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A Man Apart

Joe Torre, in his admonishment to Alex Rodriguez (A-Rod Agonistes, Sept. 25), presents one of the most basic tenets of life: You need to acknowledge a problem before you can address it. Until Alex is able to utter the word slump, he'll never fully be able to cure what ails him. Yankees Nation wishes him well, but he needs to be true to himself before he can earn his pinstripes.
Raymond Kim, Troy, N.Y.

Tom Verducci's article on Alex (It's All About Me) Rodriguez was quite interesting, but as a loyal New York Yankees fan, the only change that I would like to see for A-Rod is a new team.
Rachel L. Palmieri, Albany, N.Y.

Do you think when A-Rod's wife asked him to "turn to the Lord for guidance" that he walked over and looked in the mirror?
Ron Hendry, Seattle

How ironic that Jason Giambi refers to A Rod as having a "false confidence." If I'm not mistaken, wasn't "false confidence" the very thing that Giambi was injecting?
Terry Herrington Jr., Navasota, Texas

In late August, Giambi said we're going to find out who Rodriguez is in the next couple of months. I think we already know who he is: an amazing baseball player who has never been in any off- or on-the-field trouble, someone who plays hard day in and day out to help his team win and may be considered one of the greatest ever.
Jeff Hamilton, Kansas City, Kans.

Power Golf, Continued

As a practicing urologist who has been teaching about hypogonadism for more than 15 years, I can assure SI readers that Shaun Micheel's reported struggle with energy deficiency represents a real medical condition, similar to many other conditions of hormone deficiency (LETTERS, Sept. 25), and the use of a testosterone gel can be an appropriate treatment. Sometimes called "low T" because it represents abnormally low levels of testosterone in the blood, hypogonadism affects an estimated 13 million American men. Symptoms include low sex drive, erectile dysfunction, depressed mood and fatigue. It also causes decreased muscle mass and strength, and low bone density. The goal of treatment is to raise testosterone levels into the normal range so men can meet—not exceed—their natural potential. I believe it is important to distinguish between true medical therapy and the illicit use of pharmaceuticals for athletic enhancement. I commend Micheel for sharing his story so other men suffering from low T may be inspired to seek medical attention, which is often successful.
Abraham Morgentaler, Associate Clinical Professor
Harvard Medical School, Boston

Guilt by Association?

Frankie Andreu comes clean, saying he used EPO before the 1999 Tour de France. (SCORECARD, Sept. 25). Excellent. But World Anti-Doping Agency chairman Dick Pound says, "They [Armstrong and Andreu] were on the same team, weren't they? I think you have to draw one conclusion from that." No, Mr. Pound, many different conclusions can be drawn. I'm a teacher in a business school. When a student can do nothing more than reduce multidimensional, complex situations to simple one-dimensional pat solutions, then that student isn't a very good thinker. Pound wouldn't stand a chance in my classroom. I'm totally anti doping. Throw the cheaters out, but find the cheaters properly. The antidoping community is filled with zealots who are just as crazed, and just as unethical, in their pursuit of cheaters as the cheaters are in pursuit of an improper edge.
Harlan M. Smith II, Huntington, W.Va.

A Special Guy

If the goal of sentencing is rehabilitation, perhaps the judge in the case of Mark Downs Jr., the T-ball coach who bribed a nine-year-old player to injure a mildly retarded teammate (SCORECARD, Sept. 25), will consider community service, specifically having Downs assist Special Olympics teams. Downs might find himself facing the one group of athletes still willing to treat him the same as everyone else.
Tricia Ettinger, Cincinnati


As the president of the University of Maryland, I share Rick Reilly's disdain for cursing at athletic events (LIFE OF REILLY, Sept. 25). Maryland has addressed it in many ways: enlisting coaches, students and athletes in decrying foul language, offering T-shirt exchanges and employing seating restrictions. But the issue of vulgar speech will never be completely eliminated, as BU has discovered. First, speech is a constitutionally protected right. Any institution that willfully violates civil rights is vulnerable to legal sanctions that could include significant punitive damages. Second, the question of how to define unacceptable speech is murky: Is "you suck" profane speech? And who should decide? UM continues to believe that creating a culture of sportsmanship is the only way to address the problem of disrespectful fans. To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln: When you have public support everything is possible. When you don't have public support nothing is possible. We wish the best to BU in navigating these tricky waters.
C. D. Mote Jr., President
University of Maryland
College Park, Md.

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