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Original Issue


I guarantee what Jeff experienced at Yankee Stadium will forever
overshadow what he missed in history class.
ANDRES CORREAL, Washington, D.C.


Michael Farber's POINT AFTER regarding the use of instant replay
in baseball was right on target. When a 12-year-old boy plays
hooky from school, catches a ball in an area adjacent to fair
territory where fans are not supposed to intrude and with his
action, alters the outcome of a playoff game because the umpires
are not allowed to use TV replays, it is time for a change.

It is often said that baseball is too traditional to change.
However, since sports is one place where fair play is expected,
changes like the use of instant replay, which improves the
fairness of the game, should be not only allowed but also

Instant replay is not the remedy to Maier-itis. What makes
baseball great is human error, be it seven out of every 10 times
at the plate for a Hall of Fame batter or once every dozen or so
calls for umpires. Baseball in this way reflects real life
better than any other sport.
TOM ROCK, Levittown, N.Y.

Hockey has found a good use for instant replay in deciding if a
puck actually crosses the goal line, and it could be used in
baseball for deciding if a ball was indeed fair or foul, but for
fan interference I believe it would serve no purpose. In the
case of Jeff Maier, how will we ever know if Tony Tarasco would
have caught Derek Jeter's long fly ball? Many an outfielder has
dropped what appeared to be a routine out.

Baseball should be looking for ways to shorten the game, not
lengthen it by reviewing close calls. In addition baseball
purists, of which I am one, are fed up with the tampering of
America's Pastime.
KEVIN L. SMITH, Camp Lejeune, N.C.


Special thanks to Leigh Montville and photographer Bob Martin
for their look into the life of 1996 Olympic marathon champion
Josia Thugwane (Run for Your Life, Oct. 21). Thugwane's journey
from poverty to Olympic glory is all the more inspiring given
that he made it on sheer determination, street sense and an
education consisting of life on the veld and Ndebele tribal

Reading of the difficulties and dangers experienced by Thugwane
in simply running makes me realize how much we take for granted.
That he was able to get to Atlanta was quite an achievement;
that he was able to win against such a high-quality field was
GEORGE MOSCHIS, Woomera, South Australia

To me, as a South African-American and a sports fan, the most
recent meaningful event involving South Africa took place in the
U.S., on the last day of the Atlanta Olympics. As Josia Thugwane
received his marathon gold medal, I was moved to see the flag of
a new country raised in victory. Both national anthems were
sung, representing the new South Africa under the pragmatic
leadership of Nelson Mandela.
SHANE RAHMANI, Springfield, N.J.


Your story about the struggles of the Nets' Jayson Williams left
a lasting impression on me (So Young, So Old, Oct. 14). It is
astonishing that after all he has endured, he has maintained his
strength and determination to succeed. Moreover, he shows his
deep love for his family by making it his top priority--a
diminishing value among today's celebrities. Before I read your
story, I barely knew who Jayson Williams was. Now he has made me
one of his fans.

Despite my sympathy for Jayson Williams after his sisters'
deaths, his driving 150 miles an hour makes him an absolute
menace. How many wrecks did he cause as people dodged to avoid
him or lost control while watching him speed by? Drivers should
serve one day in jail for every mile per hour over 80, one week
for every mile per hour over 90 and one month for every mile per
hour over 100.
HARRY JEAVONS, Virginia Beach, Va.


Your article--or the lack thereof--about the Major League Soccer
championship game was a great disappointment (United Way, Oct.
28). I can't believe that the title game of a sport of such
magnitude earned a story of only two thirds of a page and one
picture. Yet, in the same issue you ran an 11-page piece about
a six-man football team and its cheerleaders in rural Texas.
Soccer is huge worldwide but can't seem to get recognition in
the U.S. Thus leagues have failed in the past. Major League
Soccer has the quality players to get established but needs
publicity to help carry it.


Aging Bills? Not much sand left in the top of the hourglass?
Buffalo's last chance has been foretold since 1992, and this
doomsaying is getting a bit old itself (One More Run, Oct. 14).
While it is true that the core members of Buffalo's Super Bowl
teams are now 30 or older, the Bills have gotten younger over
the past three years. Forty-one of the 53 players on this year's
opening-day roster were younger than 30. Public opinion seems to
say that when Kelly & Co. retire, Buffalo will sink back into
its funk of the mid-'80s. On the contrary, with its shrewd
drafting and use of free agency, the Bills' superb front office
has provided for the future. What other NFL team has signed
every player it drafted in the last four seasons before the
start of training camp?

COLOR PHOTO: JENNIFER ABELSON [Marcus Jacoby and other Southern University football players]


Your Oct. 21 article Grambling Man featured Michael Kornblau,
the first white quarterback to start at Grambling State in
Grambling, La. Down the road in Baton Rouge, Marcus Jacoby has
become the first white to start at quarterback for Southern
University, which is also a historically black school. Jacoby
has led the Jaguars to the top of the Southwestern Athletic
Conference. He and Kornblau will meet when Southern faces
Grambling on national TV in the Bayou Classic on Nov. 30.