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November 20, 2006
Spicy Stuff
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November 20, 2006


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Thanks to Tom Verducci for writing what many baseball traditionalists believe: that the wild-card era has robbed the World Series of its integrity (A Series of Unusual Events, Oct. 30). It's no longer a match between the best teams in each league. Second place—or mediocrity in the case of the Cardinals—is good enough to get in, and the commissioner, far from being embarrassed, is happy to keep the F ox TV money rolling in.
Michael Bink, Northville, Mich.

Does the regular season mean anything anymore? The Pittsburgh Steelers won the Super Bowl as the No. 6 seed from the AFC; George Mason reached the Final Four as an 11th seeded mid-major; the Edmonton Oilers got to the Stanley Cup finals as the eighth and final seed in the West with only a. 500 regular-season record; and now the St. Louis Cardinals earn a trip to the World Series with only 83 wins.
Joseph Ragozzino, Passaic, N.J.

Crime and Punishment

Count me among the thousands of Americans you hear applauding Rick Reilly's comments on the BALCO fiasco and the price the two reporters are likely to pay (Life of Reilly, Oct. 30). I would like to think that the mail Reilly gets could be bundled and shipped to the Oval Office—accompanied by someone who would read it and explain it to the president.
J. R. Hudson, West Des Moines

The founding fathers recognized—and put in the U.S. Constitution—the need for a strong press. The press, however, like every institution created in the name of freedom and democracy, is limited by rules and laws. When members of the press come to believe that they know better than the law and that the end justifies the means, then the risk of the fourth estate's abusing its enormous power is too great. It may not be fair if the two reporters go to jail, but it is the law, and personally, I'd rather see that than a press or a government (see Nixon, Richard M.) that believes laws are merely behavioral suggestions and can be ignored in favor of a personal agenda. By the way, I also agree that these guys deserve a Pulitzer Prize.
Peter V. Gelderman, Trumbull, Conn.

I'm only 13, but I don't understand how the Giants' Barry Bonds gets to break home run records while the Chronicle's Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams are likely to spend 18 months in prison. Ridiculous.
Ben Bartelmay, New Buffalo, Mich.

Reilly has uncovered the answers to some of the burning questions that have been keeping me up at night: Who is responsible for the BALCO steroid scandal? And who is responsible for the two San Francisco Chronicle reporters' breaking the law and subsequently being sentenced to prison? Now, thanks to Reilly, we know. Is it Victor Conte? No. Is it the two reporters themselves? No! It's George W. Bush! I agree with Mr. Reilly. Let's look the other way and completely ignore the law concerning the disclosure of grand jury testimony. Perhaps, then, these two reporters can remain at liberty to investigate whether President Bush is also responsible for the pine tar smear on Kenny Rogers's hand, Terrell Owens's overdose and the Bowl Championship Series.
R.T. Christopher, Wilmington, Del.

Reilly's column on Fainaru-Wada and Williams is a public service. Perhaps they'll win the Pulitzer while they're in jail. Surely justice and decency will eventually prevail.
Margye S. Baumgardner, Pacific Palisades, Calif.

Cold Comfort

I enjoyed Michael Farber's Farm-Fresh, NHL Ready (Oct. 30) about the four Staal brothers: Eric, Marc, Jordan and Jared, the first and third of whom are already playing in the NHL. I'm not a hockey enthusiast, but every true sports fan can appreciate kids who are "impervious to the lung-searing Ontario winter"—or those who take batting practice in 100� weather, scrape snow off the basketball court or are willing to tackle a football carrier into a mud hole. It's nice to know there are still some young athletes who are committed to sports and to being good citizens. Thank you, Mr. Farber.
Jay Kennedy, Frankfort, Kans.

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