I'm glad you reminded this Giants fan why my favorite member of
the team is a 50-year-old man who hasn't played a game since
--RYAN SULLIVAN, Fort McMurray, Alberta
DUSTY'S FAN CLUB
I enjoyed reading about San Francisco Giants manager Dusty Baker
(Easy Rider, Aug. 23). He is truly a player's manager. If you
need proof, look at his newborn son, who's named after one of
Dusty's former players, Darren Lewis. The baby's godfather is
another of Dusty's former players, Willie McGee. I hope that
Dusty's laid-back approach rubs off on other managers and that
race is eliminated as a factor in hiring managers.
ADAM DICK, Cranberry Township, Pa.
Growing up a sports fan in Los Angeles in the late 1970s and
early '80s, a kid had many choices for a favorite athlete: Magic
Johnson, who was flashy and creative; Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who
was stoic and dominant; and Steve Garvey, who appeared to be the
perfect all-American. Mine was Dusty Baker, though I could never
figure out why. Thank you for the explanation.
DANNY KING, Santa Monica, Calif.
As a 50-year-old male growing up in the same era as Dusty, my
idol was Martin Luther King Jr. I do believe that the night Mr.
King had his dream, the person he was dreaming of was Dusty
Baker. Baker is living the American Dream.
TERRY HOWE, Evansville, Ind.
I was inspired as I read the story of Bill May's perseverance
and commitment to synchronized swimming (Out of Synch, Aug. 23).
That led to dismay as I read the last line, which quoted one of
his teammates saying, "He'll be a hero someday." Look again.
That guy holding his breath underwater with a smile on his face
is already a hero.
KATHY FAZZALARO, Waltham, Mass.
I've been fairly successful in life because my dad taught me a
valuable lesson: Follow your dream, just don't pick a
knuckleheaded dream. A grown man taking up a woman's sport--and
it's not even so much a sport as a performance art--falls into
the knucklehead category.
JEFF SCHEIDEL, Chicago
My heart bleeds for Bill May. As a pre-Title IX female, it's
easy to empathize with him for being excluded from the thing he
does best and wants to do most. Maybe someday the sports world
will stop spinning out of balance, and another deserving white
male athlete will be allowed to rise from the ranks of the
oppressed. Dare William May dream? Maybe someday he'll be on the
cover of SI's swimsuit issue.
DEBORAH HOWLETT, Chicago
It's about time that you gave some much overdue exposure to the
great American pastime of synchronized swimming. I eagerly await
the next issue's article on same-sex ballroom dancing, another
great American pastime.
STEVE JOHNSON, Ham Lake, Minn.
PROFILE IN COURAGE
Just when I think that all of the stories behind the Columbine
tragedy have become public, Rick Reilly tells us another. God
bless you, Dawn Anna. May you one day find the peace and
understanding you seek.
WILL BOYD, Spartanburg, S.C.
Everyone thought I was crazy: Here I was, 6'4" and 250 pounds,
sitting in my office and crying while reading a sports magazine.
What a touching story.
SEAN SCULLY, Loveland, Colo.
Rick Reilly, I don't think I will ever figure you out. One week
you have me cursing you after your thrashing of Los Angeles and
my beloved Dodgers and Lakers (THE LIFE OF REILLY, Aug. 16), and
the next you have me forgiving you after reading your
compassionate story of Dawn Anna. I applaud you for your
ability--whether I agree with you or not.
ASHVIN LAD, Bloomington, Ind.
THE NAME GAME
Your story regarding naming rights for stadiums and other sports
venues (SCORECARD, Aug. 23) was on the money. Jerry Buss may
have been the first owner to sell naming rights, but in 1972
Erie (N.Y.) County sold the name of the Buffalo Bills' new
stadium to the Rich Products Corporation, much to the chagrin of
Bills owner Ralph Wilson, who initially refused to call the
place Rich Stadium in press releases.
SHAWN REILLY, Port St. Lucie, Fla.
--Interestingly, when they agreed to a new lease on the stadium
with the State of New York in 1997, the Bills decided not to
sell the naming rights. The facility was renamed Ralph Wilson
Stadium last December. --ED.
When I joined the Dallas Cowboys Radio Network in 1995, I was
faced with the problem of what to call the stadiums which had
sold their naming rights to various corporations. My solution:
Since the sponsors were willing to pay the stadium authorities
for the rights, they could pay us, too. So, as soon as those
companies buy commercials on our broadcast, I will use their
names for their ballparks. Until then, the 49ers play at
Candlestick Park, the Dolphins at Joe Robbie Stadium, etc.
What happens when Jerry Jones sells the naming rights to Texas
Stadium? I will then call it whatever he wants me to call it.
MARK ORISTANO, KVIL-FM, Dallas
You indicate that Moses Malone was the first NBA player to skip
college and go straight to the NBA (SCORECARD, Aug. 23). There
was a 7-footer named Reggie Harding, drafted out of high school
by the Detroit Pistons in the early 1960s, who may well have
been the first NBA player to skip college.
DAVID L. JOHNSON, Olathe, Kans.
So San Francisco's Pacific Bell Park will have a 24-foot-high
rightfield wall and a 420-foot power alley in right centerfield
(INSIDE BASEBALL, Aug. 23)? Did the Giants forget that the best
power hitter in their lineup is the lefthanded Barry Bonds?
Well, Bonds's power numbers are about to take a serious
nosedive. What the old Yankee Stadium was to righthanded hitters
(460 feet to the wall in the left center power alley) the new
park in San Francisco will be to lefties. Prediction: Bonds will
demand a trade.
MIKE BUCCI, Glen Burnie, Md.
WHAT ABOUT WEINKE?
I find it hard to believe that your list of top 10 college
football players returning from injury did not include Florida
State quarterback Chris Weinke (INSIDE COLLEGE FOOTBALL, Aug.
23). His season-ending neck injury probably cost the Seminoles
the national title last year. Weinke is the starting quarterback
on the No. 1 team in the nation.
DAVID STONE, Reston, Va.
HOLD THAT TIGER
I read with interest Alan Shipnuck's article on Tiger Woods's
winning the PGA Championship, but I disagree that Tiger's
maturation is complete or that he is now a "golfer for the ages"
(A New Twist, Aug. 23). Tiger still shows some flashes of
disrespect for custom, tradition and experience. Shipnuck's
examples of Tiger's firing his caddie and agent are hardly signs
of maturity. Whatever one thinks of Fluff Cowan and Hughes
Norton, they held Tiger in check when his own relative
immaturity demanded it--and they helped make him very rich.
Tiger owns two major titles and has accomplished feats to last a
lifetime, but the worst thing we can do right now is to
prematurely proclaim his greatness.
J.T. PAULK, Atlanta
As much as I enjoyed watching Sunday's battle between Woods and
Sergio Garcia, your article could have included more than six
words about Mike Weir, who was perched at the top of the leader
board after 54 holes.
LAYTON SHUMWAY, Provo, Utah
SELFLESS, NOT SELFISH
Printing Craig Lesly's letter accusing Sandy Koufax of putting
himself above the team by refusing to pitch on Yom Kippur shows
your ignorance as well as Mr. Lesly's (LETTERS, Aug. 23). Mr.
Koufax's decision not to pitch on the holiest day of his
religious year had nothing to do with himself and everything to
do with the fact that some things are more important than a
sporting event. Had Mr. Koufax been concerned with only himself,
he would have pitched that World Series game for the Dodgers
against the Twins. Perhaps that should be food for thought while
some of us are watching football this December 25th.
DAVID ZOLET, Columbia, Md.
COLOR PHOTO: COURTESY OF THE ANNA FAMILY --Anna and her daughter in a favorite family photo taken in 1991 when Lauren was 10. --ED.
Thanks for the wonderful piece on Dawn Anna, Columbine High's
former girls' volleyball coach and the mother of slain student
Lauren Townsend (THE LIFE OF REILLY, Aug. 23). What an
inspiration. Thanks to you, Dawn Anna, for being an example of
the faith and determination we all need.
LEANN HICKS, Sand Springs, Okla.
Tiger Woods gets another cover for winning his second major,
while Steffi Graf retires after winning 22 Grand Slam titles and
only gets one page?
--MARTHA LAURA RIVERA, Austin