After reading your article on the Lakers-Pistons series (Past, Present and Future, July 4), I'm confused. Which team won the NBA championship? I thought it was Los Angeles, but the amount of space you gave Detroit suggested otherwise. Instead of telling us what the Pistons need to do to win a title, you should have told us what the Lakers did to win this year.
You've got to be kidding. No NBA team in 19 years has won back-to-back titles, and you put a fight that lasted only 91 seconds on your cover.
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
As an Englishman, I read Those Thugs Again by Clive Gammon (June 27) with a sense of shame. Millions of people who watch and play soccer in Great Britain are disgusted by the actions of those thugs in West Germany. When the U.S. hosts the World Cup soccer finals in 1994, perhaps it would be better if England failed to qualify.
It is unfortunate that most of the publicity that soccer gets derives from the violence and chaos surrounding the sport. Obviously the rampant, stupid hooliganism in England and the rest of Europe taints the game and deserves attention, but do us a favor and make the sport your primary focus, not the arrest counts of drunken yobs and skinheads.
A little over three years ago, I was a spectator at Heysel Stadium in Brussels when 39 people were killed in rioting before the European Cup final between Juventus and Liverpool. Since then I have followed the futile attempts to eliminate such rioting in England and elsewhere in Europe.
However, it is important to note that, while hooliganism threatens to destroy soccer in England, there are other European countries that do not have this problem. Denmark brought 30,000 fans to the tournament in West Germany without violence. Danish soccer fans, known for their passion and sportsmanship, call themselves roligans, from the Danish word rolig for quiet. With the 1994 World Cup tournament taking place in the U.S., let us hope that the distances and costs involved will keep the hooligans at home.
Kevin Cook's story about Aron Garcia (The Comeback Kid, June 27) is an inspiration for those seeking to overcome injury, but it should also serve as a warning for those who come back too soon. As an 11-year-old pitcher, I too broke my right humerus while on the mound. I had to have an operation and was advised not to pitch again. Fortunately my arm was not permanently damaged, and I finished my Little League career as a second baseman. I hope Aron and others who suffer injuries will learn to come back slowly.
I am distressed by the ease with which the issue of whether Little Leaguers should throw the curveball was brushed aside. In your story, orthopedic surgeon Alan Beyer points out that studies by sports surgeon Frank Jobe demonstrate that "a properly thrown curveball puts no more stress on the arm than a well-thrown fastball." How many youngsters know how to throw a proper curveball? How many parents know how to teach the techniques of a proper curveball? A 12-or 13-year-old reading this statement by a doctor may disregard the key word "properly."
Plainview, N. Y.
I hope I'm wrong, but a 13-year-old pitcher with an elbow operation is likely to be a has-been by the age of 20.
Somewhere in America there are 13-year-olds who play baseball for fun. Their fathers and mothers do not own a Porsche or Mercedes, and the youngsters don't have pitching coaches, therapists or publicists. They may never get to a Little League World Series, but with God's help they'll progress naturally, and some will be in the major leagues within a decade.
MICHAEL A. POLACEK, M.D.