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The Big Unit

It's true that Randy Johnson is off to a great start this season,
but I would think twice before granting him the adoration that
your article did (Total Command, May 8). He finished 6-0 in
April, but how many of the players that he faced would have been
in the major leagues 20, or even 10 years ago? How would Steve
Carlton, Bob Gibson or Tom Seaver have done against Eric Owens
and Aramis Ramirez?
BILL COBB, Tallahassee, Fla.

While there's no doubt that Johnson is the most dominant pitcher
in baseball, it's only fair to point out that in 1998 he went
9-10 for the Mariners and then, following a July 31 trade to the
Astros, finished the season at 19-11. He was unhappy in Seattle,
and his performance reflected that. Ten-game turnarounds don't
happen as the result of just a change in scenery, especially
going from one dome (Kingdome) to another (Astrodome). Perhaps
Johnson should explain the first half of 1998 to Mariners fans.

I've always felt that we lost Ken Griffey Jr. not this winter,
but when Seattle traded Johnson. You don't let the best
lefthanded pitcher of his generation leave without consequences.
Losing Johnson was the beginning of the end for Junior and the
SAM VAN FLEET, Vashon, Wash.

Their Cup Runneth Over

Kostya Kennedy's piece on the appeal of playoff hockey hit the
nail on the head (SCORECARD, May 8). When you walk into an arena
the night of a game, the air is crackling with electricity and
excitement. His description of the passion and emotion was right
JOHN DANIELS, Brockport, N.Y.

Here's another reason that the Stanley Cup playoffs is the
greatest show on earth: There's no time like overtime in the
playoffs. The intensity in games is such that you find yourself
holding your breath on every rush up the ice, because you never
know if it will be the last.
CRIS SCHUTZ, Belmont, Calif.

Even more reasons: because you will sit on the edge of your seat
for seven long hours, living and dying with every check
delivered, every shot taken; because you will stay up until 2:30
in the morning watching a game in which neither of the two teams
competing are among those you usually cheer for.
GEOFF RUGGERO, Concord, Ont.

No Time for the Ticker

Thank you, Jack McCallum, for your attack on the ubiquitous
sports ticker, which has earned a spot alongside expansion,
rising ticket prices and criminal behavior by athletes as one of
today's most detestable sports trends (SCORECARD, May 8).
DAN O'SULLIVAN, Medfield, Mass.

Tell McCallum that black electrical tape is the easiest to use
and works the best at blocking out the ticker.

Corey's Story

Thank you for publishing Rick Reilly's article The Biggest Play
of His Life (THE LIFE OF REILLY, May 1). Gay and lesbian
teenagers need role models their own age to give them the courage
to be themselves.
JODY WILSON, Pittsburgh

Inner courage and victories of the spirit are as important as
those physical feats that provide great photo opportunities.
Reilly's column about the courage of Corey Johnson in coming out
and the response of his teammates and coach is a story of
championship spirit and class.
MICHAEL ST. CLAIR, Auburndale, Mass.

I was deeply offended by Reilly's article. He praised Johnson as
a hero for being an openly gay leader. The Bible specifically
labels homosexuality as a sin. If God isn't tolerant of
homosexuality, why should I be?

I was impressed with Randy Johnson until I read the chart and
realized that he was still almost 3,000 strikeouts behind Nolan