The Mets have become mirror images of their crosstown rivals. They spent $115,231,663 last season and had one of the most amazing collapses in modern sports history. So what do they do? Go out and spend $137.5 million on Johan Santana (The Savior of Port St. Lucie, Feb. 25). Does Steinbrenner own the Mets too?
William Patrick Garrett, Frostproof, Fla.
Bark de Triomphe
Thank you for the photograph of the magnificent beagle, Uno, who was the first of his breed to win the Westminster Kennel Club show (LEADING OFF, Feb. 25), as well as the photos of the 16 other breeds of dogs. Beagle lovers are thrilled, but not surprised, to see our dog recognized for its beauty, personality and famous bark.
Priscilla K. Kyrios, Bellevue, Wash.
The Artful Roger?
In his piece on Roger Clemens (Believe Him or Not, Feb. 25), Tom Verducci suggests two explanations for Roger's unyielding claim to innocence: either he is innocent, or he merely believes he is and is delusional. Another possibility is that Roger does recall his involvement with steroids and, as is usual for him, he is using any means to win.
Craig Qualey, Eagan, Minn.
On Seinfeld, George Costanza tells Jerry before he takes a lie detector test, "It's not a lie if you believe it." Roger Clemens is taking the Costanza defense.
Steve Jones, Charlotte
Selena Roberts compares Lance Armstrong with Roger Clemens (POINT AFTER, Feb. 25). But Clemens has played in a league in which drug testing only became mandatory in 2004. Armstrong won seven Tour de France titles with testing being done on all riders before the race, a randomly selected group after each stage and the overall leader and stage winner on a daily basis. They are not at all similar in terms of having evidence against drug use.
Tony Marino, Amherst, Mass.
I believe that Clemens is telling the truth.
Liz Stowers, Severn, Md.
The Right Stuff
I enjoyed Chris Ballard's article on the dunk (Bet You Wish You Could Dunk, Feb. 25) and, in particular, the reference to Keith Smart's last dunk, at age 37. In high school I was a mere rim-toucher, but in college I concentrated on the discus and shot put (not a lot of demand for 6'2" power forwards). Because of the explosiveness training in those sports, I suddenly had a repertoire of dunks, including two-handers from a standing start under the rim. Now I have pledged to dunk on every birthday. I turned 45 last week and got it done with a run-up from inside the foul line. This has become one of the primary ways I physically define myself, and I have no plans to come up short anytime soon.
Glenn Thompson, Harrisburg, Pa.
Here is what I will request on my tombstone: Loving father, devoted husband, 6'2" and could dunk until age 39.
Patrick Bonner, New York City
I was cheated of the opportunity to dunk in high school and college. Because of some guy named Lew Alcindor, the dunk was outlawed during my playing days (1967--75). I dunked once in a tournament game and was quickly T'd for the violation. Thank God we won the game.
Daniel C. Woodard, Largo, Fla.
As a former Knicks captain in the late 1940s, I can tell you that the dunk does not win games; teamwork, defense and offense below the rim do. Ask Greece, whose national team soundly defeated the U.S. in the last world championship.
Bud Palmer, West Palm Beach, Fla.
In Ballard's otherwise fine article, he states that I and my father, Pete Newell, believe that "the dominance of the big men is killing the game." In fact we both believe the problem is the lack of the big man's offensive presence in the middle because of the shot clock, three-point shooting and perimeter players who try to create on their own instead of executing set plays.
Tom Newell, Bellevue, Wash.
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I loved seeing pictures of the old school dunkers. How about showing one of your alltime great covers—the one with Sidney Moncrief dunking against Texas on the issue dated Feb. 13, 1978.
Larry Gregory, Rogers, Ark.
HEINZ KLUETMEIER (SANTANA)
MANNY MILLAN (MONCRIEF)
HOG YEARS All-America Moncrief led Arkansas to the '78 Final Four.