Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson (The Power of Two, Dec. 17) were not only good, they were gutsy. That separates them from the others.
Richard Catrambone, Decatur, Ga.
This is one Yankees fan who won't argue with the choice of Schilling and Johnson as Sportsmen of the Year. However, if Mariano Rivera had made a good throw to second base in the ninth inning of Game 7, the Yankees probably would have gotten a double play and won another World Series. Maybe then Rivera would have been named Sportsman for leading the Yankees to another championship. What a difference one play makes.
Lawrence Loewy, Coram, N.Y.
I applaud Johnson's humble statement, "Those guys did it for many years," in discussing his and Schilling's combined regular-season and postseason record (52-13) compared with that of Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale in 1965 (52-22). Also consider that in a four-man rotation Koufax (41) and Drysdale (42) started 83 of the Dodgers' 162 regular-season games that year. Johnson's and Schilling's attitudes truly befit the honor you have given them and express the continuity that makes baseball a great game. Your choices for the award were exactly what baseball and the nation needed this year.
Mark Rosenberg, Boca Raton, Fla.
Your picking of Johnson and Schilling would be quite sensible in any other year, but this is not any other year. You should have chosen those four heroic sportsmen who died while trying to take back control of doomed United Airlines Flight 93. A close second choice would have been the members of the FDNY and NYPD who showed us the true meaning of sports: putting the performance of the team—in this case, the lives of their fellow citizens—ahead of oneself.
Jeffrey S. Bender, Edmond, Okla.
Since your story on Johnson and Schilling focuses on father-son relationships, it's appropriate that my father and I—who both live in the Pacific Northwest—share a singular vision of "Sportsman" Randy Johnson. Whenever his name is mentioned, we remember that during the first half of the 1998 season he performed in less than stellar fashion (9-10, 4.33 ERA) while publicly demanding that the Seattle Mariners trade him. Once he was traded to the Houston Astros, he suddenly regained his form (10-1, 1.28 ERA). It is sad you chose to honor such a selfish individual. Congratulations to Curt Schilling for being named Sportsman of the Year.
Mark Fancey, Willamina, Ore.
Paying His Own Way
I applaud Governor Jesse Ventura for his stand against using public funds to build a stadium for the Minnesota Twins (SCORECARD, Dec. 17). I live in a city where the local teams—the Colts and the Pacers—have also cried poverty to get the taxpayers to pick up the tab for new digs. Many of those taxpayers can't afford to set foot in these stadiums. We also have in our city an incredible racetrack (maybe you've heard of it) that hosts a mere three events a year. The president, Tony George, continually updates his facility without screaming at the city leaders that he needs their help to keep going. Maybe these other so-called businessmen should drop by Tony's office to see how he does it.
Jane Brewster, Indianapolis
They Grow Up So Fast
Rick Reilly's column on Ty Tryon (THE LIFE OF REILLY, Dec. 17) reminded me of the time about 16 years ago when, while watching a very young Boris Becker triumph at Wimbledon, I jokingly asked my 16-year-old son, Billy, when he was going to make something of himself. About two years ago Billy asked me during a round of golf what I thought Becker was doing now and reminded me that he, Billy, was in his orthopedic surgery residency. "I've come a long way since my 16th birthday," he said. Rick, give your son some time. He may become a sports-writer someday.
Bill Estes Sioux Center, Iowa
The SI Dictionary?
Jim Haslett (Still Not a Saint, Dec. 17) n 1 : one who parties hard 2 : a hard drinker 3 : someone who enjoys using four-letter words 4 : a man who delights in fighting others in bars 5 : oh, yeah, but he's got his players' backs. Synonym: JUVENILE.
Jeff Ford, Naperville, Ill.
Do Unto Others
The secret of Steve Nash's success (The Tao of Steve, Dec. 17)? He has learned that the more one gives, the more one receives. It would be a better world if we could all be so wise.
John Beisner, Newport Beach, Calif.
What's He Got to Do?
Lance Armstrong wins the world's most grueling sports event for the third year in a row, does so while making sure his main competitor ( Jan Ullrich, far right, with Armstrong) can get back in the race following a horrific spill and is an inspiration to cancer patients, and he's still not Sportsman of the Year?
Mark Arnold, Lower Gwynedd, Pa.