The story of the Macon Ironmen highlights the impact that baseball has had on small-town America. Macon's improbable journey reminds us of the timelessness of this country's revered pastime and helps us appreciate a team playing not for personal accolades or dream-seeking parents but for the joy of the game.
Jeff Vandlen, Cadillac, Mich.
Thank you, Chris Ballard, for the colorful game-by-game description of Macon's journey to the 1971 Illinois state title game (The Magical Season of the Macon Ironmen, June 28). I was on the edge of my seat rooting for every win. What a refreshing contrast to today's over-hyped high school programs and their multimillion-dollar facilities and ESPN telecasts.
This article made me appreciate the teammates and coaches I was lucky enough to play with when my baseball team made an improbable run to state in 2007. Winning is a good goal, but it's the relationships we make that we'll remember down the road. The 1971 Macon High team shows us that.
Webster City, Iowa
The Yankee Ripper
Although Tom Verducci's piece on Robinson Cano's hitting prowess was excellent, it told only half the story (Second to None, June 28). Cano also has a whipsaw arm and excellent hands, and he arguably turns the double play better than any second baseman since Roberto Alomar. Verducci also failed to mention that in 2009 Cano and Derek Jeter were the first middle infield partners to each have at least 200 hits in the same season.
Rick Bueti, Chappaqua, N.Y.
The cover story should have been about the Lakers team winning this year's title instead of Kobe's challenges in winning next year's title (Dynasty: Beginning or Ending?). Sadly, this story minimizes the difficulty a team faces in winning a pro championship and robs players like Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol and Derek Fisher of much-deserved recognition for a job well done.
Mike Vinson, Dallas
I understand the need to focus on the Lakers as the NBA champions, but you should have acknowledged Boston's accomplishments during these playoffs as well. The Celtics had a remarkable run, defeating three teams with superstars and two with better regular-season records, and taking the Lakers all the way to the fourth quarter of the seventh game of the Finals.
I enjoyed Leigh Montville's essay on Manute Bol's remarkable journey through life (SCORECARD, June 28). Of course he blocked a ton of shots, but I'll never forget the way the Oakland Coliseum erupted when Bol made three-pointers for the Warriors. I once saw him hit two or three to bury Clyde Drexler's Trail Blazers. He always looked like he was having fun, and he sure was fun to watch.
Dave Evans, Glen Ellyn, Ill.
To describe Bol's roots as the "Stone Age simplicity of loincloths and spears" disparages the rich culture of Sudan, which despite its turmoil contributed much to the greatness of this magnificent man.
Bill Foster, Sacramento
After reading the article on Pete Carroll (Why Is This Man Smiling? June 28), it dawned on me why he is so happy. The Seahawks coach is not much different from a CEO who leaves a FORTUNE 500 company in ruins while he pockets millions.
Bel Air, Md.
The NCAA should invoke a five-year ban on coaches like Carroll, who are responsible for their programs' being put on probation. That way when Carroll flops again in the NFL, some desperate, win-at-all-costs school won't be able to hire him.
Andy Andrews, Eunice, La.
Selena Roberts neglected one crucial point in her otherwise well-written piece comparing the controversies surrounding Tiger Woods and Barry Bonds (POINT AFTER, June 28). Tiger cheated on his wife, but he never cheated at golf. Bonds cheated all of baseball and should suffer the same fate as Pete Rose.
Mark Dunn, Keswick, Ont.
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