Finally you have a cover and an article about the fantastic feats of Serena Williams. Thanks for acknowledging her beauty and boldness. She is the embodiment of an athlete who has grown into her fame, and I am proud to have witnessed her extraordinary talents.
JoDean Ward, Goodyear, Ariz.
For L. Jon Wertheim to even suggest that Serena Williams might be the best of all time is patently absurd (Serena Supreme, July 12). How many of the current players Williams beats so soundly does Wertheim see joining her in the Hall of Fame? Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert, Steffi Graf, Monica Seles, Billie Jean King and Margaret Court faced future Hall of Famers time and again. Serena will have to settle for "best of her [relatively inferior] era."
Mary Towey, Hampton, Va.
No doubt about it, Williams is one of the greats. Her poor sportsmanship, however, offsets her amazing ability. She doesn't give credit to her opponents when she loses, and she's still convinced she was justified in her behavior at the 2009 U.S. Open. She's a champion but not a role model.
Rob Moore, Coronado, Calif.
I agree that there needs to be a distinct play-by-play voice of American soccer (SCORECARD, July 12). But the analyst who will work alongside that person has already been found. John Harkes should be praised for his work during the World Cup. He has credibility as a former World Cup player, and his name is familiar to American fans. Most important, Harkes provided commentary that made sense to the casual observer without being dumbed down.
Joe Clifford, Bronx, N.Y.
I found the commentary of England's Ian Darke and his associates to be one of the highlights of the World Cup. Football announcer John Facenda (the Voice of God) was instrumental in the growth of the NFL, and I think that Darke has similar potential to aid in the growth of soccer's popularity in this country.
Richard Quinn, Woburn, Mass.
Miseries of Pittsburgh
The article describing the winning formula for turning the Pirates around failed to mention the most important thing this organization lacks: pride (Not a Pretty Picture, July 12). The 1980s was a dark time in Pirates history, with a drug scandal and one 100-loss season. What turned the team around was not drafting Barry Bonds but signing manager Jim Leyland, who accepted no excuses. Until the team gets a leader who's not afraid to kick some butt and teach players what it means to put on a Pittsburgh uniform, the Pirates will continue to be a laughingstock.
Jeff Lorelli, Fremont, Calif.
Having been to every current major league ballpark and 18 that are no longer in use, I also found PNC Park to be a "jewel." But what is most interesting to me is that the amount of money it took to build it was almost the same as the value of the contract Rangers owner Tom Hicks gave Alex Rodriguez in 2000, four months before PNC opened.
David Mullen, Dallas
While reading L. Jon Wertheim's story on the Pirates, I substituted Baltimore for Pittsburgh. The similarities are amazing.
I attended San Diego State while Don Coryell (The Game Changer, July 12) was the football coach, and each Thursday during the season, students could go to a small auditorium on campus where Coryell would spend an hour showing film of the previous week's game and of the next opponent. He always gave high praise to the opposing teams. What we learned from Coach Coryell was the importance of respect. His contributions to football are just a bonus.
Grant Wahl's notion that an intentional hand ball that prevents a goal should result in an automatic goal is ridiculous (All the World Sees Red, July 12). Would he also recommend that pass interference in the end zone result in an automatic touchdown? Athletes commit these intentional fouls with the hope that the other team will be unable to capitalize. Most often it doesn't work in the favor of the team that committed the penalty. In this case, however, Uruguay's Luis Suàrez saved his team from a sure loss. Sports are not only a showcase of strength and endurance but also of mental toughness and the ability to execute under pressure.
Mount Ephraim, N.J.
Instead of focusing on the positive ayoba spirit that radiated throughout the tournament, Wahl unfairly criticizes referees for calling the game within the parameters of the rules. There should be changes, but I'll choose to fondly remember Robben's runs, Klose's flips, Villa's finishing and Forlàn's lethal kicks.
Kevin Henders, Surrey, B.C.
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MIKE POWELL (COVER)