Kudos to Peter King for his excellent article Bawl Players (March 18). It's getting harder to handle the whining from the owners and the players. King is right when he says that Kirby Puckett and Rickey Henderson "have shown that there is both honor and shame among the ranks of baseball's rich and famous." Unfortunately, there's too little honor and too much shame.
TERRY L. Cox
St. Charles, Ill.
The tragedy of today's sports heroes is that they have forgotten how blessed they are, physically and financially, while ordinary people have trouble paying their doctors' and grocery bills, in addition to their cable-TV fees so they can watch sports. I have reached the point where I don't care to see another major league baseball game.
JEFFREY C. MCCLAIN
The fact that these babies are paid obscene salaries is a sad comment on our society. And now we have a sports psychologist who says that their salaries are "the only way they can define themselves." There are two frightening things about that statement: He means it, and it's probably true.
If Rickey Henderson wants to keep breaking his contract with the A's for more money, O.K. But if Henderson has a bad year, the A's should also be able to break the contract and pay him less.
RICHARD A. MULLER
Reds pitcher Jack Armstrong said that he would rather make $30,000 on a tuna boat than return to spring training. It would be interesting to see if there's a tuna-boat captain who needs an extra hand on deck.
UCLA's recent decision to drop water polo and men's and women's crew for financial reasons (SCORECARD, March 18) exemplifies what is wrong with today's intercollegiate athletics. Athletic programs have become income producers for which universities compromise their academic integrity. It is a shame that two low-cost programs that do not generate scandals and that graduate 100% of their athletes must be forfeited in order to maintain programs that have made the term "student athlete" an oxymoron.
KRISTEN MCDONALD BATTAILE
Captain, USC Crew, 1982
As a water polo player at UCLA, from 1967 to '70, I find it deplorable that my sport will not continue to be offered there. The decision may lead to the demise of the sport within the NCAA and will damage the future of the sport at the high school and Olympic levels. An alumni group has been formed to save the water polo program. It appears to be our only hope to have it reinstated.
JACK E. BARITEAU JR.
Palo Alto, Calif.
The Pope and the Bali Bash
I certainly enjoyed Steve Rushin's clever article on Bali (Mr. Stiv's Excellent Adventure, Feb. 11). Having lived in Indonesia for 12 years and having spent many vacations in Bali, my husband, Buz, and I got a real kick out of Rushin's views. We especially enjoyed what he surmised to be the story of the picture of Pope John Paul II that hangs in the beautiful Bali Handara golf course clubhouse. We thought you would enjoy seeing that picture and having some background on it.
The Bali Bash is a golf tournament that was started in 1975 by a fun-loving group of expatriate oilmen living in Jakarta. The picture was the handiwork of one of the players, Clyde Munson, who superimposed a photo of the pope alongside the two golfers in the original photograph (the pope's Foot-Joys came from a third photo). We have the same picture hanging in our home in Dallas. My husband is the man on the left. The picture was given to him as a birthday present in 1984. The gentleman in the center is Father Bob LaFevres, a Catholic priest in Jakarta who used to play golf with Buz.
Letters to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED should include the name, address and home telephone number of the writer and should be addressed to The Editor, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020-1393.