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Original Issue


Standing O

Thanks to Gary Smith for his eloquent article on baseball's most inspiring figure, Omar Minaya (The Story of O, June 18). After reading it, I am now torn between wanting Omar as the next baseball commissioner, the next president of the United States or my local school district's next superintendent.
Gregg Roth, Seaford, N.Y.

During spring training this year the limousine company that I own was hired to pick up some Mets personnel. I decided to do the job myself in hopes of meeting a star player. I was very disappointed when I didn't recognize the passenger who got into my car. After reading Gary Smith's article on Mets general manager Omar Minaya, I now know who was in my car that day, and I'm no longer disappointed.
Thomas Oro, Stuart, Fla.

After needling my Mets-fan cousin recently about his team's trade of young lefty stud Scott Kazmir to the Devil Rays for over-the-hill pitcher Victor Zambrano, he called it the best deal ever. Why? "Because," he said, "after that, they brought in Omar Minaya."
Matthew Zander, Scarsdale, N.Y.

Omar Minaya certainly is a genius. I wish my team had the money—I mean, foresight—to go out on a limb and sign such diamonds in the rough as Pedro Martinez, Carlos Beltran and Billy Wagner. So what if Minaya has been operating with the National League's highest payroll and still hasn't taken the Mets to the World Series?
Jason Mazda, Ocean City, N.J.

Duck Blind

Are you kidding me? The Anaheim Ducks become the first California team to win the coveted Stanley Cup and no cover? Maybe next year, when the Ducks win the Cup back-to-back, you will have the chance to redeem yourself.
Cindy Stromlund Hernandez
Fountain Valley, Calif.

Michael Farber and SI deserve their own day with the Stanley Cup for providing thorough coverage of the NHL playoffs (Sibling Revelry, June 18). While most of the media stayed home and tried to bury the league with stories about poor television ratings, SI actually went to the games and reported on what it saw—some of the best playoff hockey in recent memory.
Tony D'Amato, Amherst, Mass.

Hamilton's Race

I appreciated your article on Lewis Hamilton ("Better Than Sex", June 18), and I hope that with this new star, Formula One will receive more attention in the U.S. The rest of the world understands the excitement of F/1, but Americans prefer to watch cars drive in circles forever—NASCAR fans, I'm talking to you.
Ray Goins, Herndon, Va.

Your story on Lewis Hamilton was great, but I can't help being irked by the way American sports media still celebrate when a person of color accomplishes something for the first time. I watched the entire Canadian Grand Prix, and not once did the international announcers mention Hamilton's race or that he was the first black driver to win an F/1 race. On ESPN, however, one of the top stories was Hamilton's victory and how it was the first by a black driver, and that fact was in your headline, too. Why can't we just see Hamilton as a great driver?
Mike Herbst, Hickory Hills, Ill.

NFL Hits and Misses
Thank you for the column regarding the Houston Texans' Jason Simmons (LIFE OF REILLY, June 18) and how he asked new teammate Ahman Green, in exchange for his uniform number, to place a down payment on a home for a single mother. My 10-year-old son is a huge football fan whose bedroom is covered with posters; he spends just about all of his allowance on football cards. My husband and I have struggled with this; so many players do not behave like role models. Simmons and Green are positive examples for our son and for fans everywhere.
Diane Muirhead, Placerville, Calif.

Instead of asking for money for himself, Simmons sought to benefit someone else. What a concept! Now who among today's NFL millionaires will champion the cause of increasing pensions for NFL old-timers (PLAYERS, June 18)? Maybe if NFL Players Association executive director Gene Upshaw read Rick Reilly's column, he would finally get it and abandon his insensitive and arrogant attitude toward retired players.
Len Lipton, Santa Monica, Calif.

Thank you for helping highlight the issue of NFL concussions in recent months by covering the stories of Ted Johnson, Andre Waters and others. The fundamental problem is that team physicians and trainers face an inherent conflict of interest: Do they owe their loyalty to the athlete-patient or to the team that pays their salary? One possible solution: The NFL Players Association could hire medical staff directly, as opposed to having individual teams employ and provide them.
Steve Calandrillo
Professor of Law & Medicine
University of Washington School of Law

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