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Original Issue


First the Goat ...

I have just one question: Do you enjoy watching Cubs fans writhe and moan in anguish? That's the only reason I can think of for putting outfielder Kosuke Fukudome on the cover of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED at this point in the season. Here's one Cubs fan who is praying that the jinx doesn't strike.
Suzanne Walker, Evanston, Ill.

Lee Jenkins's story (Kosuke Fukudome Tastes Good, May 5) captured the reason fans are backing this particular group of players despite a 100-year championship drought: The team's stars show a genuine sense of family. I agree with the bleacher bum you quote—this year tastes good!
Erin Durnell, Fishers, Ind.

I'd be more impressed with Fukudome if he knew how to slide. Your photo on pages 32--33 reminded me of former Dodger Pedro Guerrero—ouch!
David Merjil, Corona, Calif.

Late into my fantasy baseball draft, I took Kosuke Fukudome simply because I thought he had a cool name. Now I'm in first place in my league!
Natalie Driggers, Fresno

Timing Pattern

Lately I've wondered why the UCLA football team seemed to lack the discipline necessary to turn average years into great ones. Then I saw your photo of UCLA players warming up with leg kicks during spring practice (LINEUP, May 5). Some guys have their left legs up; some guys are just standing there. One guy in the back has his right leg up—which reminded me of the proud parent of the high school band's trombone player who exclaimed while watching his son march in a parade, "There's my boy! The only one in line!"
Jon Reneslacis, Cumming, Ga.

Beaten Track

I admit I'm a track nut, but I disagree with Tim Layden's contention (PLAYERS, May 5) that track and field will now be a minor sport in the Olympics. Not when track has stars like Allyson Felix, Tyson Gay, Brad Walker and Adam Nelson. Not when you can see the world's fastest man and woman, and you can see someone jump over 7'10" or throw a javelin more than 290 feet. I'll be in Beijing for my 10th Summer Olympics, and I know that when the Olympics come to London in 2012, track and field will be the major sport it has been since 1896.
John Geer, San Carlos, Calif.

Tim Layden is absolutely correct when he says that track is more popular than ever on the high school level, yet we also face significant challenges related to various "scandals" involving former champion sprinters. These challenges are never good news for the sport, yet we always overcome them. The reason is that the sport, which has been around for thousands of years, is stronger than any one person or even than any 20 people. It endures and is successful because there is always a "next generation" of young stars and also because of specific and aggressive steps USATF has taken in the last 10 years. As Layden points out, we put ourselves at risk when we took the leadership stance of instituting drug testing years before most other sports even began to consider it. But track meets around the country continue to set attendance records, and the sport is on television more than it ever has been, and our ratings continue to go up. The fact that track and field is scheduled for evening competition at the Olympic Games in Beijing demonstrates that the sport is, in fact, a centerpiece of Olympic competition.
Bill Roe, President
USA Track and Field, Indianapolis

Fall Guys

How was Reggie Miller left off Dan Patrick's list of Hall of Fame floppers (JUST MY TYPE, May 5)? He is the No. 1 flopper of all time! That guy fell whether he was involved in a play or not.
Michael J. Ewens, New Berlin, Wis.

Patrick lists two former Pistons Bad Boyz from the late 1980s, Bill Laimbeer and Dennis Rodman, among the top five alltime floppers. Rodman and Laimbeer did flop sometimes, but they also played much more physical defense than the league would ever allow today, where players like Manu Ginóbili fall down if they are breathed on.
Jonathan Collar, Sterling Heights, Mich.

Welcome Matt

When Gil Tyree, a local sports anchor, alleges that Michael Vick is still the "messiah" in Atlanta (It Starts with Matt, May 5), I'm thinking he's probably smoking the same stuff that Vick was while awaiting sentencing. We've moved on. To Vick, good riddance. Hail, Ryan!
Candy Waylock, Alpharetta, Ga.

If Ryan can turn this team into a successful franchise again, no one will care who he's replacing.
Kathryn Melton, Atlanta

I couldn't help but notice that on the last page of your article on Matt Ryan and the Falcons' plans to revive their troubled franchise there is an ad featuring Brett Favre—who was drafted by Atlanta in the second round in 1991 but traded away the next year.
Markus Hahn, Minneapolis

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