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The problem isn't the length of baseball games, it's that Rick
Reilly has the attention span of a five-year-old.
--JOHN OSTER, New Haven, Conn.


Your SCORECARD item headlined "Preretirement Homes" (Oct. 16)
showed that superstars' stats often suffer when they go from
being one team's icon to another's prized antique, but that's not
the whole story. You don't mention what it means for people to be
able to honor those athletes at the end of their careers. I went
to Tiger Stadium with my dad to see Henry Aaron as he was
finishing his career with the Brewers. Before the game I spent
time near Milwaukee's dugout, hoping for a closer glimpse of the
greatest baseball player ever. I didn't get Aaron's autograph,
but I got the chance to see him play. That was thrill enough. Now
I'll make sure my son, Hunter, gets a chance to see Patrick
Muscle Shoals, Ala.


Now I know why I watch major league baseball on TV for no longer
than 10 minutes at a stretch (THE LIFE OF REILLY, Oct. 16). Rick
Reilly covered it so succinctly. All that time-consuming
posturing, scratching, cap-tugging, chewing and spitting is
dreadful. We don't commit enough sins to deserve that.
JOE TEELEY, Ellensburg, Wash.

I didn't have any sick yaks to milk, but I was so bored with
playoff baseball that I opted to watch VH1's 100 Greatest Dance
Songs instead. Even disco hits from the 1970s were more
entertaining. This comes from a Cubs fan who once cut out the
pages of his French textbook to smuggle a radio into school to
listen to World Series games (which obviously did not feature
his favorite team).
TIM TERCHEK, Wilmette, Ill.

Reilly nailed it when he called televised baseball games boring.
Who could enjoy watching Roger Clemens at age 38 strike out 15
batters in a playoff game? How boring is it to watch Timo Perez
come from nowhere and help carry the Mets with his bat, glove
and speed? Jim Edmonds? Alex Rodriguez? Coma-inducing.
DAN KARSON, Mamaroneck, N.Y.

Reilly complains that the playoff game he watched on television
took more than three hours to play but included only 12 minutes,
22 seconds of action. That's a strange argument coming from
somebody who writes so passionately about golf.

Sitting in the hot sun in the bleachers for more than three
hours is worse than baseball on TV. At least I sit in a
comfortable chair and get a cold drink anytime I want.
RAY PRESTON, Davie, Fla.

After such an attack on our national pastime, I hope Reilly has
no upcoming assignments on the Constitution, the Statue of
Liberty or my mom's apple pie.
JOSH HALL, Terre Haute, Ind.


Steve Rushin deserves a pat on the back, a standing O for his
article on cliches (AIR AND SPACE, Oct. 16). Though he started
off slowly, got stuck in a rut and made a few wrong turns, he
eventually recovered, made some adjustments, got it going and
kicked it into high gear. He's the cat's meow, a swell guy, one
of a kind, one in a million, A-number-one!
BOB SELCOE, Cypress, Texas

I thought Rushin really stepped up; he obviously had his game
face on. The bottom line is he hit the nail on the head and hit
the ball out of the park with his dead-on analysis.
GARY BRADT, Greensboro, N.C.

Rushin forgot the biggest cliche of all: It's not about the money.
RON IVERSON, Helena, Mont.

Are you sure about your byline? I would swear that was written
by Cubs radio man Ron Santo.


As a longtime fan of the Penguins I felt compelled to write
after reading in your hockey preview (NHL SCOUTING REPORTS, Oct.
16) that Pittsburgh goalie Jean-Sebastien Aubin "lost his job to
Ron Tugnutt with three games left in the regular season and
didn't play a minute in the playoffs." Anyone reading this would
assume that Aubin lost his job because he was beaten out by a
better goalie. This was not the case. Tugnutt started because
Aubin sprained his ankle late in the season.

Long, Strong and Wrong

Recreational golf does not need another nonconforming club on the
market (MY SHOT, Oct. 30). Distance in recreational golf is
overrated. High handicappers will just hit the ball a little
farther off the fairway and deeper into the woods. Have you
watched the seniors play at your local course? They're able to
shoot their age because they hit the ball straight, with little
concern for distance. Their shots to the green are either on or
near the fringe. They chip up and make their putt. We need clubs
that guarantee straight shots and, thus, four-hour rounds.
JIM RUSSELL, Westland, Mich.

No Wriggle Room

Let me get this straight. Arnold Palmer signs a 12-year contract
with Callaway Golf and--suddenly--endorses illegal clubs
(NOTEBOOK, Oct. 30). When I and a million others play our
Saturday morning matches, we play by the rules. If we don't, the
game is meaningless. What would you suggest about turning in
scores made using illegal equipment for handicaps? Will illegal
equipment be marked with a bright ribbon to identify it? Will
there be a warning label? Shame on you, Arnold Palmer.
Abington, Mass.

The Rules of Golf

Your attempt to paint the American women as the villains at last
month's Solheim Cup matches was uncalled for (Slam, Bam, Thank
You, Uncle Sam, Oct. 16). The responsibility to determine who
plays first should belong squarely with the players, and each
should be certain of whose turn it is before she plays--making
assumptions only leads to trouble. It didn't work out that way in
this case. I guess that's why there's an official accompanying
each foursome. Perhaps in the future we should only apply the
rules when they don't matter and overlook them when it's
politically incorrect for the U.S. to benefit. In five minutes
Annika Sorenstam went from world-class golfer to world-class
West Des Moines, Iowa

What will happen the next time a player from Europe makes a
great shot? Will the Americans ask for the dimples to be counted
on the golf ball or the spikes be measured? Good thing Annika
replayed the shot, otherwise I bet a Supreme Court date would be
in the works.
Niagara Falls, Ont.

Ignorance of a rule can excuse one from not calling an infraction
but does not give one leave to deride someone who does know the
rules. The decline in the enforcement of written rules in sports
has led to the phantom double play and the altered strike zone in
baseball, and walking, palming the ball and ignored physical
contact in basketball. Golf is about the only sport left with any
semblance of respect for the rules and etiquette.
JOHN O'BRIANT, Unionville, Conn.

Five-Ring Circus

Thanks for the great review of the fabulous Sydney Games in your
Olympic commemorative issue (Oct. 18). The photography was
wonderful, and, conveniently enough, the 3D glasses nicely
replaced the ones I'd lost from the swimsuit issue.
JOHN PEARSON, Royal Oak, Mich.

Lose the 3D photos and the stupid glasses that accompany them.
Wearing my reading glasses is trouble enough. I don't need
trickery to appreciate SI's superb photos.
GREG TOMS, Chambersburg, Pa.

Thanks to Rick Reilly for the excellent story about Equatorial
Guinea swimmer Paula Barila Bolopa (Day 8: Unsynchronized
Swimming). It's the best article I've read about the 2000 Games.

As I read Reilly's article, I was appalled. Inge de Bruijn may be
a gold medalist, but she's no champion. Maybe her sports
psychologist can help her develop a behavior modification plan
that includes the grace and humility expected of a champion.
Paula Barila Bolopa is the true champion. Imagine having the guts
to perform in front of so many fans knowing you'll finish last,
or imagine having the tenacity to train in shark-infested waters.
I saw de Bruijn swim. I wish I had seen Barila Bolopa swim
B. CLARK, Oxford, Pa.

Team Work

On par with the tired act that has become the NBA's involvement
with the Olympics is the media's continued use of the term Dream
Team (Day 7: Turn Out the Lights). That label is not only
inappropriate, it's inaccurate. Before the 1992 Games, fans
dreamed about what it would be like to see Larry Bird, Magic
Johnson and Michael Jordan play on the same team. The same could
not be said of the teams sent to the Olympics in Atlanta or
Sydney. Few, if any, fans ever dreamed about watching Shareef
Abdur-Rahim, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett playing together.
BRIAN C. GURA, Redondo Beach, Calif.

Though I enjoyed your coverage of the U.S. women's soccer team, I
am disappointed by the article Golden Game. Steve Rushin
describes Norway's victory over the U.S. in the final as soccer's
version of the Miracle on Ice. Norway won the 1995 World Cup and
is the only team with a winning record against the Americans.
Rushin was correct when he described the match as one of the best
ever. But an upset it was not.
AMY CRAYS, Grantham, Pa.


COLOR PHOTO: JACQUELINE DUVOISIN Sorenstam (above) saw red at this year's Solheim Cup.


Another case of an athlete going out with a fizzle on a
different team was Dolphin-turned-Giant Larry Csonka (39), whose
only New York highlight was botching Joe Pisarcik's handoff with
31 seconds to play, which resulted in the Eagles' Miracle at the
Meadowlands victory in 1978.