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Philadelphia Story

As a Philadelphia sports fan I was pleasantly surprised to see not just one but two Philly teams on the cover of the Aug. 14 issue. That one story (Game of Survival) was about fighting (for jobs) and the other (Grime Pays) was about dirt (on a hardworking player's uniform) is in keeping with the spirit of the city--and O.K. with me.

Richard Catrambone, Decatur, Ga.

It was nice to see players on the cover who do not often get recognized. There would not be superstars in the NFL if it were not for these hardworking linemen.

Clay Cummings, Chambersburg, Pa.

Pay Stub

Giants tackle Bob Whitfield (Camp Stinks! Aug. 14) lost me and probably most of working-class America when he said, "Four times during the preseason I have to go out there and give my all--well, almost my all--for $1,200." While teaching summer school, it took many of my colleagues and myself four full weeks to earn almost $1,200 before taxes. In addition, we gave it our all, not almost our all.

Clark Kostohris, Enumclaw, Wash.

Teflon Coaches

Although I've never been in favor of coaches finding new jobs after their school has been put on probation, the case of former basketball coach Jim O'Brien getting paid millions by Ohio State after he was fired for violating NCAA rules is just plain ridiculous (Scorecard, Aug. 14). Maybe when a coach is fired under such circumstances, the punishment for his violations needs to follow him to his new school. That way the school that allowed the cheating to take place is punished, as is the school that hires the wayward coach. It would make schools think twice about hiring someone with a record of cheating, and make coaches think twice about cheating.

Debbie Wittig, Hartford, Wis.

Do the Right Thing

Reading Rick Reilly's column about coach Bob Farley and assistant coach Shaun Farr deciding, in a PONY League baseball game, to intentionally walk a 10-year-old star player to get to a "scrawny cancer survivor" made me sick to my stomach (Life of Reilly, Aug. 14). I had a terminally ill son who loved baseball. During what would be his last baseball game, the opposing coach walked my son and set him up to score the winning run during a game with playoff implications. No one remembers who won the championship that year. What everyone remembers is my son joyously raising his arms in the air as he crossed home plate.

John Merulla, Stratford, N.J.

Reilly forgot to mention two of the biggest victims of Farley's stupid decision: the opposing pitcher and Jordan, the star hitter. Farley denied those kids their shot at a lifetime memory and a character-defining moment.

Daniel Campaigne, Oceanside, Calif.

While I must agree that Farley's decision to intentionally walk the star hitter was a bad one, I won't go as far as to say he's a bad guy. Farley has given a lot of his valuable time to be a baseball coach, and when that season's over, he volunteers to coach football too. He gets involved with his kids. It's nice to see that there are still dads such as Farley who care. In sports we teach our kids to learn from their mistakes. My guess is that this coach will learn from his.

Mike Hudock, Hudson, Ohio

My six-year-old daughter is a cancer survivor, and my son played in a machine-pitch World Series in Edmond, Okla., earlier this year, and I completely disagree with Reilly. The most inspirational part of the article was when Romney, the kid who is battling cancer, vowed to work on his batting so he would be the one they walk next time. This is the true essence of sport: continually pushing yourself to improve, regardless of the odds.

Scott Connor, Kansas City, Mo.

The outcome seems to have motivated Romney. Maybe Reilly should ask, Do we protect our kids too much from life?

Patrick Gallucci, Camden, Del.

Why not walk the slugger, then walk Romney, filling the bases; then pitch to the next batter, who was neither the team's best hitter nor a cancer patient?

Bill Hager, Athens, Ga.

The real victim is Jordan, the boy who got walked. Romney got his shot, and it didn't work out for him. That's the way it goes--baseball is a tough game. But Jordan didn't get a chance, which is unfair to a 10-year-old.

Pete White, Arlington, Va.

To those who criticize the coach and "defend" cancer-survivor Romney, all I can say is, Clearly you have not been handicapped. I was an All-America in high school and then in one year of college, but my athletic career was interrupted by polio. After partial recovery, the very worst thing that could happen to me was to receive special treatment because of my disability. From Romney's reaction--"I'm going to work on my batting"--I believe he feels the same way. He wasn't hurt by the use of proper baseball strategy, but a lot of other people decided he ought to feel hurt. If you haven't walked (or limped) in those shoes, don't make judgments.

Donald J. Kaufman, St. Louis

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