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Original Issue


Seattle Mariners
Congratulations to Steve Wulf for his excellent article on the efforts to sell the Seattle Mariners to an ownership group headed by a Japanese businessman (An Outside Pitch, Feb. 10). Unlike the majority of media, which have used this issue as fuel for the protectionist fire currently burning in the U.S., Wulf points out the irony that makes this issue so simple: The preference for local ownership is to provide stability. The Baseball Club of Seattle would keep the Mariners in Seattle and provide the best ownership they have ever had.
Harrisburg, Pa.

Thank you for your evenhanded commentary on the proposed sale of the Mariners. It's nice to see that not everyone in the U.S. is blaming the country's current problems on the Japanese. I wish baseball commissioner Fay Vincent and the owners would adopt such a realistic view.
Northfield, Minn.

Vitale Style
Norman Chad eloquently and humorously described Dick Vitale's distracting, irritating and annoying announcing style (SCORECARD, Feb. 10). Vitale makes Howard Cosell seem like Red Barber. How many do as I do and watch a Vitale-butchered game with the sound off?
Ellington, Conn.

I'm a college hoops fan who turns the channel rather than subjecting myself to Vitale. He yells at me ("Ohh, Baby!"), puts stupid words in the players' mouths ("Take that, Hurley! I can play too!"), uses abbreviations ("Coach, give me PT") and doesn't know any more about college basketball than I do.

Hey, ESPN and ABC Babies, are you listening? Your prime-time player is chasing me away. If you keep Dickie Baby, this CHF (college hoops fan) will TTC (turn the channel).
McKinney, Texas

When first confronted with Vitale's act, I would watch the game without the sound. Gradually, by taking small bites, I was eventually able to stomach an entire broadcast. Then suddenly I woke up. I realized that Vitale is as thrilled by the world's greatest game as I am. I feel I am shortchanged if Vitale isn't doing the color. You can keep the Billy Packer types; they put me to sleep. Give me Vitale, Jim Valvano or Al McGuire.

Chad fails to realize that Vitale's vitality is what college students like. It enhances the close games and entertains during the blowouts. No one brings more passion to the microphone than Vitale does, and no one works harder to know the game and to educate his listeners. He gives credit to players and coaches when it is due, and he points out mistakes that few other analysts see.
Fairfield, Ohio

Smart Players
Why even point out that five of the six players voted by coaches and general managers as the smartest in the NBA are white (INSIDE THE NBA, Feb. 10)? Maybe these six players are the NBA's smartest. Your commentary serves merely to justify and perpetuate stereotypes held by small-minded fans. If I were an NBA coach or general manager, or one of the players mentioned, for that matter, I would be insulted by your insinuations. The coaches and general managers were asked for their opinions. Why not let their responses stand on merit?
Hazlet, N.J.

Magic Johnson
My disappointment with Magic Johnson has nothing to do with his "not adding any gay activists to...the Magic Johnson Foundation" (Most Valuable Person, Feb. 17). It is his foundation; he can do with it what he wants.

Because the spread of AIDS is furiously outpacing any benefits education can provide, and because research into a cure is still in the Stone Age, I wish Mr. Johnson would 1) use his magnificent voice more specifically to raise the cry for research that will save his life and an estimated 40 million other lives worldwide and 2) not distance himself so deliberately from "gay AIDS" as if it were somehow different from "heterosexual AIDS." Everyone must join together to win the battle against this plague.
New York City

I am curious to know the translation of the Japanese characters on the illustration of Ken Griffey Jr. by Kinuko Craft (An Outside Pitch, Feb. 10). While the artist's red signature mark seems to be a clever reworking of Seattle Mariners, I can't be sure. Do the characters in the upper lefthand corner represent an editorial comment? If so, I hope you'll share it with your readers.
Oswego, Kans.

•The characters you refer to translate into "Ken Griffey Jr." in the left column and "Seattle Mariner" in the right. The red mark in the lower righthand corner is Kinuko Craft's seal, and the characters are the artist's name.—ED.


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.