The Big Unit
It's true that Randy Johnson is off to a great start this season, but I would think twice before granting him the adoration that your article did (Total Command, May 8). He finished 6-0 in April, but how many of the players that he faced would have been in the major leagues 20, or even 10 years ago? How would Steve Carlton, Bob Gibson or Tom Seaver have done against Eric Owens and Aramis Ramirez?
BILL COBB, Tallahassee, Fla.
While there's no doubt that Johnson is the most dominant pitcher in baseball, it's only fair to point out that in 1998 he went 9-10 for the Mariners and then, following a July 31 trade to the Astros, finished the season at 19-11. He was unhappy in Seattle, and his performance reflected that. Ten-game turnarounds don't happen as the result of just a change in scenery, especially going from one dome ( Kingdome) to another ( Astrodome). Perhaps Johnson should explain the first half of 1998 to Mariners fans.
RANDY POLICAR, Tempe, Ariz
I've always felt that we lost Ken Griffey Jr. not this winter, but when Seattle traded Johnson. You don't let the best lefthanded pitcher of his generation leave without consequences. Losing Johnson was the beginning of the end for Junior and the Mariners.
SAM VAN FLEET, Vashon, Wash.
Their Cup Runneth Over
Kostya Kennedy's piece on the appeal of playoff hockey hit the nail on the head (SCORECARD, May 8). When you walk into an arena the night of a game, the air is crackling with electricity and excitement. His description of the passion and emotion was right on.
JOHN DANIELS, Brockport, N.Y.
Here's another reason that the Stanley Cup playoffs is the greatest show on earth: There's no time like overtime in the playoffs. The intensity in games is such that you find yourself holding your breath on every rush up the ice, because you never know if it will be the last.
CRIS SCHUTZ, Belmont, Calif.
Even more reasons: because you will sit on the edge of your seat for seven long hours, living and dying with every check delivered, every shot taken; because you will stay up until 2:30 in the morning watching a game in which neither of the two teams competing are among those you usually cheer for.
GEOFF RUGGERO, Concord, Ont.
No Time for the Ticker
Thank you, Jack McCallum, for your attack on the ubiquitous sports ticker, which has earned a spot alongside expansion, rising ticket prices and criminal behavior by athletes as one of today's most detestable sports trends (SCORECARD, May 8).
DAN O'SULLIVAN, Medfield, Mass.
Tell McCallum that black electrical tape is the easiest to use and works the best at blocking out the ticker.
JOHN ALCORN JR., Phoenix
Thank you for publishing Rick Reilly's article The Biggest Play of His Life (THE LIFE OF REILLY, May 1). Gay and lesbian teenagers need role models their own age to give them the courage to be themselves.
JODY WILSON, Pittsburgh
Inner courage and victories of the spirit are as important as those physical feats that provide great photo opportunities. Reilly's column about the courage of Corey Johnson in coming out and the response of his teammates and coach is a story of championship spirit and class.
MICHAEL ST. CLAIR, Auburndale, Mass.