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Nation Divided

Magic Johnson says of the Celtics-Lakers finals, "This is what America wants." America, it follows, must have wanted the Spurs and the Pistons to lose in the conference championships. That's O.K., in San Antonio we'll content ourselves with a team of character and pride—and fans second to none in their love for the game.
Bill Simons, San Antonio

Magic is correct in saying that Celtics-Lakers is a matchup America wants to see (The Rivalry, June 9). But David Stern and other NBA powers that be apparently don't think that East Coast viewers have to see the end of those games, with 9 p.m. starts here. They can't even throw us a bone with Sunday matinees.
Paul Chussil, Somersworth, N.H.

Magic is wrong. America doesn't want Lakers vs. Celtics. America wants football season to start.
David Oakley, Charlotte

Quake Relief

The next time a professional athlete complains about a cramped visitors' clubhouse or locker room, he should think of the two Chinese children playing table tennis at a refugee camp for earthquake victims (LEADING OFF, June 9). The picture of the children playing a game, and actually enjoying it, in the worst of conditions should make us all feel grateful for the wonderful life we live in this country.
Billy Wallace, Monterey, La.

War of the Rose

Hats off to Dan Patrick for his interview with Pete Rose (JUST MY TYPE, June 9). Rose should be in the Hall of Fame. He played with more energy and enthusiasm than a fan could ask for, and 4,256 hits speaks for itself. We have forgiven players for more serious issues than his.
Darrell Hale, Springfield, Ky.

I wish Patrick had asked Rose if he understood why betting on baseball was a bad thing. Rose continues to say he bet on the Reds to win, and he and others still think, What's the big deal? Being six figures in debt to illegal gambling interests is a very big deal.
Owen Good, San Mateo, Calif.

The Fastest Man

Watching Usain Bolt truck down that straightaway to break his fellow Jamaican's record in the 100 meters was truly amazing (Lightning Bolt, June 9). And thanks to Tim Layden for staying optimistic about whether or not Bolt is clean. As an NCAA sprinter, I'm still keeping the faith that an athlete in my sport can achieve world dominance the right way.
Michael Mauger, Pottstown, Pa.

A Leader to Believe In?

The right person can absolutely get it done at Oregon State, and I'll be pulling for Craig Robinson (The Unlikely Candidate, June 9). Many fans in the state of Oregon wonder what the Beavers or the Ducks might have achieved if players like Kevin Love (UCLA), Kyle Singler (Duke) and Clint Chapman (Texas) had stayed home.
Marty Lange, Austin

I wish Robinson well in his effort to revive Oregon State's basketball program. I cannot agree, however, with his decision to campaign for his brother-in-law, Barack Obama, "into November." College basketball will already be under way by then.
Chris LaDage, Parker, Colo.

Minor Marvels

I enjoyed Luke Winn's article on minor league baseball in Alaska (The Alaska Pipeline, June 9) and the pictures of five major leaguers when they played in Alaska. Tom Seaver, Dave Winfield and Terry Francona looked like younger versions of their current selves—and then you have Barry Bonds and Jason Giambi, who almost defy recognition when compared with the steroid-enhanced versions.
Larry Williams, Melrose, Mass.

Thank you for putting the spotlight on some of the greatest and most family-friendly sporting events in the U.S. with your "ultimate road trip" to minor league parks. But how about including the Toledo Mud Hens? Corporal Klinger would agree—it's not a minor league tour without the Hens.
Jamie Happ, Maumee, Ohio

Your road trip should have stopped in Oregon to see the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes, whose stadium is known as the Crater. The Volcanoes had professional baseball's highest winning percentage last season (.750) and in 2006 (.724), and besides, where else can you enjoy a Lava Dog and a $1 beer?
Russ Norton, Salem, Ore.

How about two stops in Utah: Salt Lake City, home of the Triple A Bees, who this season set the record for the best start in minor league baseball history (21--1); and Ogden, home of the Rookie League Raptors, where Tommy Lasorda once managed and which features fifth-inning infield maintenance by the "drag queens."
John Paul Brophy, Salt Lake City

You could also visit the two-time defending Southern League--champion Montgomery Biscuits, who have one of the most unusual mascots: Big Mo the Biscuit Eater.
Jonathan Sexton, Montgomery, Ala.

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