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Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson (The Power of Two, Dec. 17)
were not only good, they were gutsy. That separates them from
the others.

This is one Yankees fan who won't argue with the choice of
Schilling and Johnson as Sportsmen of the Year. However, if
Mariano Rivera had made a good throw to second base in the ninth
inning of Game 7, the Yankees probably would have gotten a
double play and won another World Series. Maybe then Rivera
would have been named Sportsman for leading the Yankees to
another championship. What a difference one play makes.

I applaud Johnson's humble statement, "Those guys did it for
many years," in discussing his and Schilling's combined
regular-season and postseason record (52-13) compared with that
of Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale in 1965 (52-22). Also consider
that in a four-man rotation Koufax (41) and Drysdale (42)
started 83 of the Dodgers' 162 regular-season games that year.
Johnson's and Schilling's attitudes truly befit the honor you
have given them and express the continuity that makes baseball a
great game. Your choices for the award were exactly what
baseball and the nation needed this year.
MARK ROSENBERG, Boca Raton, Fla.

Your picking of Johnson and Schilling would be quite sensible in
any other year, but this is not any other year. You should have
chosen those four heroic sportsmen who died while trying to take
back control of doomed United Airlines Flight 93. A close second
choice would have been the members of the FDNY and NYPD who
showed us the true meaning of sports: putting the performance of
the team--in this case, the lives of their fellow
citizens--ahead of oneself.
JEFFREY S. BENDER, Edmond, Okla.

Since your story on Johnson and Schilling focuses on father-son
relationships, it's appropriate that my father and I--who both
live in the Pacific Northwest--share a singular vision of
"Sportsman" Randy Johnson. Whenever his name is mentioned, we
remember that during the first half of the 1998 season he
performed in less than stellar fashion (9-10, 4.33 ERA) while
publicly demanding that the Seattle Mariners trade him. Once he
was traded to the Houston Astros, he suddenly regained his form
(10-1, 1.28 ERA). It is sad you chose to honor such a selfish
individual. Congratulations to Curt Schilling for being named
Sportsman of the Year.
MARK FANCEY, Willamina, Ore.

Paying His Own Way

I applaud Governor Jesse Ventura for his stand against using
public funds to build a stadium for the Minnesota Twins
(SCORECARD, Dec. 17). I live in a city where the local
teams--the Colts and the Pacers--have also cried poverty to get
the taxpayers to pick up the tab for new digs. Many of those
taxpayers can't afford to set foot in these stadiums. We also
have in our city an incredible racetrack (maybe you've heard of
it) that hosts a mere three events a year. The president, Tony
George, continually updates his facility without screaming at
the city leaders that he needs their help to keep going. Maybe
these other so-called businessmen should drop by Tony's office
to see how he does it.
JANE BREWSTER, Indianapolis

They Grow Up So Fast

Rick Reilly's column on Ty Tryon (THE LIFE OF REILLY, Dec. 17)
reminded me of the time about 16 years ago when, while watching
a very young Boris Becker triumph at Wimbledon, I jokingly asked
my 16-year-old son, Billy, when he was going to make something
of himself. About two years ago Billy asked me during a round of
golf what I thought Becker was doing now and reminded me that
he, Billy, was in his orthopedic surgery residency. "I've come a
long way since my 16th birthday," he said. Rick, give your son
some time. He may become a sportswriter someday.
Sioux Center, Iowa

The SI Dictionary?

Jim Haslett (Still Not a Saint, Dec. 17) n 1 : one who parties
hard 2 : a hard drinker 3 : someone who enjoys using four-letter
words 4 : a man who delights in fighting others in bars 5 : oh,
yeah, but he's got his players' backs. Synonym: juvenile.
JEFF FORD, Naperville, Ill.

Do Unto Others

The secret of Steve Nash's success (The Tao of Steve, Dec. 17)?
He has learned that the more one gives, the more one receives.
It would be a better world if we could all be so wise.
JOHN BEISNER, Newport Beach, Calif.


What's He Got to Do?

Lance Armstrong wins the world's most grueling sports event for
the third year in a row, does so while making sure his main
competitor (Jan Ullrich, far right, with Armstrong) can get back
in the race following a horrific spill and is an inspiration to
cancer patients, and he's still not Sportsman of the Year?
MARK ARNOLD, Lower Gwynedd, Pa.