A Manny in Full
Charles P. Pierce has written an entertaining and enlightening portrait to guide me out of my past confusion about a man who deserves our gratitude for his prodigious feats on the field of play (A Cut Above, July 5). I felt the sheer exuberance with which Manny Ramirez faces life and baseball. Does he occasionally do things in the field or at the plate that seem inexplicable? Of course he does, but Red Sox fans should recall that so did Ted Williams, and what used to be considered Williams's character flaws are now seen as manifestations of a charmingly crusty personality. Let's cut Manny some slack while he's still out there amazing us. And Manny, muchas gracias por el placer que nos ha dado a nosotros, los aficionados.
RON BENEDICT, Overland Park, Kans.
About that cover photo: Would better lighting and some makeup have killed you? Yikes!
KATIE MARTENS, Cleveland
Back when Manny was playing for the Cleveland Indians, Sister Mary Assumpta (famous for bringing chocolate chip cookies to the Tribe's players and coaches) was interviewed on National Public Radio. She said she always prayed before Indians games; when asked what she wished to achieve, she replied, "I hope that Manny brought his brain to the ballpark." I think your article backs her up.
KATHRYN M. LYLE, Novelty, Ohio
I'll grant Tom Verducci that baseball has been extremely fortunate this season (10 Reasons Why Baseball Is Back, July 5), but baseball is only "back" for the suckers who are willing to delude themselves into thinking that the game's moronic owners, greedy players and militant union bosses won't revert to form and yank it all away as soon as they think their misdeeds have been forgiven, or forgotten, by enough fans. Me? I'm celebrating 10 years of life without baseball, and I couldn't possibly miss it less.
Sierra Vista, Ariz.
I agree with Verducci and commissioner Bud Selig that revenue sharing is good for baseball, but a minimum payroll of at least $40 million should be mandatory. According to your article, Tampa Bay received $19 million in revenue sharing following the 2003 season and is paying its players $29-5 million in 2004, the lowest total salary payout in the American League. That means the Devil Rays used a paltry $10.5 million—an amount that wouldn't get you a full season of Alex Rodriguez or Derek Jeter—to pay players out of their own operating budget.
ALEN BELJIN, Allentown, Pa.
Congratulations to MLB for joining the ranks of the NHL and NCAA basketball in rendering the regular season virtually meaningless. And Selig is thinking about adding even more wild-card teams? I can't wait to see sub-.500 teams playing in a snow-delayed November World Series.
LARRY LASS, Houston
Rick Reilly successfully caught the essence of the ArenaBowl (THE LIFE OF REILLY, July 5) and the experience of the players—very observant for an "annoying sportswriter." However, as the mother of SaberCats quarterback Mark Grieb, I feel he didn't even mention some of the other really good things about this league: players who happily sign autographs after every game, great fans in every arena (those RattlersFans had that place rockin') and free T-shirts slung into the stands. Too bad you missed out on the live buffalo that used to be the Rattlers' mascot.
SHELLY GRIEB, San Jose
Arena Football fans are not being disloyal to the NFL with our enthusiasm for this great sport. Maybe the NFL could use a little bit of that old-fashioned guts and glory, go-for-broke, iron-man mentality again.
WILLIAM REED, Reno
The Snook of Love
Thomas McGuane's Seeing Snook (July 5) was great. The fish has the toughness of the 1970s Philadelphia Flyers, the strength of the '85 Chicago Bears and the mental edge of the '90s New York Yankees all rolled into one slender body—with a racing stripe for full effect.
HUGH WALLACE, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y.
You probably have to be a fly fisherman to appreciate McGuane's piece. Or maybe just a fisherman. Or maybe just a lover of great writing.
JACK KARN, Birmingham