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Getting Ready

Many thanks for putting Ahman Green and the Green Bay Packers' training camp on the cover of SI. It was awesome to sit here in Redskins and Ravens country and read about my team.

Kristin Kappelman Arlington, Va.

I read Stronger Than Ever (Aug. 8) and observed the pictures of bigger-than-life athletes with dismay. While I will assume that the athletes featured in the article do not use steroids, I believe that these photographs encourage young football players to experiment with steroids.

Jeremy McCarroll, Sacramento

The Bravest Athletes

Bravo to Steve Rushin for his article about former collegiate golfer Dan Rooney--who thrice beat Tiger Woods in matches involving Kansas and Stanford (AIR AND SPACE, Aug. 8). Dan, who serves our country as an F-16 pilot in Iraq is typical of men and women serving in the armed forces and law enforcement. It's a nice change from hearing about athletes who make only $2 million a year and try and void a contract so they can make more. Could you imagine if we still had a draft and these athletes faced serving in the military? The Canadian Football League would be packed.

Mike Juliana Philadelphia

Mr. ED

Tom Verducci did not give Rafael Palmeiro a free pass for failing the steroids test (SCORECARD, Aug. 8). As a physician, I couldn't help but note that Palmeiro became a spokesman for Viagra while in his late 30s. Although he never admitted to erectile problems, one major side effect of steroid use is hypogonadism with testicular atrophy and increased incidence of erectile dysfunction, the problem Viagra treats.

Dr. Joseph Russ, Marco Island, Fla.

Excusing Palmeiro for not "knowingly" using a banned substance would send scores of athletes to their personal trainers, saying "make me better, just don't tell me how." Maybe they're already doing that.

Jeff Stillman, Waterford, Mich.

Coach on Trial

Reading your article on coach Mark Downs, who has been charged with asking one of his players to hit an autistic teammate with a ball and put him out of a Tee-ball game (Scorecard, Aug. 8), reminds of what I recently saw at a supermarket. A youngster, about 12 years old, was wearing a T-shirt that said: I PUT QUARTERBACKS ON THE DISABLED LIST! It made me wonder what message, if any, the coaches and parents are sending to these young minds.

Dic Ver Hage, Wyckoff, N.J.

My grandson, who is autistic and soon to be four, has never spoken a word, does not respond to his name and is restricted to a special diet. But despite his neurological, sensory and social deficiencies, he shows more common sense and compassion than Downs, who allegedly offered to pay a child to throw a ball at an autistic teammate. Maybe families of autistic kids should take up a collection to pay Roger Clemens to throw one at Downs.

Edward C. Golden, Northridge, Calif.

What about Bob?

I've read your magazine for more than 40 years, have enjoyed it immensely, but have never been overwhelmed by an article the way I was by Frank Deford's story about Bob Feller (Rapid Robert Can Still Bring It, Aug. 8). I have been an avid baseball fan for more then 50 years, but Deford showed me several things I did not know about the game or about Feller. I now understand why Feller is Feller, and why Deford is Deford. They are both simply the best at what they do.

Rich Harff, Sarasota, Fla.

Feller comes from a time when bigotry may have been socially acceptable, but it no longer is. That's why statements of his such as "... made by some Ping-Pong player in China" don't reflect very well on the speaker. Times have changed, and Feller hasn't.

Paul R. Goldin, Yardley, Pa.

About 12 years ago I attended a card show in Denver where Feller was signing. I stood in line for two hours to meet this American hero, and while he was signing, I said, "Mr. Feller, my dad says that Roger Clemens couldn't hold your jockstrap." He finished signing my ball, looked me straight in the eye and said, "Son, always listen to your dad."

Kent Ellenz, Spokane


An item on Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Brett Myers in the Aug. 22 edition of SI Players inadvertently included an action picture of his teammate Ryan Madson.

Giant Confusion

Has anyone else noticed that SI columnist Steve Rushin and San Francisco Giants pitcher Jason Schmidt are candidates for the clones feature you sometimes run in SCORECARD?

Erik Larson, Santa Rosa, Calif.

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Did Schmidt (left) grow a beard to baffle Rushin groupies?



 [See caption above.]