As a Canadian who lives in a city obsessed with the Maple Leafs, I'm often questioned about my love for the Blue Jays. It hasn't been easy to explain my passion for baseball, but now I don't need to—I can just give them Joe Posnanski's article.
Carol Starr, Toronto
Posnanski did a masterly job encapsulating the soul and spirit of a game that has created countless memories for Americans young and old (Loving Baseball, July 25). Although baseball is often referred to as the national pastime, that term is something of a misnomer, as the sport is not merely a thing of the past; it is an integral part of the present, and it will undoubtedly play a central role in the American landscape for the foreseeable future.
Aaron Troodler, Teaneck, N.J.
The caption for the photo on page 60 does not do justice to Billy Pierce of the White Sox (identified merely as an opponent) or to his venerable catcher, Sherm Lollar. Pierce was one of the premier southpaws of what was arguably baseball's greatest decade. He had a 211--169 record over 18 seasons, winning 20 games twice and striking out 1,999 batters. Lollar caught more than 100 games a season for Chicago for 10 straight years (1952 to '61) and was one of the best defensive backstops of his era. The linkage of that photo with the one of Tigers ace Justin Verlander is also resonant of Posnanski's theme of baseball's timelessness: Pierce was born in Detroit and began his career with the Tigers as an 18-year-old in 1945.
Ross Doughty, Royersford, Pa.
The commentary from baseball writer, historian and statistician Bill James, longtime announcer Vin Scully and Brad Horn, senior director of communications and education for the Baseball Hall of Fame, along with Posnanski's insight into the game and the pictures from past and present, made the feature one of the best to appear in your magazine in some time.
Keith E. Domke, St. Clair, Mo.
Name That Pain
Steve Rushin's essay on the ever-changing lexicon of sports injuries was hilariously true (SCORECARD, July 25). I don't even attempt to read an injury report without pulling up a Google app.
Arsenio Franklin, Knoxville, Tenn.
After reading Rushin's story I think I, too, have an "inflamed colon." My stomach still hurts from laughing.
Robert Metzger, West Bloomfield, Mich.
My daughter competed in a meet that Ryan Lochte also swam in (Fast Times in Shanghai, July 25). He signed hundreds of autographs, took hundreds of pictures and gave every medal he won to a young fan. He was every bit as nice as you depicted.
South Portland, Maine
Heart of the Matter
SI's cover photo of Hope Solo is a winner (Guts and Glory, July 25). In her face are all the attributes associated with sports: resilience, fierce determination, heartbreak and courage. Beautiful.
Gavin Kayner, Tucson
The U.S. team members should be so proud of the way they conducted themselves after losing to Japan in the final of the Women's World Cup. These athletes have been wonderful role models for kids competing in any sport.
Jeffrey Harnsberger, Bedford, N.H.
During a summer marked by lockouts in the NFL and NBA involving millionaire players and billionaire owners, and by a high-profile trial related to baseball's steroids era (United States v. William R. Clemens), Americans joyously supported a national sports team that exemplified the noblest aspects of competitive team sports.
Jeff Goldings, Pembroke Pines, Fla.
Grant Wahl's story was excellent in describing the emotional aspect of the game and the way it affected the final outcome, but he misses the main reason why it went into overtime and penalty kicks. The U.S. went into a prevent defense after each of its goals, and as a consequence the players lost concentration and allowed Japan to take control. This was a coaching decision, and it was the wrong decision both times.
Sal Gonzalez, San Mateo, Calif.
The shootout is not just "diabolical," as Wahl writes. It is a stupid, unimaginative way to settle a game, and it demeans the players by reducing the outcome to a gimmick. I propose the following: Line up three defenders and the goalkeeper against four players who are given the ball at midfield with two minutes to score. A goal, a kick out-of-bounds, the loss of control of the ball to the defense or the expiration of the two-minute clock ends the attempt. The first team to score three goals wins, with free substitutions allowed before each attempt.
Phil Corsello, Denver
I grew up in Detroit and from a young age developed a love and passion for the sport of baseball. I also grew up knowing about the great players of the Negro leagues. I want to thank Phil Taylor for his column (POINT AFTER, July 25), and I believe that what Jeremy Krock is doing to honor Negro leagues players is a great humanitarian gesture.
Michael D. Vlad, Thornton, Colo.
I love baseball and its history, and I enjoyed the article about the Negro leagues players. Please let me know how I can contribute to this project.
Bud Sutton, Seymour, Tenn.
EDITOR'S NOTE: For more information on the Negro Leagues Baseball Grave Marker Project, contact Jeremy Krock at nlbgmp.com.
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