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February 11, 2002
Wild about MarianHow could you leave the Wild's Marian Gaborik (above) off your list of sudden stars? Gaborik's 45 points at the All-Star break were two behind Ranger Mike York's total—despite having played in five fewer games—and Gaborik had already surpassed his point total (36) and tied his goal total (18) as a rookie last year. Finally, while the 24-year-old York has been teamed with All-Star talents Theo Fleury and Eric Lindros, Gaborik is only 19 and in recent weeks has often lined up with journeyman Sergei Zholtok and career minor leaguer Richard Park, both of whom saw their numbers improve when they joined Gaborik's line.CHARLIE BEATTIE, Washington, D.C.
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February 11, 2002

Letters

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Wild about Marian
How could you leave the Wild's Marian Gaborik (above) off your list of sudden stars? Gaborik's 45 points at the All-Star break were two behind Ranger Mike York's total—despite having played in five fewer games—and Gaborik had already surpassed his point total (36) and tied his goal total (18) as a rookie last year. Finally, while the 24-year-old York has been teamed with All-Star talents Theo Fleury and Eric Lindros, Gaborik is only 19 and in recent weeks has often lined up with journeyman Sergei Zholtok and career minor leaguer Richard Park, both of whom saw their numbers improve when they joined Gaborik's line.
CHARLIE BEATTIE, Washington, D.C.

Triple Threat
I enjoyed your article about Floor Jordan's game (Three's a Charm, Jan. 14). As a longtime Celtics fan, reading about Jordan's owning the "game's nastiest head fake," his "patented fadeaway," his playing defense by "patrolling passing lanes like a free safety" and his "game now predicated on craft and guile," I couldn't help but think the 38-year-old Jordan is now playing the way Larry Bird played in his prime.
MARK METTLER, ST. CHARLES, Ill.

I stopped watching the NBA and reading SI in 1998, after Jordan—assisted by Dick Bavetta and his officiating friends—pushed, grabbed, traveled and shot his way to another title by beating the Jazz. I recently resubscribed to SI, and my first issue was Jan. 14, complete with yet another MJ-worshiping cover story. Are Mrs. Jordan and I the only people in America who are sick of him?
RAND BEACHAM Santa Clara, Utah

Icy Insights
What will it take for the national media to recognize the accomplishments of the Hurricanes (NHL Midseason Report, Jan. 14)? They sit atop their division; they have the league's finest line in Ron Francis, Sami Kapanen and Jeff O'Neill; they have a solid core of young players that includes Bates Battaglia, Erik Cole and David Tanabe; and their goaltending has been upgraded to include U.S. Olympian Tom Barrasso. Given all this, your cover headline "First-half surprises..." is woefully misleading. Come on, guys!
IRA BASS, Greensboro, N.C.

It's easy to see how you could overlook the lowly Blackhawks in your Rating the Cup Contenders section. After all, at the All-Star break Chicago was only third in the NHL, had a record against your Cup Contenders of 10-7-2 and was winning with hard work, not payroll dollars. It must bug the Red Wings to compare the Blackhawks' payroll with theirs and see that the extra cash they spent has bought them only 11 points in the standings. Makes me wonder how Brett Hull would have looked wearing his dad's number in the red, white and black.
ROLAND MILLINGTON, Creve Coeur, Ill.

Mannerly Mariner
A few years ago I was standing next to the visitors' dugout at County Stadium after a Reds win over the Brewers. As the players returned to the dugout, one of the last Reds in was Mike Cameron (Home Runner, Jan. 14). As his head disappeared under the dugout roof, a young boy, probably seven or eight years old, asked, " Mr. Cameron, could I have your batting gloves?" Like most everyone else standing in the area, I shrugged off the request until moments later, when two batting gloves came flying over the roof at the little fella's head. Everyone then saw a smile on Mike's face that was matched only by the smile the youngster had on his. That shows what kind of person Mike Cameron is.
KEVIN KLETTI, Germantown, Wis.

Who's Complaining?
When I go to the gym, I have to hang my pants and shirt on hooks and stand my shoes up at an angle at the bottom of the locker to get them to fit. It's really so sad that pro athletes are required to do nearly the same thing in some of the "worst" stadiums in the country (Clubhouse Confidential, Jan. 14). I'm sure they all deserve smiling valets with hangers ready to keep the players' Armani suits from actually touching their Gucci loafers. Perhaps we should change the name of their locker rooms to playpens or day care centers, because that's where you generally find spoiled, tantrum-throwing children.
ALAN W. HATCH, Springdale, Ark.

O.K., so the "families" that live in those sumptuous locker rooms are using masking tape and headphones to cut down on conflict. As the mother of four boys—ages 15, 14, 12 and 10—I can tell the managers faced with team feuding that more space and on-call chefs aren't the answer. The answer is "Because I'm your mother, and I said cut it out." Then make them walk the dog.
SARA WEINERT, Winfield, Kans.

Spurred to Lament
As an avid Florida fan, I find it heartbreaking that Steve Spurrier (SCORECARD, Jan. 21) would leave the Gators for a team with maroon-and-gold colors and an Indian nickname, and whose players are paid professionals wearing free shoes.
P.W. KOZAK, Aiken, S.C.

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