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Original Issue


"Talking about sports that need rule changes, how is baseball supposed to survive when games often take upwards of three hours?"

Rewriting the Rules
I agree with Rick Reilly on his suggested changes for sports (POINT AFTER, June 13), but I have one more to add to his list: Let's get rid of the idiotic rule that makes the opposing baseball team appeal when it believes a runner left a base too early on a fly ball. In what other team sport do the players have to point out a violation? If an umpire sees that a runner leaves early, let him make the call. That's what he gets paid for.

Basketball still wins the prize for the dumbest rule in sports. Can anyone explain why a team calling a timeout at the end line during the last two minutes of the game is rewarded by being allowed to inbound the next play at midcourt?
VICTOR I. SPEAR, Santa Rosa, Calif.

While watching the NBA Finals, I noticed another dumb rule: the illegal defense. This has got to be the worst of all. The only way to play defense incorrectly is the way most NBA teams play it—not at all.
BRAD KRUER, Jeffersonville, Ind.

One more dumb thing: the NHL officials who make decisions on goals scored via "instant replay." With three officials on the ice and one behind each net, can't they decide whether a goal was scored without going back to the future?
EUGENE C. MILLER JR., Salt Lake City

Reilly's calling the offsides rule dumb and suggesting that soccer be thrown into a "pit of hungry sloths" is an arrogance often encountered in the typical American "bubba" sports mentality. The most popular, exciting and cerebral sport in the world is permeating the U.S.
CLARK HALE, Enfield, N.H.

Foreign Invasion
As a tennis player at Erskine College, a small, private NCAA Division II school in Due West, S.C., I appreciated your article about foreign athletes at U.S. colleges (Foreign Legions, June 6). My school does not have the resources to give the full athletic scholarships necessary to attract a large number of foreign athletes. We do, however, face institutions that have rosters full of them, and they're loaded with talent.

Many of these schools are state-supported, and my parents pay taxes that, in effect, bring foreign athletes to the U.S., which means these schools often don't recruit in-state athletes. I believe in giving everyone an opportunity, but a limit should be placed on the number of foreigners that state schools can have on scholarship.

Your article rekindled an old anger in this retired college track coach (William and Mary, 1977 to '90). It is my feeling that the majority of coaches who recruit overseas probably lack the ability to teach and coach, so they just "manage" other countries' Olympians and junior champions. Why bother to teach and coach when you can recruit established competitors and just make sure they get to the starting line on time. To refer to these athletes as All-Americas is so unfair to U.S. athletes that in 1988 the National Collegiate Division I Track Coaches Association voted to present All-America certificates to the top eight Americans in every event at the NCAA championships no matter where they finished—and often they didn't even get out of the trial heats. It is time to make coaches teach and coach rather than just import and manage.
ROY CHERNOCK, Lake Worth, Fla.

Canuck Conundrum
I thoroughly enjoyed the NHL playoffs and have to agree that the league is hot (Hot Not, June 20). One thing that intrigued me, however, was the patch on the Vancouver players' jerseys. What does 2 PTS. F.G. mean?
MIKE GALLIEN, Saugus, Mass.

•The patch was worn in honor of Frank Griffiths, the owner of the team when he died of cancer on April 7. "Get me two points," was a signature phrase of his, meaning, Let's go, let's work hard, get me a win.

The opening photograph in your June 13 Stanley Cup article (Closing In) is the best sports picture I have ever seen, but I would like to know why the word weird is written on the bottom of Vancouver goalie Kirk McLean's right skate. I think he is anything but weird.

•The Vancouver trainers agree. To them, the low-key and straight-laced McLean is the antithesis of weird, and so, in an ironic gesture, they write the word on his equipment