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Original Issue


Monday Night Madden

BAM! goes my heart. I couldn't be happier that John Madden will
be on Monday Night Football (Monday Evening Quarterback, July
29). In recent years I've been watching with the sound muted. The
only thing better would be to hear that Al Michaels is gone.
JEANINE MATTISON, Williamsburg, Ky.

After the Ball

Gary Smith's article The Ball (July 29) was one of the most
engrossing pieces I've ever read in SI. It illuminates the lives
of two men whose paths crossed over a sporting spheroid, and it
illustrates that our land of freedom and opportunity is also a
place where violence, greed and litigiousness reign. Only in
America could such a comic opera play out.
San Francisco

This is an opportunity to be bigger men and not petty by
splitting the proceeds from the ball. I suggest Patrick Hayashi
and Alex Popov read The Pearl, by John Steinbeck, in which a man
finds a perfect pearl, but due to his greed and the desire of
others to possess it, all that was valuable to him is lost.
JERRY BOGGIO, Lawrence, Mass.

During my first year as a high school English teacher, in
2001-02, the students in my contemporary literature class were
privileged to read two Gary Smith stories--Shadow of a Nation
(Feb. 18, 1991) and The Chosen One (Nov. 5, 2001). Since I have
read The Ball, I desperately want them to study a third. Smith's
stories transcend sports and cut to the core of modern America.
Before I was an English teacher I was a sportswriter. Now I feel
even better about my decision to give up that career. No one can
compete with Smith.

I wish that Barry had hit the ball during a road game in Chicago,
with Harry Caray's voice saying, "it might be, it could be, it
is!" And as Barry trotts around the bases, completing the circuit
of his 73rd home run, the die-hard Cubs fan tosses the ball back
on the field. After all, it was hit by a member of the opposing
team, and baseball has its traditions.
JEFF STEILEN, Louisville

Popov and Hayashi were the biggest losers on that wonderful
October day. Instead of going to the game with the anticipation
of experiencing an important moment in sports history, they went
to the game motivated simply by their selfishness and greed.
These two men didn't rob each other; they robbed themselves.
Crossett, Ark.

I felt nauseated after reading about Popov's and Hayashi's
attempts to justify fighting over a baseball by calling on the
ghosts of their dead parents and grandparents. This isn't about
racism or world war--it's about greed.

Baseball now has the ingredient to restore its status as our
national pastime: fans as greedy and ruthless as the players.
CHAD CRIDER, Wichita Falls, Texas

I did not subscribe to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED to read about fans,
lawyers and witnesses bickering over millions of dollars or to
listen to their pathetic attempts to justify it to the public. I
subscribed to SI to read about athletes, agents and owners
bickering over millions of dollars and to listen to their
pathetic attempts to justify it to the public.
JEFF A. HIATT, Atlanta

Somebody Els

Gee, Steve Rushin, I thought Ernie Els won the British Open
(Brutish Open, July 29)! After reading your article, it was hard
for me to believe that Tiger Woods didn't win. For the next major
let's see if you can do another article on the golfer who
finishes 28th.

An Ideal Man

L. Jon Wertheim's article on boxer Vernon Forrest (A Different
Kind of Champion, July 29) was a breath of fresh air. Anyone
searching for a good role model for today's youth should learn
about Forrest. He is humble, talented, holds the WBC welterweight
crown, represented our country in the Olympics, sports no
tattoos, is earning a college degree and devotes his time to
disabled adults. Thank you for printing this story about a fine
DAVE COX, Albuquerque

I'll leave the best pound-for-pound fighter ratings to the
experts. But after reading about Vernon Forrest and his company
that runs group homes for mentally disabled adults, I vote for
him as best pound-for-pound human in the boxing world.
LOU GALLIANI, San Luis Obispo, Calif.

A Death in Minnesota

I am thoroughly appalled by the lead photograph chosen to
accompany your story on the aftermath of Korey Stringer's death
from heatstroke (A Question of Life and Death, July 29). It is
demeaning and disrespectful to both Stringer and his loved ones.
The details in the article stood on their own without that
graphic picture capturing what must have been a horrific
experience that no one, especially those who loved Stringer,
should have had to relive.

As a Vikings fan I have mourned and as a practicing attorney I
have studied Korey Stringer's death. Kelci Stringer's suit only
prolongs the agony of her family and the Vikings' organization.
My experience tells me that the answers and comfort Kelci seeks
will not come via a courtroom.