May 31, 2004
May 31, 2004

Table of Contents
May 31, 2004

NBA Playoffs


Smarty Animal

This is an article from the May 31, 2004 issue

It may be a bit premature, but I nominate Simon Bruty's cover
photo of Stewart Elliott riding Smarty Jones in the Kentucky
Derby for inclusion in the 2054 special issue chronicling the
second 50 years of SI photography. I believe it will be among the
best images of your first 100 years.
Steve Wiseman, Williamsville, N.Y.

I'm very impressed that trainer John Servis and owners Pat and
Roy Chapman decided to stick with Stewart Elliott--and won the
Kentucky Derby with Smarty Jones (Smart Money, May 10). Too often
unknown jockeys have had their dreams dashed by an owner or
trainer who thought a horse wouldn't win a big race without a
household name in the saddle. I am rooting for Smarty Jones to
win the Belmont, not just because the sport of horse racing needs
a Triple Crown winner, but also to show it is possible to succeed
if you believe and stick with your instincts.
David Dreyfus, Aurora, Ill.

Special Handling

While I appreciate the intended good humor of Rick Reilly's Bred
and Buttered (The Life of Reilly, May 10) and agree the pampering
of horses like Smarty Jones and Tapit is a bit over the top, we
shouldn't forget the grim reality: Only a very small percentage
of thoroughbreds retire to, well, the life of Reilly.
Cynthia Grisolia, New York City

The Treasure State

I was surprised and extremely proud to see Josh Elliott's article
on the semipro football teams of Montana (Semi Tough, May 10). I
count myself as very fortunate to have played for the now defunct
Bozeman Kodiaks of the Rocky Mountain Football League. Our roster
included a former CFL cornerback, an ex-convict, some lawmen, a
doctor, a lawyer and a couple of teachers. We had our
differences, but we also had a lot in common. We respected each
other, understood teamwork and loved the game of football very
Steve Nash, Bozeman, Mont.

SI's treatment of Montana was hasty, shallow and inaccurate
(Sports in America, May 10). We are a state of six-man football
teams, generations of rodeo stars and famous bucking horses, but
you slap Tom McGuane on our map and give us Bryan Di Salvatore
writing about golf! What's up? Is SI lobbying to be a future
Enemy of the State?
John L. Moore Miles City, Mont.

I enjoyed Di Salvatore's article about golf in Montana (Open
Range, May 10). Two years ago I was playing golf at East Glacier.
It was an uneventful round until we were on the 8th fairway and
the course steward drove up and told us that we might want to be
careful because a grizzly had just been spotted on the 9th tee.
We didn't see the grizzly, but that 9th was the fastest hole of
golf I've ever played.
Jeff Appelgate, Prosser, Wash.

Strictly Cricket

Red Sox-Yanks? Florida-Florida State? Ohio State-Michigan? Cheers
to SI for the article on the biggest rivalry in all of sports,
India-Pakistan (Diplomacy by Other Means, May 10). I appreciate
that you include articles on international sports, particularly
cricket and rugby.
Michael Dudrich, Middletown, Pa.

Few Americans realize the popularity of cricket in places such as
India--the world's most populous democracy--and Pakistan. I'm
glad you were able to illustrate the political impact of the game
on the ongoing hostilities between these two nations.
Sayantan Niyogi, Mount Laurel, N.J.

Who's the Boss?

I congratulate Tom Verducci for almost making George Steinbrenner
likable (Mister Softie? May 10). Amazing writing.
Matt McGee, West Richland, Wash.

I grew up a Yankees fan in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. I still regard the
1978 season as my fondest baseball memory. I was incensed to read
how George "felt about ... all the fans." Through his obsession
with the back page and his mistreatment of players, managers and
coaches, he takes all the joy out of rooting for the Yankees.
With his bottomless checkbook, he makes it impossible to
appreciate the drama and skill of the game or to have affection
for the athletes. With his "breathing first, winning next"
mentality, he reflects the poor sportsmanship and
win-at-all-costs attitude that pervades our society. In short, he
has made me what I am today: a Red Sox fan.
Andy Janicik, Westfield, Mass.

Kudos to Verducci on his well-written Steinbrenner piece. It's
too bad that a guy who works so hard to win is looked upon as
gluttonous. If other owners had a tenth of the Boss's passion for
the game, there would be no worries about competitive balance.
Michael Ferguson, Rochester, N.Y.

It's refreshing to see that Steinbrenner still has feelings
similar to the rest of us, even if he has significantly more
money than most of us. Verducci's story gave me two things I had
hoped for: a reason to admire Steinbrenner and a license to
continue hating him.
Matt Sussman, Toledo

Just as Luke Skywalker was able to see some good within the evil
Darth Vader as Vader sought to rule the universe, I see
Steinbrenner as a good-hearted man who too often allows himself
to be corrupted by the dark side of the Yankees' empire.
Joel Sonkin, New York City




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