What a great cover of Ken Griffey Jr. (Junior's Feeling Good, June 14). My wife, who doesn't know Ken Griffey Jr. from Karl Malone, excitedly brought me the issue and said, "That's what sports should be all about. He's having fun." Seeing Griffey's joy in the picture made me realize how fortunate we are to have sports and the athletes who love their games.
MARK WEATHERFORD, Colorado Springs
It is common knowledge that Ken Griffey Jr. swings for the fences, doesn't run out ground balls and loafs in the outfield to make routine catches look spectacular. What I didn't know until I read your story is that he laughs at—and apparently encourages—helmet-to-helmet contact in youth football games. That solidified my belief that once again Griffey is the Un-Sportsman of the Year.
MIKE TATKO, Clarkston, Wash.
For two years in a row you've denied the Stanley Cup champs the cover. I'm confused as to why the NBA, major league baseball and the NFL champions grace the cover every year, but the NHL champs get no respect.
BRENT CELMINS, Scottsdale, Ariz
I'm glad SI chose to feature Ken Griffey Jr. on the cover instead of the Stanley Cup-winning Tampa Bay Lightning (Lighting Strikes Twice, June 14). That way the public can continue to focus their attention on overpaid, aloof athletes instead of the personable, gutsy players who filled the rosters of both teams in the Cup finals.
DAVID COLBY San Diego
The 12-year-old Tampa Bay Lightning go through the growing pains that nearly every expansion team experiences and somehow they're long-suffering? Leave that term for teams that deserve it, such as the Blackhawks, the Maple Leafs and the Bruins, teams that have gone 30-plus years without hoisting the Stanley Cup.
TIM MOYSEY, Brockville, Ont.
If we're shipping out all of our sports, how come we can't get the FA Cup, Euro 2004, Rugby World Cup or other popular European sports (The Whole World Is Watching, June 14)? I think a lot of people would rather watch Premiership Soccer than an NFL Europe game. Anyone who has been to Europe would agree, the sports atmosphere there is far superior to the money-hungry American leagues.
CHROS McDOUGALL, St. Paul
Thanks so much to Steve Rushin for his comments on modern baseball stadiums (AIR AND SPACE, June 14). I do not understand why people feel the need to go swimming or ride a Ferris wheel instead of watching the game. Isn't watching a baseball game at a baseball stadium enough?
KERRY DROSKA, Green Bay
I was surprised to see that Nebraskans had determined, by a large margin, that Johnny Rodgers was the greatest athlete to live or play in the state. Rodgers was a tremendous football player but never accomplished anything of significance after college. The state's greatest athlete was Bob Gibson, who was a basketball star at Creighton, played with the Harlem Globetrotters and spent 17 years with the St. Louis Cardinals, going 251-174, striking out 3,117 and getting elected to the Hall of Fame in 1981.
NEIL W. SCHILKE, Fremont, Neb.
I can't believe that Heisman Trophy winner Eric Crouch wasn't among your all-time best athletes in Nebraska.
MATT MARTINI, Corpus Christi
Hail to the Cheek
As a lifelong Blue Jays fan, I was happy to see SI recognize broadcaster Tom Cheek's amazing streak of more than 4,347 consecutive games called (SCORECARD, June 14), before the death of his father caused him to miss a game on June 3. Unfortunately, Cheek has since had more tragedy in his life: Doctors recently had to remove a tumor from his brain, and he will require further treatment. Get well soon, Tom, so you can start another 4,000-game streak.
ANDREW ROGERS, Newmarket, Ont.