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Cubs Cuties

What fun to see Chicago Cubs pitchers Kerry Wood and Mark Prior
on the cover (Double Whammy, July 7). These two wonderboys are
not only terrific at what they do but also extremely easy on the
eyes. Now, if we can only make the playoffs.
Heidi Terry
Sanford, Fla.

Skewed Voting

The ranking of Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez over Willie Mays as
the greatest living player in your 2003 Player Survey (July 7) is
discouraging proof that today's major leaguers have no concept of
the history of their own game. And this is the sport that gets
the majority of its talent from colleges?
Tom McClure, Bellmawr, N.J.

I learned all I need to know about the intelligence and level of
historical knowledge of today's players when I noticed the
omission of Stan Musial from the top six responses to the
question about the greatest living player.
Patrick B. Hayes, Urbana, Ill.

Larry Bowa is the worst manager in the major leagues? I guess we
should remember that, according to, 1.5% of those players
also voted for Babe Ruth--who has been dead since 1948--as the
greatest living player.
Mary Kelch, West Chester, Pa.

Invisible Men

I'm glad Tom Verducci wrote of baseball's vanishing
African-Americans (Blackout, July 7), addressing baseball's
tenuous future without focusing on multimillion-dollar salaries,
performance-enhancing supplements or corked bats. The real
problem with our national pastime is that kids now choose to pass
time shooting hoops, surfing the net or doing assorted other
activities. This is not a race or class issue. All young baseball
players are vanishing, not just those of African-American
Michael Helm, Aliso Viejo, Calif.

Some enterprising G.M. or owner, and I'm looking right at Billy
Beane or George Steinbrenner, is going to realize that channeling
a little money into the inner cities to develop interest in
baseball will soon return a handsome reward.
Grant Hixson
Knoxville, Tenn.

After your article on the lack of African-American players in
baseball, I look forward to an article on the lack of
European-Americans in basketball.
Gary Massengale

I have watched the demise of baseball in my own African-American
family. My father loved the game and never missed an Indians
Opening Day. I collected baseball cards and as a youth played
almost daily, but my 15-year-old son will watch games only if
nothing else is on TV. His sport is basketball. As a marketing
professional I can see that baseball has left the door open to
blacks who want to play or attend games, but I also see the NBA
sending a message saying you are cordially and enthusiastically
Robert A. Brown, Oakland

Too Generous?

The Bulls are planning on paying Jay Williams his entire $7.7
million, even though he was not injured playing basketball and
was riding the motorcycle in violation of a clause in his
contract (After the Wreck, July 7)? Please, I know many teachers
who have horrible back problems and foot injuries that came from
the job but don't qualify for short-or long-term disability
because the conditions are considered preexisting. Tell the Bulls
to take care of him, yes, but go find a more worthy cause with
the rest of that $7.7 million.
Lori Lai, Orlando

The Young and the Debtless

It amazes me that so many people are eager for 13-year-old
Michelle Wie to turn pro (Next Stop: U.S. Open, July 7). I
remember reading that 18-year-old LeBron James was too young and
immature to handle a pro career. Why is it such a heartwarming
event when children who play golf, tennis and participate in
gymnastics go for the big money, yet it's always such a tragedy
when a young man tries to get paid in the NBA?
Will Jones, Charlotte

Smells Like Teen Spirit

I must disagree with Steve Rushin about what he claims is the
worst smell in sports (AIR AND SPACE, July 7). A whole team's
hockey equipment has nothing on one soccer player's most vital
piece of gear: his gloves. Rushin probably has never had the
pleasure of sharing a ride home in the car with a teenage soccer
goalie after two hours of vigorous training. Goalie gloves,
especially well-used ones, have an odor so distinct you will
never forget it. Now that my son is playing Division I soccer at
Portland, I no longer have the pleasure of those 40-minute rides
home. I never thought I would miss that horrendous smell, but I
Pamela A. Carter, Ventura, Calif.

Rushin was exactly right about the unholy aroma of oft-used
hockey gear. However, it has nothing on the stench emanating from
Comerica Park this season.
Greg T. James, Trenton, Ont.

One of my favorite smells is the combination of exhaust fumes and
turkey legs at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. No matter if you
like F/1, IRL or NASCAR, the combined smells are intoxicating.
Tim Waldron, Baraboo, Wis.

To aging weekend athletes, all sports smell like BenGay.
Jim Guier, St. Augustine, Fla.


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