Ralph Wiley's The Master Of The Key (Jan. 7) was an excellent and honest portrayal of Patrick Ewing. In the summer of 1981, as a ball boy for the East team in the National Sports Festival in Syracuse, N.Y., I had the opportunity to work with and live in the same dorm as Ewing. The most memorable moments were the after-dinner hours, playing pool or just talking in the lounge. I found that he is a funny, warm, intelligent person who cares a great deal about people. Thank you for doing him justice.
BERNARD V. BUONANNO III
As recent graduates of Georgetown and ardent supporters of Hoya basketball, we read with interest the article on Patrick Ewing. As Ralph Wiley says, Ewing has been maligned by the press and taunted by opponents' fans. Through it all, he has kept his composure and never lost sight of his goals: 1) to get an education and graduate, and 2) to lead the Hoyas to basketball greatness. He is a winner as a student and as an athlete.
ANN MISIASZEK MALONE
An envelope containing my semester grades from Georgetown and the Jan. 7 issue with the story on Patrick Ewing arrived in the mail on the same day. I opened up my grades and was disappointed with the results. My hopes for a position on Wall Street or for a possible M.B.A. seemed dashed. However, after I read about Ewing, my dreams were renewed. His desire, intensity and hard work inspired me. If he can overcome so much and prevail, then why can't I? I decided not to let a temporary defeat set me back. My thanks to Ralph Wiley and to my classmate, Ewing.
I read in your INSIDE PITCH (Dec. 17) that the A's traded Rickey Henderson. Ray Burris and Bill Caudill to different clubs because the team was having "continued financial troubles." Certainly those fine athletes are worth a lot, but I'm wondering what the long-term goals of those trades were.
They won't help attendance. With Henderson stealing bases in New York, Burris throwing curves in Milwaukee and Caudill making saves in Toronto, who's going to be watching the games in Oakland?
The trades won't improve fan morale, either. A fan's identity with a team has a lot to do with its players. I like the guys who were sent away. Whom do I now root for, and with how much fervor?
Finally, I doubt the trades will improve the team. The A's needed to add a steady pitcher or two, not trade away their best. They needed to add punch to their lineup, not give it away to New York. Last season the A's had a chance to be contenders. Now they're going to be more like pretenders.
So what were the long-term goals of those trades?
BOWLS OR PLAYOFFS
As expected, the crowning of BYU as No. 1 has caused indignant bellowing over the need for a major college football playoff. Unfortunately, playoff proponents fail to consider the flaws inherent in any such system. First is the inevitable unfairness of the selection process. Is an 8-3 Ohio State team more deserving or less deserving of a tournament berth than a 9-2 East Carolina squad? As co-captain of Lawrence University's 1979 Midwest Conference champions, who were 9-1 but snubbed out of the NCAA Division III playoffs in favor of a team with two losses, I can attest to the geographic and historic prejudices that bias the assessment of how "tough" a team's schedule may be.
Second, if a playoff is intended to resolve beyond dispute the issue of which team is best, it's doomed to failure. Witness, for example, the legions of fans, sportswriters and coaches who continued to insist that Nebraska was No. 1 in 1983, despite the Corn-huskers' one-point loss to Miami in the Orange Bowl. The effects of fluke plays, injuries and officiating mistakes give rise to the truism that the best team does not always win.