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Original Issue


Maria, Full of Grace

Thank you for putting Maria Sharapova on your cover (July 12-19).
It's interesting that she just happens to be reaching up her
skirt to grab a new ball, exposing a little extra leg. We all
know this was a coincidence and had nothing to do with her
beauty. It's obvious that if a less attractive woman had won
Wimbledon, she also would have graced the cover. That's good to
Casey Dorff Greenville, S.C.

Maria's won one Grand Slam event, but so have Anastasia Myskina,
Iva Majoli, Jana Novotna and Conchita Martinez. I don't remember
their victories earning an SI cover. What's different about
Maria? I'm guessing her ponytail, modeling contract and
aggressive agents had something to do with it. I thought the
swimsuit issue had already been published this year.
Sharon Utz, Arlington, Va.

L. Jon Wertheim was prescient. Who's That Girl? (Sept. 2, 2002)
noted, "The WTA is desperately seeking a new star to embody its
ideal of strength, attitude and sex appeal," so he created the
fictitious Simonya Popova. Sharapova's wholesome freshness,
maturity, aggressiveness and results make for an even better
Dave Heppberger, Atherton, Calif.

Past Masters

Great Where Are They Now issue (July 12-19)! Having two adopted
sons under one means I don't usually get to read all of SI.
However, this week I stayed up late. It reminds me of a lesson I
will teach my boys: It's not if you win or lose, or even how you
play the game, but how you live your life that matters.
Jeff Hayes, Pittsburgh

It's amazing how we come to admire an athlete from the past
through tales told by dads and uncles. With only those stories
and videotape, I long ago became a fan of Dick Butkus (Forever
Growlin'). Number 51's understanding of the game, coupled with
his brute strength and desire to succeed, should make him a
required subject for study in NFL locker rooms.
Michael D. Dressell, Cincinnati

It was nice that photographer Al Tielemans didn't upset Scott
Norwood by talking about his famous missed kick (A Life After
Wide Right), but you made us Bills fans live through it again!
Bonnie Kreutter Geneseo, N.Y.

I have always felt that Norwood and Bill Buckner got the rawest
deal of any two athletes in recent memory. They are each
remembered more for their one public failure than for their
stellar careers. America is a very fickle nation indeed.
Thane R. Kolarik, Pittsburgh

I disagree with the notion that Tony Mandarich was a wasted draft
pick for the Green Bay Packers (The Flip of the Flop).
Mandarich's failure turned out to be the last straw for the board
of directors in the NFL's smallest city. If the Packers had taken
Barry Sanders, it is conceivable that they would not have
continued to flounder. Tom Braatz might have kept running
football operations, and Ron Wolf would not have been hired to
take over. Coach Mike Holmgren wouldn't have replaced Lindy
Infante. They wouldn't have traded for Brett Favre, and Reggie
White would have signed with another team, and on and on. That
said, how can anyone deny that the most influential Green Bay
draft pick over the last 20 years must be Mandarich? He turned
out to be one of the people responsible for bringing the Lombardi
Trophy to Green Bay. Thank you, Tony.
Dennis Kaegi, Weston, Wis.

Yanks a Lot

For the last 12 months I have looked forward to reading the poll
results in your weekly Sports in America section, and your
national poll (July 12-19) was a fitting climax. Having the
Yankees win the Triple Crown--they were voted Favorite Team and
Most Hated Team, and George Steinbrenner won as Enemy of the
Nation--warmed my heart. Your photo of the Boss looking for a
fight now hangs in my office.
Mike Weinstein, Edison, N.J.

Capital Letters

As the first baseball and last football stadium announcer in the
36 years of D.C./RFK Memorial Stadium, I say thank you, thank you
for recognizing Washington, D.C., as the 51st state (July 12-19).
However, you should have gotten the correct spelling for Spingarn
High School.
Phil Hochberg, Rockville, Md.

Once again, the residents of Washington, D.C., do not get to
vote. Not in Congress, and not in SI. Why couldn't a poll have
been taken of D.C. residents? Thanks for another slap in the
face. Bud Selig has been doing it for years.
Kenneth Karbeling, Laytonsville, Md.

The last time citizens of the District of Columbia voted for a
Senator, it was to send Frank Howard to the 1971 All-Star Game.
Andrew Jakabovics, Washington, D.C.

Lightning Rod

Just because A-Rod's richer than God would be if He hit the
Powerball doesn't mean he didn't step on people in the past,
namely the entire Rangers fan base (The Life of Reilly, July
12-19). If A-Rod's the Man of 2004, I suppose that makes Benedict
Arnold the Man of 1780.
Greg Tepper, Coppell, Texas

If you believe that A-Rod is agog over the Impressionists, then
you also must believe that a Miss Universe contestant's most
heartfelt desire is to end world hunger and bring peace to all
Kenneth C. Fisher, Roseville, Calif.




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