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The Unnaturals

In What Do We Do Now? (March 28) Gary Smith seems sincere in his disillusionment and surprise about steroid use by major league ballplayers. Is he really so naive? News flash: It is not possible to gain the muscle mass that these guys have over the past decade without "help." Perhaps being a physician and former college athlete affords me greater insight into this, but among my sports-loving friends, we speak of this as common knowledge.

Dr. Patrick Byrne



Smith has no idea what the nation's collective moral conscience is--and what's refreshing is, he doesn't presume to know. He asks and he gets answers that are as diverse and fascinating as one would expect from a variety of American citizens. Thank you, Mr. Smith, for your diligence and honesty.

Justin Lamontagne



I simply cannot believe that so many people feel that Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and the other suspected steroid users should have their records erased from the books because they allegedly had an unfair advantage. Come to Kansas City; we'll watch the Royals play the Yankees, and I'll tell you everything you need to know about unfair advantages.

Andy Dean

Overland Park, Kans.


Don't blame the players for giving us what we want.

Martha Phillips

San Jose


Too often it seems as if baseball fans want to abandon baseball. It gives them an opportunity to wax wistful about it, to summon up an inner Daniel Stern to narrate The Wonder Years of baseball's past. Steroids--and I say this as a Red Sox fan--didn't have anything to do with Derek Jeter's diving into the stands to make a catch. Steroids didn't suture Curt Schilling's ankle so he could pitch. I'll continue to watch the steroids developments, but I'm more interested in how David Wells pitches for our boys and whether the Astros can make a run of it so the Sox can face Roger Clemens in the Series.

Bill Kte'pi

Bloomington, Ind.


If the players accused of steroid use were as honest and forthcoming as Smith and the people he talked to, we would all have a better understanding of the situation, and maybe then we, as fans and as a generation, could move on.

Jeff Attkisson Arlington



When my seven-month-old son grows up and wants to see a game, we'll go down to Citizens Bank Park without hesitation. Recent revelations don't erase or diminish my baseball memories, and I won't deprive my son of his memories just because there are a few selfish morons who don't realize that when you play a boy's game, there are boys watching.

Steve Ungaro

Exton, Pa.


The history of human progress is all about using technology to overcome the limits nature has imposed upon us. What's the difference between a player who has had a broken bone set, a knee replaced or a shoulder tear repaired by surgery and one who used juice? We should be encouraging pharmaceutical companies to develop safe steroids, not just for professional athletes but for everyone who wants to be bigger, stronger and faster. In a few decades this debate will seem very quaint.

Alan Miles

New York City


If Gary Smith has kept one youngster from trying steroids, may God bless him.

C. Alan Taylor

Gibsonia, Pa.


Pat Answer

I enjoyed Kelli Anderson's At the Summit (Scorecard, March 28) about Lady Vols coach Pat Summitt's 879 wins. After she set the record with 880 wins, however, she should have been on the cover. Are you saving up for Sportswoman of the Year?

Michael Elliott

Stafford, Va.


Empty Feeling

Has there ever been a better example of pictures telling a story than the two photos of the women's and the men's NCAA tournament (Leading Off, March 28)? I was appalled at the empty stands shown in the women's game compared with the men's. These women would make most men look foolish in a game, and no one seems to give them the credit they're due.

Bill Hart

Canton, Ohio


Front and Center

As I was reading through Seth Davis's Hoop Thoughts (March 28), I was very confused. Davis suggests that the NCAA "clamp down on the new fad of players lifting their jerseys to show off the name of their school," comparing this to trash-talking and hanging on the rim. I wondered, on the other hand, why players weren't praised for showing off their team's name. I would rather see that than a player's turning around to show me his own name. The accompanying photo shows Bucknell's Charles Lee hoisting his school's name right after the Bison upset the Kansas Jayhawks for the first NCAA tournament victory in the school's 110-year history. Mr. Lee, thanks for letting me know who Bucknell is.

Andrew Sawvell

Dubuque, Iowa


Driver's Ed

It was bad enough that you wasted space showing Barry Zito's egotistical, uninteresting photographs (SI Players, March 28), but it was frightening to learn that this somewhat unstable lefty spends his driving time "on the phone, taking notes, messing with my computer." Take away his license right now.

Ken Tippery

Royal Oak, Mich.


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Stephen Wilkes