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Maddening Manny

Manny Ramirez may be the greatest hitter of this era and solely responsible for resurrecting the Dodgers' season, but his dogging it to get out of his contract in Boston puts him at the bottom of the pile. He's worse than a cheat, he's a bum. Manny was out for Manny. He deliberately tanked it and let his teammates down, and that stinks.

John Leidecker, Cranston, R.I.

Manny Ramirez sat out two games in July with a sore knee (Manny in La La Land, Oct. 13). In the 11 games before that he hit .487. In his second game back he hit two doubles against the Yankees and ran through a stop sign at third to score. We should all loaf like Manny. Red Sox management bad-mouthed him publicly before and after the trade to cover their own indecisiveness.

Jack O'Rourke, Narragansett, R.I.

Bay Watch

Compare the numbers of Jason Bay (And They All Lived Happily Ever After, Oct. 13) since he was traded to the Red Sox on July 31 to those of Manny Ramirez before he was dealt to the Dodgers. You'll see that Bay averaged more runs per month, more hits, more doubles, more triples, more RBIs, more stolen bases and had a higher slugging percentage. Sure, Manny did better in home runs and batting average (and these both could have been even higher had he remembered to take the bat off his shoulder when he faced Mariano Rivera earlier in the season). But I'll take a posttrade Bay over a pretrade Manny any day.

Dave Shea, South Boston, Mass.

Your article on Jason Bay would have been more appropriately titled, And They All Lived Happily Ever After . . . Except for the Pirates.

Chris Saunders South Richmond Hill, N.Y.

State of the State

Your Hot/Not list included "Football in Michigan" under the not heading (Players, Oct. 13). Please do not drag the rest of Michigan into the hades that is University of Michigan and Detroit Lions football. Beyond Michigan State, which is 7-2, we have a Central Michigan team that is going for its third straight MAC title--and will have to go through a tough Western Michigan University squad to win it. Then there's Grand Valley State, which is currently ranked No. 1 in Division II and going for its fifth national championship in seven years.

Kirk Sorenson, Belmont, Mich.

Not the Marian Kind

I would have understood if Marian Hossa (Hossa Plays a Hunch, Oct. 13) had left the Penguins for the Oilers' $80 million offer. But Hossa doesn't want to help a team win a championship. He wants to ride along on a team that wins a championship. Detroit doesn't need Hossa to win--consider that the Wings did win, four months ago, against Hossa. Perhaps if Hossa doesn't win a title with Detroit this year, he can sign with the Patriots. But only after Tom Brady returns, of course.

Tim Frenz, Moon Township, Pa.

How High the Goon

Michael Farber's story on the necessity of NHL fighting (Why Good Teams Fight, Oct. 13) got it right. A legitimate heavyweight enforcer brings a certain swagger to the rest of the team and allows the skilled players to elevate their game as their opponents play intimidated.

Bill Byers, Ottawa

It is appropriate that Farber's story mentioned the late Fred Shero, because many devoted fans tuned out when his Flyers decided to beat their opponents senseless with fists and gloves. The action of the goofballs in the GTMHL (Goons, Thugs and Morons Hockey League) have always paled beside the pure, clean movement and skill of a well-played hockey match.

Mooky Blue, Southampton, Ont.

I'm not a hockey fan, so someone needs to 'splain somethin' to me. Your story makes it sound like you need a goon to beat up the other team's goon every time one of your top players gets hit hard. But if your goon beats up my goon, why does that deter me from hard-checking your star again? What do I care if my goon gets beat up?

Fred D'Ambrosi, San Diego

Conference Call

Your story highlights the proficiency of the quarterbacks in the Big 12 (A League of Its Own, Oct. 13), but it is quite obvious that these quarterbacks may be benefiting from the ineptitude of the defenses they line up against every week. If these same gentlemen played against the superior defenses of the SEC, they would be average at best.

Dale Broussard, Lafayette, La.

Al or Nothing

Why is everyone attacking Raiders owner Al Davis (Point After, Oct. 13)? We love how Mr. Davis has been running his team over the last few years and support all his decisions. He can do whatever he wants with it. Quit picking on Al.

Tony Mueller (Broncos fan), Denver

Selena Roberts's point on Al Davis could easily have been made without the unwarranted shot at Sarah Palin.

Paul Hipp, Eden Prairie, Minn.

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