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Faux Jay

I am not only jealous of Tom Verducci's chance to be a big leaguer (I Was a Toronto Blue Jay, March 14) but also of his ability to poignantly reflect the beauty of the greatest game on Earth. Thanks for a great article (and for not going down looking).

Anne Crecelius, Dayton

Day 1, Tom didn't take steroids; Day 2, Tom didn't ask for more money; Day 3, Tom did not ask to be traded to a championship team; Day 5, Tom got what he deserved. The bottom line: Verducci has a lot to learn about being a major league baseball player.

Mark Pioli, Niagara Falls, Ont.

Let me get this straight: 44-year-old Verducci gets behind 0 and 2 and then tries to turn on high, inside cheese--and gets wood? I'm impressed. Made me want to dust off my wooden bats and jump into an on-deck circle somewhere.

Rich Simonin Riverside, Calif.

Every once in a while I come across an article that reminds me of why I subscribe to SI despite all the sports information available on the television, the radio and the Internet. Verducci took me inside the Blue Jays' spring training camp, a place I have never been and have no hope of ever going. I drank in every word. If Verducci's article doesn't break Rick Reilly's stranglehold on the National Sportswriter of the Year Award, nothing will.

Michael Shepard, Boston

Nationals Security

Is Washington, D.C., ready for a straight shooter like Frank Robinson (A Whole New Ball Game, March 14)? Thanks to Michael Bamberger for capturing the essence of one of the greatest players ever. The Orioles were a far superior team after Frank joined them in 1966, and they struggled to recover after he left. Teach the children well, Frank.

Dennis Williams, Red Lion, Pa.


Another Sign of the Apocalypse: University of Colorado president Elizabeth Hoffman has resigned (Scorecard, March 14). Meanwhile football coach Gary Barnett, the leader of the program responsible for the scandal(s) for which Hoffman took the fall, remains blissfully employed.

Jeffrey Becker, Plano, Texas

Juco Hoops

The situation presented in the article about Barton County Community College (The Dark Side, March 14) is not one that anyone in athletics would be proud of, but your insinuation that those circumstances are rampant among community college athletic programs throughout the United States is even more disappointing. The 510 colleges and 50,000 student-athletes within the National Junior College Athletic Association should not be characterized on the basis of the unlawful acts of one coach. As I explained to George Dohrmann when he interviewed me for this article, "Every organization that has regulatory obligations understands that as problems present them- selves, it becomes the duty of the college, conference or national organization to adopt strategies and rules to eliminate such abuses, and I am completely confident that this will be the case with Barton County Community College, the Kansas Jayhawk Conference and the National Junior College Athletic Association."

Wayne Baker, Colorado Springs

NJCAA Executive Director

I am the sports editor for the Interrobang, the campus newspaper at Barton County Community College. Since we first broke the beginnings of this story over a year ago, we have learned many new and disturbing facts about juco basketball. Because of this controversy, and the fallout it has created, I have begun to question the intent of junior college sports, the integrity of my school and, ultimately, my career as a journalist. These coaches and athletes need to realize that their actions affect many people around them. Thank you, Sports Illustrated, for bringing this problem to national attention.

J.R. Emig, Great Bend, Kans.

Senior Moment

I enjoyed Grant Wahl's article When Tall Men Cry (March 14) about Senior Days in college basketball, and I believe that every player you included deserved the ink he got. However, you also might have mentioned Saint Joseph's forward John Bryant, who lost the remainder of his senior season on a hard foul by Temple's Nehemiah Ingram that was ordered by Ingram's coach, John Chaney, and resulted in a fractured arm. Bryant was prepared to attend his Senior Day in street clothes. Teammate Pat Carroll and coach Phil Martelli, however, convinced Bryant and his parents that he should dress and start his final game for the Hawks, broken arm and all. Although Bryant's stay on the court lasted less than a minute, the standing ovation and cheers he received will no doubt last him a lifetime.

David E. Marvin, Philadelphia

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Bryant could lift his broken arm, but only played briefly.