What a sad commentary on the state of baseball when the cover of the SI preview issue (March 26) ignores the near certainty that Hank Aaron's career home run record will be broken this year. Is Barry Bonds so reviled that he must be marginalized by the press? What will happen this summer when number 756 splashes into McCovey Cove?
Carl Barrington, Lawrenceville, Ga.
I had the privilege of seeing Daisuke Matsuzaka pitch in the World Baseball Classic, and I concur with Tom Verducci (The Riddle, March 26) that he is the real deal. As an Asian-American who grew up without an athletic role model in my race, I am proud that Matsuzaka, Ichiro Suzuki and Yao Ming are excelling in American sports.
Mike Takeuchi, Goleta, Calif.
Matsuzaka's fate was apparently sealed back in high school. Your picture of him in his 1998 Yokohama victory pose clearly shows him wearing what looks like old-time Red Sox hosiery!
Richard Walega, Westborough, Mass.
I hate to admit it, but you fooled me back on April 1, 1985, with your article on a Far Eastern phenom named Sidd Finch and his 168-mph fastball. You didn't fool me this time. Your article on another Far Eastern phenom—this one named Daisuke Matsuzaka—who throws eight different pitches, plays 300-foot-long toss and has 300-pitch bullpen sessions is just another piece of April Foolery! Nice try.
Rick Horas, St. Louis
You rank the Minnesota Twins as the 17th-best team in baseball. The Twins won the AL Central, probably the toughest division last year; have one of the game's best general managers in Terry Ryan; one of the best managers in Ron Gardenhire; and last year's Cy Young winner ( Johan Santana), Most Valuable Player (first baseman Justin Morneau, who bats fifth in their lineup) and batting champ (catcher Joe Mauer). Joe Nathan—no disrespect to the Yankees' Mariano Rivera—is the best closer in the majors. The Twins should be in the top 10, if not the top five. Are you sure you didn't get them mixed up with the Minnesota Vikings?
Mark Wolden, La Crosse, Wis.
For the Cincinnati Reds the fifth starter is Matt, not Mike, Belisle. As a proud father and longtime SI subscriber I was disappointed—but my cousin Mike was quite pleased.
Mark J. Belisle, Austin
EDITOR'S NOTE: SI regrets the error.
With a commissioner like Bowie Kuhn (PLAYERS, March 26), baseball never would have had a steroid scandal. Did Bud Selig ever try using his "best interest of the game" power to stop the spread of steroid use as Kuhn used it to stop Charlie Finley's attempts to sell off his Oakland A's superstars? I was among a throng of fans who booed Kuhn when he was introduced at the 1981 Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Now I am ashamed. Even with the baseball strike that summer, is there any doubt baseball was in much better shape then than it is today?
Erik Sherman, New Rochelle, N.Y.
I just read Majoring in Cyberheckling (LIFE OF REILLY, March 26) and wanted to mention another college Facebook group that "pokes" players on opposing teams. I attend the University of Wyoming, home of the Cowboys, a.k.a. Cowpokes. A graduate student here started the group Poke the Other Team's Quarterback. So the opposing players are now being poked by 'pokes!
Nigel Miller, Elizabeth, Colo.