Thanks for giving the defending NBA champion Detroit Pistons the respect they deserve (Let's Get Physical, May 9). Too often athletes who play the right way end up getting little recognition because it's not so much fun to talk about things like teamwork and defense. As a high school basketball coach, I wish my players would pattern their approach after Ben Wallace's work ethic. The life lessons they will learn from being a team player will stay with them far into the future.
Casey Caid, Three Oaks, Mich.
Thanks for reminding everyone that the NBA finally gets exciting again when the teams pick up the defensive intensity. The regular season is about finesse and survival. The postseason is about toughness, both physical and mental.
Scott Enright, Los Angeles
Shame on former LPGA star Mickey Wright for minimizing Sorenstam's fantastic achievements by insinuating that she is winning by intimidating the field (Dominance in Disguise, May 9). Excuse me, but isn't that exactly what the greats do in all sports? Didn't Bobby Jones; didn't Nicklaus; doesn't Tiger? Annika is the best ever. Let's all give her the recognition she deserves.
I was so upset over Tom Verducci's snubbing of the Cardinals' alliterative trio of Jason Marquis, Matt Morris and Mark Mulder (Triple Threats, May 9) that I scribbled calculations of their W-L record (13-4), ERA (3.03) and innings pitched (149.2) all over the nearest piece of paper I could find--the photo of that half-naked swimsuit model on the opposite page. When a man defaces a supermodel, you know he's indignant.
Andrew McNeill, Watertown, Conn.
You neglected to mention the Boston trio of Matt Clement, Bronson Arroyo and Tim Wakefield, who are a combined 13-3, with a 3.59 ERA in 175.1 innings. That should rank them among the top five in baseball. Not bad for the Sox' 3, 5 and 6 starters.
Steve Bell, Dublin, Ohio
A Closer Look
San Francisco's assistant G.M. Ned Colletti complains about a dearth of good young closers (Inside Baseball, May 9), but before last season the Giants traded Joe Nathan to the Twins for catcher A.J. Pierzynski. One year later Pierzynski is with the White Sox and Nathan is one of baseball's most dominant closers through six weeks of the season (1-1 in 18 appearances with 12 saves, 20 strikeouts, a 0.75 WHIP and a 1.05 ERA). Is there really a shortage of quality players in this role or are the Giants trying to cover the fact that Twins' G.M. Terry Ryan pulled the wool over their eyes?
Alexander Chester, St. Louis Park, Minn.
The caption on the amazing LEADING OFF photo Tow Jam (May 9) says that "the Jet Ski was destroyed when it smashed onto the reef" and that the surfer was unhurt. What you did not tell us was the extent of the damage to the reef. Just because the reef isn't in the photo doesn't mean that its fate is irrelevant.
Kenyon Stebbins, Harbor Springs, Mich.
No. 1 Fan
This year I celebrated my first Mother's Day, and reading Steve Rushin's tribute to mothers of sports legends made me reflect on my hopes for my little girl (Air and Space, May 9). Whether she excels at sports, physics or photography, I want to be standing on the sideline cheering for her. Thank you, Steve, for honoring all the mothers who have done the same.
Michelle Browning Coughlin, Louisville
In his column Rushin glorifies Steve Young's mother for accosting a football player who tackled her son. Does Rushin also support hockey dad's beating up on peewee hockey players after the game? As a peewee football coach, I sure hope not.
Roger Bastedo, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan
Rick Reilly's Ink-Stained Wretch (Life of Reilly, May 9) was absolutely hilarious on the subject of athletes and their absurd tattoos. In the words of singer Jimmy Buffett, tattoos are a "permanent reminder of a temporary feeling."
Todd Taylor, Trumansburg, N.Y.
Reilly needs to recognize that for the 18- to 30-year-old crowd, our generation is defined by hip-hop culture. Along with that comes, yes, tattoos and that street attitude. He can either embrace it and get with the times or find himself irrelevant and replaced by someone who is more hip.
Jon Gerber, Whitehall, Pa.
In a picture featuring 47 athletes from Long Beach Poly High (The Best High School Athletic Programs, May 16) SI failed to identify Hugo Ayala, a senior captain on the Jackrabbits' soccer team that finished last season with a 16-5-3 record and won the Moore League title. Ayala, a midfielder who leaves Poly as its career leader in assists (29), will attend Cal State--Dominguez Hills on a soccer scholarship next fall. We regret the omission.
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PETER READ MILLER (AYALA)
Soccer captain Ayala leaves Poly as its career assists leader.