Letters

July 29, 2007

Slap Happy

I have always feltthat one of the greatest disservices ever wrought by the Academy of MotionPicture Arts and Sciences was its snobbish disregard of what should have beenthe best picture of 1977—Slap Shot. Thanks from many of us in the game for thisWhere Are They Now? cover story.
Pete Weber, Play-by-Play Announcer
Nashville Predators

Your Hansonbrothers article (Goons Forever, July 2--9) brought back memories. I was atthat Jets-Comets game in Utica, N.Y., at which the Hansons came into the standsto go after a fan. Seeing the players climbing over the glass was pretty scary.I had no idea those crazy players I was running from were the same ones I stillenjoy watching in Slap Shot.
Angela Santopietro, San Diego

In March my wifeand I were sitting alongside a harbor in the British Virgin Islands, enjoying alocal libation, when a man disembarked from a sailboat. As he approached, Iread on the front of his T-shirt the name CHARLESTOWN. I assumed that it was aBritish port somewhere in the islands. Then he passed us, and I saw the back ofhis shirt, which read, PUTTING ON THE FOIL. It made my day. Long live theHanson Brothers.
Lee Johnson, Pittsford, N.Y.

At the Universityof Washington in the early '80s, my intramural softball team was called theMendozas. When Mario Mendoza (What's in a Name, July 2--9) visited the Kingdomewith the Rangers, we all went to the game, wearing our team shirts, and gotseats near the first base rail. During infield practice he came over to talkwith us, signed our shirts and posed for pictures, and after the game he signedthe brim of his game-day cap and gave it to us. While the "Mendozaline"—and our team name—may have poked fun at Mario, his joie de vivre anddedication to baseball makes him a winner. Thanks for rekindling thememories.
Frank Trueba, Felton, Calif.

No. 1 Fans

Your articleUnhappy Returns, on the value of NBA and NHL teams getting the No. 1 pick(PLAYERS, July 2--9), suggested that the picks don't help teams win titles. Butin the NBA, eight of the last nine champions have featured a first overallpick—and one of those teams had two No. 1s. Also, six of the nine teams thatlost in the finals had a No. 1 pick as well.
Jeff Feinstein, Oakland, N.J.

In your list ofNHL top picks who didn't lift teams that chose them to a title, I would put anasterisk next to Eric Lindros's name. Though he didn't lead the Nordiques—soonto be Avalanche—to a Stanley Cup, the team traded him for a boatful of players(including Peter Forsberg) that powered Colorado's Cup wins.
Ward Mallon, Ottawa

Just FollowingOdors

I grew up aPhillies fan, and I was 12 when they blew the '64 pennant. Here's a story toadd to your history of the team's 10,000 losses (The Beautiful Losers, July2--9). According to legend, there was a billboard in the city that proclaimed,THE PHILLIES USE LIFEBUOY. Beneath it someone wrote, AND THEY STILL STINK!
Michael J. Hollander, Brookline, Mass.

Peddling theRace

Austin Murphyalmost had me convinced that SPORTS ILLUSTRATED had done another outstandingjob of standing up for integrity in sports (Are They All Dirty? Does it Matter?Should We Care?, July 2--9), until the very end of his article onperformance-enhancing drugs and the Tour de France, when he sold out, sayinghe's going back to the Tour because he "can't think of a more inspiringsight than a group of climbers clawing their way over the Col du Galibier."I can think of many sights that are more inspiring, starting with the obvious:a group of clean cyclists. Austin, instead of rolling out the tired excuse of"what's a fan to do?" have the guts to do the right thing.
Jeff Nardo, Jacksonville, N.C.

We should stillcare about cycling. Yes, many cyclists have been caught or confessed to druguse. But imagine if baseball, football, basketball or hockey had as strict adrug policy as cycling, with a two-year suspension for your first positivetest. At least cheaters in cycling are actually getting a worthy punishment.
Adam Spartz, Columbus, Ind.

Blind Switch?

Rick Reilly'sExtreme Makeover column (LIFE OF REILLY, July 2--9), on sportswriter MikePenner's becoming Christine Daniels, tried to turn a man dressing up like awoman into a feel-good story, but it actually made me ill. Everybody is bornwith predispositions to do things that aren't right. That doesn't mean weshould act on those predispositions. Mr. Reilly's column is a sad commentary onour "do what you want" society.
David Willis, House Springs, Mo.

In my 79 years—70at least reading sports—I have never read a column anywhere that was sowell-written, so humane and so moral on the general subject of sexualorientation. Rick, I have recommended you to my entire family and offer you mymost sincere congratulations.
Frank Thompson
Farmington Hills, Mich.

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