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March 30, 2009
March 30, 2009

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March 30, 2009

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Eastern Front

This is an article from the March 30, 2009 issue

Thank you so verymuch for excluding every NCAA basketball team in the western part of the U.S.from your cover story on SI's Elite Eight (Don't Count Us Out, March 9), thusavoiding your jinx. Seriously, though, there are teams from this side of thecountry that can play this glorious game known as basketball.
Aaron Grossberg, Albany, Ore.

Kids on the RightTrack

Baseball andfootball fans are definitely over the top in naming their kids after theirfavorite venues (PLAYERS, March 9). Fortunately, motor sports fans are morelevelheaded than that. I'm sure my sons Bristol and Dover and my niece Indywould agree.
Ken Durham, Littleton, Colo.

BulkDiscounted

I appreciate TonyMandarich's heartfelt apology for lying about his steroid use (Tony MandarichIs Very, Very Sorry, March 9). That said, wouldn't it be nice to get to a pointwhere guys simply start making the right decisions the first time around? Justonce I'd like to hear a sports figure say, "I'm sorry," with no bookrelease, marketing deal or hidden agenda behind it.
Chris Bello, San Diego

The Green BayPackers wasted the second pick of the 1989 draft on this guy, and I wasted mytime and money watching him try to play football. I will not make the samemistake twice and spend money on Mandarich's book.
Steve Aaholm, Memphis

I imagine that afair number of readers scoffed at Mandarich, seeing him as a former jockseeking to cash in by writing a book about his drug use. I, however, did not. Igot to know Tony during his time in Indianapolis, and we took numerous trips toa local prison to share our stories of escape and recovery from drug addictionand alcoholism. These visits came with no fanfare or publicity. They were doneto ensure his own recovery and to help some folks who badly needed to hear hisstory.
Steve Brown, Indianapolis

Bums' Rush

While reading yourarticle on the Dodgers (The Wrong Man, March 9), I thought of a couple fromBrooklyn who sat next to me on the lawn at the 2008 Baseball Hall of Fameinduction. When it came time for Walter O'Malley's son to accept his father'sHall of Fame plaque, the couple turned their lawn chairs away from the stage indisgust. Thanks to Michael D'Antonio's report on the role of Robert Moses inthe team's move to Los Angeles, I now know they blamed the wrong man.
Dan Barnard II, Rochester, N.Y.

It is true thatMoses wanted a new stadium in Queens and fought the Dodgers' plan for one inBrooklyn. But O'Malley's efforts to stay in Brooklyn were halfhearted at best;he got what he really wanted—additional millions in California.
Don Shepherd, Berlin, Md.

For one of myfirst books Walter O'Malley graciously provided me with a fiscal breakdown forthe Dodgers' season of 1953. He was better than doubling his investment withthe Dodgers every year. Then why move? Because Ebbets Field was old? So wereWrigley Field and Fenway. Nothing wrong with Ebbets that a little remodelingcouldn't have fixed. But for motivation try this: O'Malley's hated rival,Branch Rickey, had revolutionized baseball by signing Jackie Robinson. O'Malleyliked money, but he longed more passionately to equal or surpass Rickey in theannals. That is the underlying reason behind the pioneering voyage toCalifornia.

MichaelD'Antonio's assertion that O'Malley was the villain of my book The Boys ofSummer is a tad balmy. His dismissing the book as "nostalgia" seemseven sillier. In The Boys we see Clem Labine grieving over a son who lost a legin Vietnam. We meet Roy Campanella struggling for and achieving dignity as aquadriplegic. We attend the funeral of Jackie Robinson Jr., who returned fromVietnam a doomed heroin addict, and watch the father weep inconsolably. Ifthere is any villain in The Boys, it is time and what it does to all of us.
Roger Kahn, Stone Ridge, N.Y.

Double Vision

DirecTV is quiteflattered SI thought so highly of our advertising creative that you decided theidea would make a cool cover. As you know, this print campaign (left) debutedin your Dec. 12 Pictures of the Year issue.
Jon Gieselman, Senior VP DirecTV, New York City

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