I couldn't tell you how to figure out a player's Ultimate Zone Rating any more than I could hit a Felix Hernandez fastball, but I do know this—the Mariners are fun to watch again. Since the Bill Bavasi era ended and Jack Zduriencik became G.M., we have a new saying in the Northwest: In Jack We Trust.
This is an article from the March 22, 2010 issue
Mark Skeen, Prosser, Wash.
The Mariners' decision to build around pitching and defense (Feel the Glove, March 1) is close to what I've been saying for years about what small-market teams have to do to be competitive. Large-market teams have the resources to belly up to the slugger bar and fill their plates anytime they want. Small-market teams can't afford to do that. They have to change the conditions of the game: focus on pitching and defense, move the fences back—way back—in their ballpark and get a centerfielder who can run down anything hit in his direction.
Once again the Olympics have shown just how great the game of hockey can be without the fighting, goons and enforcers needed to protect the better players in the NHL. The two U.S.-Canada games were as good as it gets without one set of gloves being dropped on the ice. It's too bad that NHL fans generally don't seem to care how much better their sport could be.
Boca Raton, Fla.
I don't know whether he's a Hall of Fame hockey guy, but Brian Burke is a hell of a father (Man of His Word, March 1). His son Brendan would be as proud of him as Brian is of Brendan.
Beth McEldowney, Phoenix
Bode Miller did not redeem himself in Vancouver—he skied the way he always has, fast and furious (American Flyers, March 1). It was great to see him make the climb from bronze to silver and finally gold in Vancouver. He is an all-around great skier and finally got the credit he deserves.
Miller decided long ago that the journey is just as important as the destination. Maybe now he'll be believed.
Long Beach, N.Y.
When discussing the impact of foreign-born players on Division I basketball programs (The Luxury Imports Are Here, March 1), the "here" is Nashville. Vanderbilt's outstanding coach, Kevin Stallings, has assembled a talented roster from all over the planet—including junior A.J. Ogilvy (Australia), who has earned second-team all-SEC honors for three straight years, and sophomore Jeffery Taylor (Sweden), who made a case to be conference player of the year this season. That's not to mention key sophomore reserves Steve Tchiengang (Cameroon) and Festus Ezeli (Nigeria).
The success that Radford's Artsiom Parakhouski and other junior college imports like him have had in athletics and in the classroom displays the high value of the juco system when the athletes, coaches and administrators do things the right way.
Eric Davin Larsen
Twin Falls, Idaho
The Nets may be the worst team in the NBA (Unlovable Losers, March 1), but that doesn't mean they aren't worth watching. They have one of the top 10 point guards in the league, and Devin Harris, Courtney Lee, Yi Jianlian and Brook Lopez are exciting to watch. I will be very happy when their young players finally reach their potential.
Matt Boler, Atlanta
Great article on the IOC's shameful exclusion of women's ski jumping from the Olympics (POINT AFTER, March 1), and kudos to Lindsey Van for fighting so long and so hard for ski jumpers who will follow in her tracks. And by the way, before the Olympics started in Vancouver, who was the record holder for the normal hill at Whistler? Lindsey Van. Not the women's record holder, the record holder—period.
Jack Straub, Spring Lake, N.J.
If the amazing Van and her fellow woman ski jumpers are not given the right to compete at the Olympics, my daughter and a multitude of little girls around the world are given a clear message: You do not have the same opportunities as boys. Enter the 21st century, IOC.
Wendy Janet Lau, Los Angeles
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