My prayers go out to the Cubbies and their loyal fans [Is This the Year? (No, but...), Feb. 26]. As a lifelong member of Red Sox Nation, I too know the pains of late-season flops. I hope the bazillion dollars spent in the off-season works for them as it did for us. I'll keep the Cubs in my nightly discussions with God (just after the Red Sox).
Ken Gould, Somersworth, N.H.
In his farewell column, Steve Rushin may liken his career to that of Ernie Banks (AIR AND SPACE, Feb. 26), but I think it more resembles Tiki Barber's. Rushin wowed us with skill and creativity, and he is leaving the game in his prime with his fans wanting more.
William A. Stein, St. Paul
Your picture of the Daytona 500 on page 46 (Smashing Finish, Feb. 26) clearly shows that Mark Martin was ahead of Kevin Harvick as all hell was breaking loose behind them. For the safety of all the drivers, the yellow caution flag should have been displayed then, or even a few seconds before. The race should have been over at that moment, the field frozen, and Mark Martin should have been declared the winner.
Mark Schott, Canal Fulton, Ohio
I find it a little absurd that Tatyana McFadden and her mother are suing for her right as a wheelchair athlete to compete against students without disabilities in high school track meets (HIGH SCHOOL PLAYERS, Feb. 26). While I admire her desire and determination, her wheelchair gives her an obvious advantage and poses a risk to other runners. She has events in which she can compete against other wheelchair athletes.
Robert D. Newman, Medina, Ohio
Maybe the officials in Howard County, Md., should have to go around using a wheelchair to see what an advantage it is.
Matt Darlow, Brick, N.J.
In all Roy Williams's years coaching at Kansas, I never understood what a "secondary break" was. I do now, after reading Grant Wahl's story on the North Carolina offense (Fast and Furious, Feb. 26). It will be fun to watch the Jayhawks' defense demolish it when Kansas and North Carolina meet in Atlanta.
Greg Tamblyn, Kansas City, Mo.
Am I missing something in your story on Caron Butler (Turnaround Wizard, Feb. 26)? A kid is arrested 15 times by his 15th birthday, and he gets to go to UConn, on a full ride? How does that happen? Oh, that's right—he can dribble a basketball. Makes perfect sense to me.
Kristy Larson, Mukwonago, Wis.
Not every youth who has a record like Butler's needs an overbearing, profanity-spewing coach to have an inspirational turnaround. What they all need are mentors who believe in them and have high expectations. In detention facilities near where the Wizards play, I work with young people who thrive with structure, discipline and a positive outlook.
Takoma Park, Md.
Missing in Action
Jeff MacGregor says of the Asian Games (Everything is Illuminated, Feb. 26) that "Israel's invitation probably got lost in the mail." I am disappointed that SI dedicated so many pages to an event that so directly discriminates against any individual, let alone an entire country.
Jeffrey B. Scheer, Manlius, N.Y
The Swimsuit Issue
I hope Marisa Miller's innovative use of the iPod-as-bikini in the 2007 Swimsuit Issue catches on. I wouldn't mind seeing that on the beaches this summer.
Ranpal Chana, Saugus, Mass.
While SPORTS ILLUSTRATED has stretched, er, shrunk, its definition of "swimsuit" over the years, even SI is pushing it when you consider an iPod a swimsuit. Is it waterproof? Does it stay on when Marisa Miller moves? Can I get one with an earbud bikini top? Thank goodness she's not wearing a Shuffle.
Angela Binda, Reading, Mass.
Hail to the Chief
As a two-time Illinois graduate, I don't understand the logic behind the NCAA's and student activists' trashing of an honored, spine-tingling and goose-bump-raising tradition like the Chief Illiniwek mascot (SCORECARD, Feb. 26). Perhaps the state of Illinois (named after the Illinois or Illiniwek Indians) should also seek out a new, less offensive name.
George Phillips, Loveland, Colo.
Greed Is Good
Jack Vickers's melancholy over the loss of the International tournament (International Affair, Feb. 19) seems somehow disingenuous. Vickers attributes its demise to "a sense of greediness in the air." Of course, he's right. But Vickers is an unlikely figure to complain when his own solution for saving the tournament was a "Tour-record $20 million purse and a $10 million first prize."
Gary M. Crist, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
Amen to That
Kudos to Mike Lupica (MY SHOT, Feb. 19) for pointing out that Frank Chirkinian, the maestro of CBS's luminous telecasts from Augusta National, deserves induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame. But that would take care of only one of two deserving but not yet enshrined men who helped give the Masters "a tradition unlike any other." Herbert Warren Wind, the SPORTS ILLUSTRATED and New Yorker essayist, was crafting paeans to Augusta long before CBS's cameras arrived. Forty-nine years ago this spring Wind used the term "Amen Corner" to describe holes 11 through 13. In the years to come, modesty forbade Wind from claiming credit for one of the most enduring expressions in golf history. Wind and Chirkinian deserve to go into the Hall together.
Timothy M. Gay, Vienna, Va.
Great story on Byron Nelson and his record (MY SHOT, March 5), as well as the DiMaggio 56-game hitting streak and other feats. But the one record that will never be approached, let alone broken, is the 502 consecutive games played by NHL goalie Glenn Hall. That record has never gotten the recognition it deserves.
John Kirk, Shakopee, Minn.
After seeing rookie Bar Refaeli in this year's Swimsuit Issue, my request for next year can be summed up by the three B's: Bring Back Bar!
Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
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RAPHAEL MAZZUCCO (REFAELI)
LUCKY NUMBER Refaeli was one of seven models to debut in the '07 issue.
ROBERT BECK (COVER)