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Original Issue


Good Clean Fun

Tom Verducci's Pure Hitters (April 3) got me more excited for the baseball season than I have been since 1985. Back then, steroids were something football players and wrestlers took, the Yankees were semicontenders and Pete Rose was still the man. But now, as Verducci illustrates, there are ample reasons to once again feel good about the game. I just hope commissioner Bud Selig takes the time to read Verducci's story.

Eric Nelson, Waconia, Minn.

Verducci gave us a fine poultice for the steroid-induced wound we fans will have to live with until Barry Bonds is gone. But the name of Jason Giambi, who said, "When I went into that grand jury, I told the truth," and sort of apologized for his use of performance-enhancing drugs, seems to have fallen from the roll call of disgraced veterans. I guess it's true that the truth will set you free.

Doug Pitman, Whitefish, Mont.

I see you referred to the Los Angeles Angels (Scouting Reports, April 3). Nobody out here calls them anything but the Anaheim Angels, despite the official position of the Associated Press and such deluded people as Commissioner Selig and Angels owner Arte Moreno. He may be making tawdry efforts to get more dough by associating himself with the Los Angeles market, but Moreno's ploy hasn't worked.

Bob Wolcott, Laguna Niguel, Calif.

Ban Anna?

It was disheartening to read about Anna Benson, the wife of Orioles pitcher Kris Benson, and her continuing displays of exhibitionism (20 People to Watch, April 3). Her assertion that by appearing in various states of undress she is somehow advancing a cool agenda is simply preposterous. All she is accomplishing is to reinforce every negative stereotype about athletes' wives.

Glenna Matthews, Laguna Beach, Calif.

Oshkosh, by Gosh

Thank you, Steve Rushin, for sharing with the nation the heartwarming story of the Oshkosh (Wis.) West basketball team (Air and Space, April 3). When Lance Randall quit his job as an assistant coach at Division I Saint Louis to move back to his hometown and coach his late father Steve's high school team to the state championship, he made everyone in this area proud.

Don Peschke, Berlin, Wis.

I played for Steve Randall at Oshkosh West (class of 1992). I never started and hardly ever got in any games, but I would not have made it through law school without his having taught me how to motivate myself and find the will to do the work. It's a Wonderful Life Story was right--one life can affect so many.

Tony Reichenberger, St. Paul

Bayou Basketball

I really enjoyed Rick Reilly's The Comeback of All Comebacks (Life of Reilly, April 3) about how the Ehret (La.) High School basketball team won the state championship with a roster of Hurricane Katrina evacuees. It is amazing what can come of a city torn apart by a natural disaster: a team coming together to do what is best for the team.

Tyler Stowell, Largo, Fla.

I thought--after Hurricane Hugo hit my city in 1989--that nothing could be worse than being without power for three weeks and living with debris piled on the streets for three months. The next month, however, an earthquake interrupted the World Series in San Francisco. Then in '92 Hurricane Andrew hit Florida, and now Hurricane Katrina has left New Orleans a near-broken city. These tragedies have given me a different perspective. Reilly's column captured one of the surprising things about natural disasters: They can bring people closer together.

Benjamin F. Sheftall, Charleston, S.C.

Cinderella Men

While I am as pleased as anyone about George Mason's Final Four run (11th Heaven, April 3), I am dismayed that you have discounted the accomplishment of the 1979 Pennsylvania Quakers. Ninth-seeded Penn beat a No. 8 and a No. 10 seed on its way to the Final Four, as you stated, but the no-athletic-scholarship Ivy League champs also knocked off fourth-seeded Syracuse and, in the second round, shocked No. 1--seed North Carolina in a game played in Raleigh. Until some future Cinderella dances into the championship game, Penn remains the most improbable Final Four team ever.

Nick Straguzzi, Mullica Hill, N.J.

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PENN ULTIMATE Tony Price (left) led the surprising Quakers to theFinal Four.