Reading about Ken Griffey Jr. made me yearn for a time when the only questionable thing about the All-Star Home Run Derby was that a talented kid chose to wear his hat backward.
Dan Largent, Brook Park, Ohio
Ken Griffey Jr. exemplifies what young baseball players should strive to be (It's Like You Never Left, Kid, April 27). We can wonder what he could have achieved [barring injuries], but I would rather just say thank you for what he has brought to baseball: God-given talent, respect for the game and passion. When I was talking to my eight-year-old son about Griffey and his passion for the game, he asked me what that phrase meant. I showed him your picture of Junior at the bottom of the dog pile after scoring from first and pointed at the grin on his face. My son understood completely.
Robert Perry, Elkhart, Ind.
The USC Three
Linebacker Brian Cushing needed painkilling drugs in order to play in four games as a freshman (Take Your Pick, April 27). Is there much difference between Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte's rationale in using HGH—to speed his recovery from an injury—from that of Cushing's? But more disturbing is that Cushing was allowed or encouraged to gamble with his health. After reading about Cushing, your comment in the SCORECARD section of the same issue about the Arena League's Los Angeles Avengers going out of business ("This again leaves L.A. without a pro football team—except for USC of course") seemed right on.
John May, Avoca, Iowa
While USC didn't actually end up having three linebackers drafted in the first round, the claim that "it would be unprecedented for three in the same position group to go that high" was inaccurate. In 2006 N.C. State had three defensive linemen taken in the first round: Mario Williams, Manny Lawson and John McCargo.
Christopher Kaldon, Memphis
In 2002 Miami defensive backs Phillip Buchanon, Ed Reed and Mike Rumph were all drafted in the first round.
C.J. Gonzalez, Lubbock
One solution to dealing with the complexities of "the hardest call" in basketball (Block, Charge, No Call, April 27) is to change charging from a foul on the offensive player into simply a turnover. This would take some pressure off the officials and mitigate the reward given to the defender for standing in a spot instead of actually playing defense.
Dave Childers, Dubois, Ind.
Never on Sunday
Another example for your list of conflicts between sports and religion (SCORECARD, April 27) is the 2003 NCAA basketball tournament. After the brackets were announced people realized that BYU was slotted for a Sunday game if it reached the Elite Eight. So the NCAA, to accommodate the school's restriction against playing on that day, made plans to move BYU to another bracket if the Cougars advanced that far. BYU lost to UConn in the first round.
Michael Dempsey, Seattle
In defending Warriors guard Jamal Crawford, who has never made the playoffs in his nine NBA seasons (POINT AFTER, April 27), Phil Taylor excuses Crawford's sometimes playing "less than inspired defense" by asking, "Who in the NBA doesn't [play that way]?" How about Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul and Tim Duncan? Crawford may be a good guy, but that isn't what gets a team to the playoffs.
Marc Wilson, Augusta
Eyes of the Beholders
Congrats to your design team (EDITOR'S LETTER, April 27). The new layout is cleaner, the stories are easily accessible and the headline typeface is very impactful.
Matthew Krob, Director
Publications and Graphic Design
Saint Louis University
... I was delivered a magazine today that actually made my eyes hurt.
Aimee Foster, Stuart, Fla.
... My favorite aspect of the redesign is the relocation of the captions from inside the LEADING OFF images to the side, so they no longer dilute the photos' magnificence.
Doug Foran, Aloha, Ore.
... I'm not big on change usually, but I think I could get used to the new look. It's really the articles that matter, and their good quality hasn't changed.
North Potomac, Md.
... I love the new format—Inside columns up front, THE VAULT in the back. It keeps the magazine fresh for longtime readers.
Steve Osborne, Fulton, N.Y.
... I hate some of the new changes, especially The VAULT/SI.COM section. It's a four-page advertisement for SI.com.
Andrew W. Barrett
... I must air one grievance: You have taken the once jovial, Kingsford-charcoal-man Dan Patrick and turned him into a somber semblance of actor Chris Cooper.
C. David Luckenbaugh Plainsboro, N.J.
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PETER READ MILLER (COVER)