sam Adams
choogling downfield on opening day (Sept. 15) illustrates the
sumofication of the NFL--the National Fatball League--whose credo
has become: Life begins at 300. Pity the knees, spines and necks
that will surely snap on any given Sunday.
RICK STEWART, Binghamton, N.Y.

Since when does one ordinary play in football--Sam Adams's
interception in the first game of the season--deserve top billing
over the extraordinary play by Andy Roddick during the two weeks
it took to win the U.S. Open (Long Live the King, Sept. 15)? I
guess your rough-and-tough football readers outweigh the genteel
tennis crowd. Well, at least Sam Adams does.
CHRIS RITTINGER, Bogota, N.J.

ANAGRAMANIA

Steve Rushin neglected one significant sports anagram (Air and
Space, Sept. 15). In the 1986 World Series, Red Sox pitcher Bruce
Hurst was briefly named the Series MVP in the bottom of the 10th
inning of Game 6 with Boston leading 5-3. The rest is history.
Bruce Hurst was felled by the B Ruth Curse.
BRIAN WUENSCH, Oakland, N.J.

Kobe Bryant (Broke by T 'n A).
ROBERT J. WEAVER, Bloomsburg, Pa.

Rushin's column was hilarious, but he forgot Tie Domi (Me Idiot).
KEN LINDEMANN, Sioux Falls, S.Dak.

TRUE LIES

Thanks for the great excerpt from Pete Dexter's new novel (Train,
Sept. 15). Having served hundreds of totes--we called them
loops--in the late '40s and '50s, I can tell you Dexter has an
uncommon understanding of caddie thoughts and behavior, or one
heck of a research database. After all these years, I thought I
was there again. Magnificent writing!
HAL BUCK, Menifee, Calif.

As a longtime caddie, I know that for every member who treats
black caddies with respect, like Mr. Packard, there are at least
20 who don't. While the country club can be an institution from
which caddies benefit greatly, too often it reinforces racist
ideas in the mostly white members.
DYLAN PELLETIER-ROSS, Chicago

I read SI for sports news. If I want fiction, I'll buy Reader's
Digest.
CATHY MCELENEY, Medford, Mass.

24 FOREVER

It was nice seeing in print what I have known for many years:
Willie Mays is baseball's greatest living player (THE LIFE OF
REILLY, Sept. 15). Anyone who doesn't think so probably never saw
Mays play in his prime.
LEN MESSINA, Maple Glen, Pa.

I like to say that Mays and I broke into the bigs the same year:
I was born in 1951. In my childhood I kept a scrapbook on Willie
and dug it out tonight after reading Rick Reilly's column. It
will be the first article pasted in since 1965.
MIKE DAVIDSON, Altadena, Calif.

Reilly is right to applaud the prodigious feats of Willie Mays.
However, if he thinks the Say Hey Kid had the best outfield arm,
he never had the pleasure--as I did--of seeing the late Roberto
Clemente patrol rightfield for the Pittsburgh Pirates. If Mays
owned a grenade launcher, Clemente employed a laser-guided
missile.
PHILIP K. CURTIS, Atlanta

As a lifelong Giants fan, what I most remember about Mays is that
sense that no matter what else was going on in the game, you
could never take your eyes off Willie. You were afraid that if
you did, even for a moment, you might miss something
extraordinary.
RICH JAROSLOVSKY, New York City

In retirement Mays has become a bitter man because he feels he
hasn't been recognized as baseball's greatest living player. I
don't disagree with him, but part of that is his own doing.
Several years ago, at a card show on Staten Island, Mays was
surly, unsmiling and nasty. It was disheartening to meet a
longtime idol and to see him treat people rudely.
KEVIN LEWIS, Staten Island, N.Y.

As a kid growing up in Phoenix during the '60s, I'd ride my bike
across town to Phoenix Municipal Stadium to watch the Giants'
spring training games. I cherish today the autograph Willie gave
me on the cover of his autobiography.
MAT CLIFFORD, Bend, Ore.

NAME BLAME

Wow, what a rush Reilly's column is for Maysophiles like myself!
One item needs correction, however. Willie's name is Willie
Howard Mays, not William. Even that adds to his mystique.
Richard Popper, Lebanon, N.J.

Please get the spelling right on the name of the Phillies Hall of
Fame broadcaster who described how fast Mays was. It is Harry
Kalas, not Callas. Harry deserves the respect of having his name
spelled correctly, just like the other Hall of Famers in Reilly's
article.
RON MESTICHELLI, Mantua, N.J.

--SI regrets the errors--Ed.

HATS OFF TO LARRY

Like him or not, Larry Bowa has brought meaningful September
baseball back to Philadelphia (Larry Bowa Sees Red, Sept. 15). We
enjoy it now because of what you call Larry's "combustibility."
He may be a little outrageous at times, but he loves to win and
has shown nothing but loyalty and support to his players all
season, especially the horrendous Pat Burrell.
CATHY ALMOND, Cherry Hill, N.J.

BLUE-HEN-PECKED

In your report on Delaware (Sports in America, Sept. 15) you
forgot to mention Delaware alum Scott Brunner, who threw three
touchdown passes as he led the New York Giants to a 27-21 victory
over the Philadelphia Eagles on Dec. 27, 1981, the Giants' first
postseason appearance after an 18-year drought.
HOWARD YANOFSKY, Montreal

The UD men's basketball team, the Ass Kickin' Chickens, appeared
in the NCAA tournament in 1992, '93, '98 and '99. Men's lacrosse
reached the quarterfinals of the national tournament in '99. And
how could you leave out former San Francisco 49ers All-Pro wide
receiver John Taylor, who attended Delaware State?
MATT SCOUT, Oakton, Va.

Jeff Pearlman laid an egg when writing that Delaware is "known
worldwide for, ahem, almost nothing" (Worth Clucking Over, Sept.
15). As Delaware's assistant secretary of state, I can assure
you, to the contrary, that Delaware is known worldwide as the
Corporate Capital of the U.S. You're familiar with at least one
Delaware corporation--your publisher, Time Inc. Thanks for the
coverage, and remember to visit home more often.
RICK GEISENBERGER, Dover, Del.

FLORIDA RECOUNT

Your article on Miami quarterback Brock Berlin stressed the
positive, but ignored what many observed on national TV (The Rise
of Berlin, Sept. 15). Gators fans understood Berlin's decision to
transfer because he knew he would never start as long as Rex
Grossman was there. There was no animosity toward Brock, and we
were pulling for him to do well. He said there were no hard
feelings, but Brock's throat-slashing gesture toward the Florida
fans after the Florida-Miami game made us aware of his true
feelings. I'm sure he fits in better at Miami. If he were still
at Florida, he would have been suspended for his actions.
BRENT SHORE, Atlantic Beach, Fla.

COLOR PHOTO: DAMIAN STROHMEYER (COVER) B/W PHOTO: AP A TIP OF THE CAP Willie scores a game winner against the Pirates in 1956. COLOR PHOTO: ABC SPORTS SLASH TALK Berlin salutes Gators fans.

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