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I would like to get Jim Bowden to negotiate the purchase of my
next car.
--MIKE TARKETT, Mount Laurel, N.J.


I think it's great Ken Griffey Jr. accepted less money to play
for a small-market team (Home Economics, Feb. 21). However, the
way he held the Mariners hostage for four months is good for
nobody except Griffey and the Reds. Seattle had no choice but to
accept anything Cincinnati offered. When a player has that much
power to decide where he'll play, it's bad for the game.
GREG PAYTON, Sherwood, Ore.

I'm appalled at Griffey's lack of loyalty or courtesy toward the
Mariners, but I appreciate that a player already making millions
decided not to try to break the bank.
Fairfax, Va.

What a magnificent job Reds general manager Jim Bowden did in
getting Griffey. He kept his composure and didn't give up or
give in. Bowden was able to keep Cincinnati's young and talented
players. He should not have the title of general manager but
that of general genius.
Corbin, Ky.

Let's not get carried away with praise for Bowden. Unhappy with
Mariners management and Safeco Field, Griffey forced the trade
to Cincinnati with his 10-and-five rights. Bowden and the Reds
simply accepted the silver platter when it was handed to them.
Mukilteo, Wash.

There is a typo on the cover of your Feb. 21 issue. The headline
Maple Valley, Wash.

Why couldn't Griffey simply move his family to Seattle? There
are homes, schools and stores there, and it is a beautiful city.
Will Junior be going home to his family in Florida after each
home game in Cincinnati? Or was this trade to the Reds simply
another case of a rich, self-centered superstar who wanted what
he wanted, and that was reason enough? No matter how you dress
it up as a matter of family values, it still smells bad.
Eugene, Ore.

Takes on Thomas

Thanks to Michael Silver for his touching open letter to kids
about Derrick Thomas (Scorecard, Feb. 21). It's a letter I plan
to save for the kids I hope to have someday. I had no inkling
about how great a human being Thomas was until he had passed
away. The NFL and other leagues should make sure every living
player with Thomas's altruism gets his share of publicity, even
if he's only a backup player.

Silver's tribute to Thomas was touching. At the end he writes
that Thomas would tell his young fans to wear their seat belts.
I think a lasting tribute to Thomas's memory would be an NFL
campaign to promote seat belt use.
PATSY THEOBALD, Waukesha, Wis.

Why would Silver address a letter to kids that glorifies
drinking beer in dark alleys, questioning authority and "living
every day as if it were your last"? That's just what America
needs, more kids doing whatever they feel like doing whenever
they want. If you want to write something like this for adults,
fine. Please be more responsible when speaking to kids.
JERRY R. TRUELOVE, Quapaw, Okla.

Future Shock

Your "This Week's Sign That the Apocalypse Is Upon Us" for Feb.
21 was interesting (Scorecard). However, it certainly wasn't the
biggest harbinger of impending doom in that week's issue. A
scarier omen was printed a few pages earlier in the "Go Figure"
section: pro wrestlers holding down spots No. 1 and No. 4 on The
New York Times best-seller list.
KEVIN TLOUGAN, River Falls, Wis.

Faithful Retainers

From a strategic standpoint, the Bills probably made a smart
decision in releasing Bruce Smith, Thurman Thomas and Andre Reed
(Inside the NFL, Feb. 21). Buffalo has drafted well over the
years and has young talent ready to replace those fading stars.
However, it's a shame that teams are left with no choice but to
cut future Hall of Famers because of the salary cap. Perhaps if
the NFL implemented a policy that would make players with 10 or
more years of service to an organization exempt from the salary
cap, loyalty would still fit into the equation.
DAVID WORLOCK, Arkadelphia, Ark.

Time for the Sunblock

This is your best swimsuit issue yet, and I have seen them all
(WINTER 2000). The 3-D section alone shows why SI is synonymous
with unsurpassed photojournalism.

Let's make a deal: You don't sully our subscription by printing
any more articles about Dennis Rodman, the most self-absorbed,
overindulged player ever to put on a uniform in the NBA, and
I'll spare you another letter questioning the motives behind
your swimsuit issue.
LAURA B. BROWN, Pinetop, Ariz.

One of the funniest things I've seen was on a flight the day the
issue came out. On my way back to my seat from the forward
lavatory, I noticed that fully half of the men were wearing the
3-D glasses. It looked like a charter flight from a cataract
BLAINE JOHNSON, Clearwater, Fla.

At least you won't be getting inundated with a lot of letters
about provocative poses and skimpy suits in the swimsuit issue
this year. You sure toned it down from past years.

The only saving grace in watching my husband savor your swimsuit
issue is how dopey he looks wearing the 3-D glasses.
KAREN MARKS, Beverly Hills, Calif.

Let me get this straight. You put THIS SIDE TOWARD FACE on the
3-D glasses because you thought that we drooling cretins could
not put them on without directions?

Three-D glasses? Unbelievable. What's next year's toy going to
be? A neat-o Batman decoder ring?

How about a pair of X-ray vision glasses next year?
FRED RINDGE, Charleston, S.C.

I'm a longtime reader, and the swimsuit issue is the only one I
look at front-to-back and, thus, don't read THE LIFE OF REILLY
first. Sorry Rick, gotta have priorities!
BRIAN BASSAGE, University Place, Wash.

Great photos of great bodies in great suits! You've done it
again, but this year, finally, someone has put it all into
perspective for those guys who would love to take out Heidi.
Thanks to Reilly for recognizing the appearance-versus-reality
theme. Too bad most of your male readers won't make it to the
last page to read it.
SARA ANN THOMAS, Allentown, Pa.

I couldn't help but notice Ben Crenshaw's bracelet with the
initials WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?). Standing beside Crenshaw
was his bikini-clad wife. This scene made me ask myself: If
Jesus were married, would he let his bikini-wearing wife pose in
KEITH MYERS, Fortson, Ga.

Please cancel my office subscription immediately. Send all future
copies directly to my apartment.

The swimsuit issue will continue to disappoint as long as you
employ models who appear to subsist on a diet composed of little
more than a couple of carrot sticks a day. Most of the models
you chose appeared unable to fill out the swimsuits they were
TERRY T. MARK, Elkhart, Ind.

Where are the wonderful smiles of the all-American girls next
door, like Cheryl Tiegs and Christie Brinkley?
CHRISTIAN BENDIXEN, Pleasanton, Calif.

What bothers me are all these people who read or look at every
page of the swimsuit issue and find time to write in and
complain about it. They know what they will see beforehand and
are just as excited to review the issue as the people who are in
favor of it. If it is so offensive, they should not pick it up.
BRIAN K. MCCLESKEY, Bayou Vista, Texas

Short Shrift

I was disappointed to hear of Tom Landry's passing, but I was
even more disappointed to see that you felt his contribution to
sports was only worthy of a sidebar (Inside the NFL, Feb. 21).
Instead of putting a true gentleman on the cover, you chose
Griffey, a spoiled brat.
MARC JOHNSON, Lower Gwynedd, Pa.

Tragedy and Hope

Thanks to E.M. Swift for writing such a stirring article about
Derek Paulsen and Eva Wahlstrom and their families (Custer's
Fallen Warrior, Feb. 21). Derek and Eva were extraordinary young
adults, but, more important, they were as modest as they were
talented. In today's sports world, people think it's a tragedy
when their team doesn't win the Super Bowl. A real tragedy is
when a parent has to bury a child.

While Swift's article moved me to tears, it also left me with a
sense of hope and respect for the human spirit in its
description of the Wiping of the Tears rite. The story not only
told the tale of the importance of high school sports to a
community, but it also did much more.
THOM HARNETT, Gardiner, Maine

Bulldogs Bark

You mistakenly identified Butler University as being in the
Mid-Continent Conference (Big Mac Attack, Feb. 28). Butler is
the champion of the Midwestern Collegiate Conference and earned
its third NCAA tournament bid in four years.
Assistant Sports Information Director
Butler University


Replaced by a Legend

Thank you for the thought-provoking article on Trent Green (No
Day at the Beach, Feb. 21). Green's situation is reminiscent of
that of the Colts' George Shaw (above), who was injured and
replaced by a sandlot quarterback named Johnny Unitas.
JACK TITUS, Portland

How exactly am I supposed to pretend to read the articles in the
swimsuit issue while wearing those goofy glasses?