Ricardo Portillo's death was a senseless tragedy (The Beautiful Game, Turned Ugly). Even more tragic are the words of his killer, José Domingo Téran, when he asks why God allowed his hands to become those of the devil. This reflects an increasing problem in our society: the constant effort to find someone or something else to take the blame instead of accepting responsibility.
Jack M. Rode, Whitefield, N.H.
Leaders of the Pack
Lars Anderson thinks IndyCar races were predictable, follow-the-leader, parade-style runs (SCORECARD)? I think that more accurately describes what the races on the NASCAR speedways had become over the last decade. Take the Daytona 500. Before last season, a car almost always had to be pushed or drafted by a competitor's car to have a shot at finishing first. Now with the return of pack racing, drivers have to constantly try to avoid the "big one" crash that is almost a given when the cars are traveling practically on top of one another at upward of 150 mph.
Ron Rose, Peoria, Ariz.
L. Jon Wertheim is absolutely right. Novak Djokovic is neither Roger Federer nor Rafael Nadal (SCORECARD), which is precisely why fans have come to embrace Djokovic as the new king of men's tennis. The Roger-Rafa rivalry became so robotic and redundant, even they began to look bored when facing each other. Djokovic has added some much-needed spice to the top of the rankings, and his sense of humor, stellar play and emergence as the best closer have been a welcome addition to the ATP World Tour.
Carla S. Curtsinger, New York City
The Ice Man
While I enjoyed Austin Murphy's article about hockey in the Golden State (California Dreamin' ...), he overlooked one important detail: Frank Zamboni and his nifty ice-resurfacing machine. Frank invented the Zamboni in Paramount, Calif., and they have been manufactured there since 1949.
Ed Senteno, Superior, Colo.
When I first spotted the picture of the Cardinals' rotation on your cover, it immediately reminded me of a similar St. Louis cover from 1968. Sure enough, when I turned to the Lineup page, there was the '68 cover in all its glory. (The original picture was actually a foldout that included Orlando Cepeda, Curt Flood, Julian Javier and Dal Maxvill and manager Red Schoendienst.) Thanks for making me feel 45 years younger again, even if only for a few minutes.
Tom Foristel, Harrison, N.Y.
There's quite a contrast between the 1968 photo and 2013 photo. The preppy yet casual elegance of the old-school players far outshines the new-age, casual, jeans look.
Richard Hinton, Pensacola, Fla.
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Did Grant Hill (page 16), who was hobbled by severe ankle injuries during an 18-season NBA career, accomplish enough as a pro and at Duke to merit induction in the Basketball Hall of Fame?
Go Paolo No. Maybe if he had won an NBA championship or been named MVP, but his best years were in Detroit at the start of his career, and the Pistons were a scrub team then. It wasn't until after he got traded that they became an elite team.
Jeffrey Trotter Seven-time NBA All-Star, five-time All-NBA first- or second-team, Co-Rookie of the Year, two-time NCAA champion, 1994 ACC player of the year and a 1996 Olympic gold medalist. I would say he has a very compelling case for the Hall of Fame.
Alan Coates No, not unless there's a category for "We can't believe he's still playing after all of those injuries."
Ed K. Ching Yes. Had he immediately retired after his ankle injury in 2000, people would praise him for having played six stellar seasons in the NBA. That he bounced back and lasted that long represents everything that's right with the NBA. He's a class act.
TWEET OF THE WEEK
"ZERO PROBLEM WITH [ROY] HIBBERT'S FINE, BUT I DO WONDER IF THE NBA WILL EVER ADDRESS THE FREQUENCY WITH WHICH THE N-WORD IS SAID ON THE COURT."
JEMELE HILL (@JEMELEHILL)