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The pictures of some of major league baseball's hot young
shortstops were enough to thrill any female fan.


Tom Verducci's article on up-and-coming shortstops (Long on
Shortstops, Feb. 24) debunked the notion that it's acceptable
for a shortstop to hit .220 if he plays decent defense. With the
likes of the Yankees' Derek Jeter and the Mariners' Alex
Rodriguez, no manager should have to tolerate a weak stick at
the position.
BARRY E. BURUD, Minneapolis

You could have given more than one sentence to Montreal Expos
shortstop Mark Grudzielanek. He put up impressive stats in 1996,
his first full season in the majors: .306 average, 201 hits, 99
runs scored, 33 stolen bases and an All-Star appearance. Both
his offense and defense helped the low-budget Expos in their
wild-card run.
MARC BRAZEAU, Vaudreuil, Que.

Your article emphasized the offensive talents of these young
players, but defense is important as well. Nothing much was said
about glovework or range.
FRED ENGLE, Minneapolis


When I read about 10-year-old Martin Gallegos in FACES IN THE
CROWD (Feb. 24), my stomach turned. I understand that most
people consider boxing a sport, but something is wrong with
sanctioning it for children and glorifying a nine-year-old who
wins "with a KO." As a father of two athletic daughters, ages
seven and 10, I was unsettled by the idea of children so young
being subjected to head injuries. My mind fills with images of
parents encouraging such behavior.
PETER C. RIMKUS, Ashford, Conn.


Although I appreciate Alexander Wolff's story about basketball
player Marcus LoVett and his difficulties at Oklahoma City
University (School's Out, Feb. 24), it is inaccurate to
attribute his learning problem, attention deficit disorder (also
known as attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder or ADHD), to
factors such as parental neglect and mental abuse. ADHD is
thought to be a chemical imbalance that affects the signals
between brain cells and causes symptoms that include a short
attention span and impulsive behavior. Environmental deprivation
and head trauma can cause a short attention span and learning
problems but not ADHD. From the description in your article, it
seems likely that LoVett has ADHD complicated by a learning
disability and family turmoil.
DAVID A. LEVINE, M.D. Morehouse School of Medicine

Wolff gives LoVett more academic credit than he's due. Terms
like "generic" or "mentor-slash-role model," which Wolff says
LoVett uses, are hardly vocabulary from academia, as Wolff
suggests. Also, Wolff says LoVett's progress toward a degree
will be more difficult now that he is taking history, philosophy
and kinesiology. As almost every college student knows,
kinesiology is just a fancy word for good old-fashioned P.E.
JOHN BAKER, Arcata, Calif.

As an adult literacy tutor for the past four years I have
tutored learning-disabled and mentally handicapped students, one
of whom has attention deficit disorder. All my adult students
have shown up for their classes. If LoVett can show up for
basketball practice, he can show up for classes and tutoring
sessions. It's time he accepted responsibility for his actions,
or nonactions, in the classroom.


I enjoyed your article on Tara Lipinsky's win at the U.S. Figure
Skating Championships (Kid Stuff, Feb. 24), but this event was
not just about the ladies. What about Todd Eldredge winning his
fourth men's title, Elizabeth Punsalan and Jerod Swallow winning
their fourth dance title and Kyoko Ina and Jason Dungjen winning
their first pairs title? They deserve recognition.
L. VARITES, Newark, Del.

Michelle Kwan is only 16 and was under tremendous pressure. I
could understand running one picture of her falling, but four?
LINDA THALL, Los Angeles

COLOR PHOTO: TOM DIPACE Grudzielanek has the glove--and the bat--to rank with the best new shortstops. [Mark Grudzielanek]