Long-suffering Baltimore fans are thrilled that Matt Wieters (Rare Bird, March 15) is the first Orioles catcher to grace the cover of SI since Rick Dempsey in 1983, when the team won its last championship. I'm hoping Wieters can one day earn the billing of THE HERO, as Dempsey did after the '83 World Series.

Matthew Taylor, Durham, N.C.

A Price to Pay

As someone who has been unemployed for seven months, I was glad Senator Jim Bunning's objections to a bill to pay for unemployments benefits were overcome and my benefit check arrived as usual. But I was disappointed that Joe Posnanski's article (SCORECARD, March 15) failed to mention the reason Bunning objected: that both parties in Congress have become addicted to funding programs without regard for how to pay for them. As the parent of two children who will spend their adulthoods paying off today's spending sprees, I was glad the senator made that point.

Paul O'Sullivan, West Hartford, Conn.

Winging It

I am not surprised about Detroit's recent slip in the standings, nor will I be surprised if the Red Wings make the playoffs (Staring Down the End, March 15). They have done what most teams can only dream of—found a formula that works and stuck with it. As a Sabres fan I wish my team could have the same success as Detroit.

Kiernan Smith, Rochester, N.Y.

I don't care much for hockey, but I do care about great sportswriting, which is why I read every piece by Michael Farber. No one offers more insightful analysis, and his ability to turn a phrase keeps me craving more.

Tom Lizotte, Dover-Foxcroft, Maine

The Winning Touch

I enjoyed your piece on the power of high fives (High Fives, March 15), not only for the statistical correlation between physical contact and success but also for the humorous stories of failed high fives. I noticed that the pictures included both male and female athletes, but when I read the article, there was little mention of women athletes. Perhaps a chest bump is not as common on a women's athletic field, but the bond of a high five is powerful for all athletes.

Annie O'Gara, Glenview, Ill.

Love and Basketball

In an era when perceptions of athletics are influenced by news and events in the college and pro ranks, Chris Ballard (POINT AFTER, March 15) needed to look no further than his aging father to—in a single page—beautifully summarize the meaning of sports.

David Sandman, Santa Monica, Calif.

I am 61 and still play basketball twice a week with guys ranging from 25 to 64. When I'm 71, I want to be like Phil Ballard!

David A. Petreman, Bellbrook, Ohio

I'm going to keep this column so that the next time my wife asks how I can spend an hour shooting pool with my son and not discuss anything of importance, I'll simply (and silently) hand it to her.

Bill O'Brien, Deland, Fla.

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PHOTOWALTER IOOSS JR.
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