The Indy 500
Appearing on the SI cover is one of the most prestigious honors in sports, and instead of honoring Al Unser Jr. for his victory in the Indianapolis 500, you placed Mark McGwire of the Oakland A's on your June 1 cover. The most-attended one-day sporting event in the world, the Indy 500 is a 76-year-old piece of Americana, and the 1992 race was one of the most exciting sporting events in years. The high drama of the crashes, the closest finish ever and Scott Goodyear's run from 33rd place to second all provided racing fans with heart-stopping action.
JOHN LOUIS ELIOPOULOS
Santa Monica, Calif.
I was surprised and disappointed not to sec the closest Indianapolis 500 finish in history on the cover. Two men, only .043 of a second apart in fierce competition, portrayed two qualities needed in today's world. Al Unser Jr. represented the foundation of the family, being the first second-generation winner. Scott Goodyear represented hope for the underdog, starting from the last position and finishing second. It would have been a great cover story, and no tricky camera angles would have been needed to fit both cars in the same shot.
I agree with Rick Reilly's June 1 POINT AFTER. It's outrageous that a team can receive a bowl bid before the first snap of the college football season. Penn State's deal with the Blockbuster Bowl exemplifies the commercialization of college sports. It is also a slap in the face to all the athletes and coaches of unheralded schools who work their hearts out year-round.
I agree with Reilly's final statement, "Give us a playoff for the national championship," but I object to his criticism of coach Joe Paterno and the Penn State athletic department for striking a deal with the Blockbuster Bowl. After being locked out of the consortium made up of four New Year's Day bowls and five major conferences, Penn State can't be blamed for looking out for itself and assuring its team some recognition next January. The Nittany Lions will join the Big Ten in '93, making this a one-year situation.
Let's hope that instead of failing to win at least six games and thus being ineligible to compete in the bowl, Penn State goes 11-0 and then beats its Blockbuster opponent, thus clouding the national championship picture once again. This, combined with the fact that the past two seasons have produced national co-champions, may finally get all of us who would like a playoff system our wish.
Penn State '95
No Ego Trip
I'm writing in response to the letter in your June 8 issue about Barry Bonds of the Pirates spoiling a picture of himself on his sweatband. He and the other major leaguers who wear such wristbands are doing so to help in the war against drugs. Notice that the small print below his picture reads SAY NO TO DRUGS. This is not an ego trip on the part of Bonds or any other player.
The cover of the June 8 issue shouted Mr. Hockey, but instead of a picture of Gordie Howe, there was Mario Lemieux. Granted, Lemieux is a very good hockey player and getting better every year, but he has a long way to go to match Howe's accomplishments. If you need a title for Lemieux, try Mr. Penguin or Mr. Playoff, but please reserve Mr. Hockey for Gordie Howe.
An Overlooked Rookie
Year after year I subscribe to your magazine, hoping you will awaken from your sexist slumber. And week after week I am disappointed. (Oh, sure, once in a while you have a story about an LPGA golfer or a female Olympic athlete.)
The final letdown—the one that demands that I request, Gentlemen, cancel my subscription—was your article on the Indianapolis 500 (Close Calls, June 1). In it there wasn't a picture or so much as a single mention of Lyn St. James, the first—and only—rookie to finish this year's race.
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.