Unfortunately, athletes today face the choice of using drugs or
competing at a disadvantage.
STEPHEN P. COURSON, Former NFL Player, Pittsburgh
Although your article about steroids and other banned substances
dealt primarily with Olympic athletes (Over the Edge, April 14),
its subject could just as well have been pro-team sports,
particularly football. The article spelled out what common sense
should have told us: 325-pound offensive linemen should not
naturally be able to run a 4.8 40-yard dash--or even weigh 325
JAMES L. KEENAN, Sacramento
The article points out the shortcomings of organizations that
are actively involved in the fight against performance-enhancing
drugs but fails to mention those competitions in which antidrug
measures are not taken. The ironic consequence is the perception
that organizations that actively fight doping are alone
blameworthy for the proliferation in the use of these drugs.
It is essential that all sports--pro and amateur--have a firm
commitment to eradicate doping. The IOC produces a list of
prohibited substances and regularly accredits laboratories to
conduct doping controls. We have won important battles, even if
we have not yet won the war.
FRANCOIS CARRARD, Director General
International Olympic Committee
DID SHE OR DIDN'T SHE?
To say, as Michael Bamberger's story does, that reasonable men
may differ over whether gold medalist Michelle Smith has taken
performance-enhancing drugs is simply not reasonable (Under
Suspicion, April 14). All her evasiveness during drug-testing
periods, her preference for the Netherlands, where drugs are
liberally distributed, her unprecedented improvement at an
advanced age and the fact that most performance-enhancing drugs
are undetectable lead to the conclusion that Smith has used drugs.
JOHN VINCENT MOLITOR, Columbus, Ohio
It seems ridiculous that American reporters pursue an Irish
swimmer across the Atlantic for her suspected drug use when
every year they encounter, en masse, U.S. football players, pro
and college, who are obvious poster boys for steroids.
MATT CHANEY, Warrensburg, Mo.
After I read your steroids articles, it was hard not to flip
back to the story about Orioles centerfielder Brady Anderson,
which preceded them. Anderson's "no rhyme or reason" increase in
home run production looks suspicious when compared with Michelle
Smith's similarly unprecedented showing at the Olympics.
ROBERT POWELL, Miami Beach
LEADING OFF MAN
Your article on Brady Anderson (Brady Hits 'em in Bunches, April
14) did nothing to explain the illogic of his batting leadoff.
Certainly the list of others who have hit 50 home runs in a
season didn't help; every one of them batted either third or
fourth. I suspect the reason for keeping Anderson at leadoff
involves little more than inertia and fear: Anderson is stuck in
his ways, and his manager, Davey Johnson, is fearful that if he
moves Anderson down in the lineup, Anderson's production will
fall off. As a result, a lot of what could be three-run home
runs will continue to come with the bases empty.
RANDALL SCHAU, Kalamazoo, Mich.
In the pitching summary of box scores (POINT AFTER, April 21), I
suggest replacing cumbersome fractions (1/3, 2/3 or 1-3, 2-3)
with decimals (.1, .2). We aficionados will understand that in
the box score 3.1 means 3 1/3. Further, when a starting pitcher
is taken out in an inning before anyone is retired, show this
with, say, 4.0, to distinguish his being replaced between
innings, which could be shown as 4. Same for a relief pitcher
who starts an inning and is replaced without a batter being
retired in that inning. Usually we can figure this out, but
using the .0 would make it clear right away.
TED YOUNG, Santa Fe, N.Mex.
B/W PHOTO: COURTESY OF ESPN INC. [Jason Kidd, Dan Patrick and Keith Olberman in ESPN TV commercial]
How could you have omitted from your top-five ESPN commercials
(SCORECARD, April 28) Dan Patrick (center) and Keith Olbermann's
meeting Jason Kidd as he arrives by helicopter to hand deliver
that day's taped highlights? They ask, "Sure you can't stay?"
Kidd replies, "I gotta get back. I have an early practice
DAVE COX, Maumee, Ohio