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Isn't it ironic that the Red Sox spent $161 million building a team around the concept of sabermetrics, yet G.M. Theo Epstein and manager Terry Francona blame Boston's epic collapse not on statistics but on the lack of good old team chemistry? Where is the algorithm for that?

Dan Haulman, Lebanon, Pa.

I enjoyed Tom Verducci's article on how well Epstein and the Red Sox brain trust practiced the science espoused in Moneyball (The New Moneyball, Sept. 26). However, I think the real Moneyball success story is in Tampa Bay. The Rays lost their seven highest-paid players last season, had a payroll smaller than every team in the majors except the Royals, and yet they still made the playoffs.

Lee Chirgwin, Orleans, Mass.

As a recovering Rotisserie baseball addict I can appreciate statistics as much as anyone. However, the fact remains that Billy Beane's Athletics have never made it to the World Series.

Gary Wong

Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.

Big Bear

Your article on Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III (Back of All Trades, Sept. 26) reminded me a lot of Oregon's Darron Thomas, who rescinded his commitment to LSU after it wouldn't guarantee him a spot at quarterback. It baffles me how players who have the skills to flourish at quarterback end up going to other programs just because coaches pigeonhole them as cornerbacks or receivers. Griffin has put Baylor football back on the map. His success on and off the field is a breath of fresh air.

Ben Ingersoll, Fresno

Put Up Your Dukes

Watching Floyd Mayweather Jr., one of the greatest boxers of our time, sucker-punch his way to a chump victory over yet another less-than-worthy opponent made me even more angry that he won't man up and take on the best pound-for-pound fighter, Manny Pacquiao (SCORECARD, Sept 26). While talented, Mayweather has settled on being one of the biggest blowhards in boxing.

Tyson Wehrmeister

Kenosha, Wis.

The World's Game

I spent two years in Zambia as a health extension volunteer for the Peace Corps, so Alexander Wolff's article on sports around the globe (Sports Saves the World, Sept. 26) definitely struck a chord with me. While abroad I was able to witness firsthand the impact that soccer has had on rural communities, not only as one of the few forms of entertainment available but also as an effective medium for empowering young people. Soccer events are often used as a means to educate individuals about various health issues such as HIV and to provide HIV testing services in small, isolated areas. The impact that soccer has on these villages goes far beyond what I have experienced with sports here in the U.S. In Zambia soccer is not just a game but rather an integral part of the lifestyle.

Drew Woodward, Oakland

As fans we often think of sports as a diversion from everyday life. However, I believe the social skills our children learn on the field can help promote teamwork and good synergy off the field.

Eric M. Amkraut

Berkeley Heights, N.J.




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After a few surprises and upsets in Week 5, which NFL team is reeling the most?

Philip (@philipm35cn): It's easily Michael Vick and the Eagles. They have been outplayed by almost everyone, and their defense is atrocious.

RevChuck Flynn: The Colts at 0--5. They serve as a great example of why NFL teams need an adequate backup quarterback.

Alex Sandoval (@LEXthePEX): With LB Mario Williams out for the season and WR Andre Johnson out for this week's game against the Ravens, it's gotta be the Texans.

Logan Timmons (@ timmons_9) The J-E-T-S. Their defense can't stop anything, they can't run the ball, and Mark Sanchez is in way over his head.

Tim Bradley: Obviously the so-called Dream Team in Philly is having issues at 1--4, but you have to add the Giants to the mix. Big Blue dropping a home game to the Seahawks? That's reeling.