Although I'm a die-hard Dodgers fan, I'm not afraid to admit that the numbers put up by the Phillies' starting pitching rotation are scary enough to make the best hitters in the majors cringe. But it wasn't until I saw all of them on SI's cover, threatening me with that "I dare you to try and get a hit off of me" look, that I was able to appreciate how spooked National League batters should be.
This is an article from the April 25, 2011 issue
Nathan Sanchez, Bakersfield
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While Philadelphia certainly has a remarkable pitching staff (The Legion of Arms, April 4), I'm highly disappointed that the real gunslingers of the 2010 season, the Giants, weren't featured on the cover of your baseball preview. Tim Lincecum, Jonathan Sanchez, Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner carried San Francisco to the World Series championship—after they whipped the Phillies for the NL pennant.
Steve Luthman, Chicago
Sure the Phillies' pitchers make a great story, but baseball fans would be remiss to forget the Orioles' amazing rotation from 1971. With Mike Cuellar, Pat Dobson, Dave McNally and Jim Palmer on the mound, Baltimore was only the second team in baseball after the 1920 White Sox to have four pitchers win at least 20 games during the same season. No other foursome has done it since.
Corona Del Mar, Calif.
For so many years I watched as other clubs spent big bucks to get key free agents and big-name players in their lineups to win championships, while the Phillies wallowed in futility, eventually setting the record for most losses by a sports franchise, topping the 10,000 mark in 2007. It is finally the Phillies' turn, and the character of these five starting pitchers makes it that much more enjoyable to watch.
If Only ...
I initially hesitated to read Jeff Greenfield's imaginary story about the Cubs possibly winning the World Series (It Was All Just a Bad Dream, April 4). However, to my surprise, I actually enjoyed his masterpiece and even got goose bumps while reading his description of the Yankees' last pop fly in the bottom of the ninth, saying to myself, "This can't be real. I'm sure something horrible is going to happen." And it did. It's amazing how you can love a team so much that they get your hopes up even when you know the story is fictional.
It's bad enough that the Cubs have not won a World Series in 103 years and that country singer Toby Keith is now writing hit songs which refer to the Cubs' losing yet another game. It was even worse watching the White Sox win it all in 2005. But SI's torturing Cubs fans even further with an article on what might have happened had Moises Alou caught the ball in Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS? Can Cubs fans ever catch a break?
Russ DeFord, East Peoria, Ill.
Bringing the Heat
I enjoyed Tom Verducci's article on the fastball (Radar Love, April 4). I saw Steve Dalkowski pitch with the Aberdeen (S.D.) Pheasants, a Class C minor league team, about 50 years ago. Dalkowski had an amazing hop on his heater. When he took the mound we all held our breath, not knowing if he would throw a strike, hit the backstop or take out the batter or catcher. In all my years watching baseball, I've never seen a pitcher throw faster.
David Liem, Fullerton, Calif.
As a longtime baseball fan, I have to wonder how an article can be written about the fastball without any mention of Doc Gooden's exploding 98 mph heater.
Isn't It Ironic?
I'm still laughing at the irony of Celebrity Boxing promoter Damon Feldman saying he's disgusted with the old switcheroo the Canseco brothers recently pulled on him (SCORECARD, April 4). I think the vast majority of sensible Americans are disgusted that there is an actual celebrity boxing promoter in the first place.
William Rudd, Ada, Okla.
All Eyes on Chad
I found Joe Posnanski's positive take on Chad Ochocinco (POINT AFTER, April 4) both interesting and perplexing. While I respect Ochocinco's talents as an athlete, I do not respect him as a person. I believe he represents everything that is wrong with today's athletes: He's self-centered, narcissistic and demanding. I always thought the goal of a professional athlete was to excel and win championships, not to make a name for himself regardless of how unfavorably his antics impact his team.
Mark Scherzinger, Cincinnati
Posnanski wants us to like Ochocinco because he's "an original ... out there, being himself, breaking the rules, having the time of his life." But isn't this the same guy who has four children out of wedlock with three different women?
Steve Schmitz, Waukesha, Wis.
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