Who Is That Man?
In the SCORECARD section of your Sept. 30 issue, you listed the 12 American League and 14 National League pitchers with the fastest fastballs. No Dodger pitcher was mentioned, but at Dodger home games there's a guy behind home plate with a radar gun on every pitch. Who is this man?
?He's Mike Brito, a Dodger scout since 1978. One of his discoveries was Fernando Valenzuela, whom he signed in Mexico in 1980.—ED.
U.S. Olympic Basketball Team
I don't think the committee that selected the 1992 U.S. Olympic basketball team (A World of Their Own, Sept. 30) could have done a better job. Every man on this team can create his own shot, run the court and play defense. The team boasts players with some of the best attitudes in the NBA; putting Isiah Thomas on it would have been a move in the other direction.
Siler City, N.C.
Do people really believe that individual talent is all it takes to win the gold? Basketball is a team sport, and no matter how great our players are, they will still be a pickup team playing against outfits that have been together as units for years. Our "can't-lose" team is going to consist of many tired men; what with the playoffs lasting well into June, some of them will have played close to 100 games. In short, I'm not expecting the walkover that many are.
How can Isiah Thomas and Dennis Rodman have expected to be selected after their classless performance in the NBA playoffs last season? Their early exit and crybaby attitudes were an insult to the word professional. I would have been embarrassed to have had them represent us in Barcelona.
So what if the U.S. dominates the rest of the world in 1992? It's obvious that the USOC, USA Basketball and the NBA have gotten so caught up in the winning-is-everything philosophy that they had to change the rules. In doing so, they may have done irreparable harm to amateur sports in this country.
STEPHEN M. SCHECHTER
New York City
High School Athletic Programs
You hit the nail on the head with your article about high school athletic programs (Why Johnny Can't Play, Sept. 23). One benefit not mentioned is that these programs often bond students, parents and communities in spite of differing backgrounds and cultures.
As a high school athletic director, I am fortunate to have excellent parental, administrative and school board support. Even so, there are problems that make an athletic director's job nearly impossible. We have 30 athletic squads involving 44 coaching positions, yet I am required to teach two classes, have only a part-time secretary and am on only an 11-month contract.
The days are long, the phone rings nightly, and at least every third Saturday I have to put in several hours. In addition to the roughly 250 regular-season contests, we direct many district, regional and state competitions. We are in charge of finances, scheduling, transportation, site rentals, preparation and purchasing. Where can one find the time and energy to continue at this pace for more than a few years?
Perhaps your informative article will enlighten people about the financial strains being placed on athletic programs and will help them to see the importance of athletics as it relates to academics, self-esteem and school discipline.
E.C. Glass High School