Hill says he has "dark memories" of his time in Orlando. He was paid $93 million and averaged only 33 games during his seven-year contract with the Magic—an average of $465,000 per game. The first three years he played a total of 47 games. Then he got healthy and left town. If a team gave me $93 million to sit around, I wouldn't consider it a "dark memory."
Winter Park, Fla.
Old School Approach
Rangers team president Nolan Ryan's comments on starting pitching were a breath of fresh air for baseball lovers (Nolan Ryan's Crusade, May 24). Coaches who advocate pitch counts need to take a look at the careers of pitchers such as Juan Marichal, Don Drysdale and Warren Spahn to see the effects of allowing a pitcher's competitive spirit to dictate how long he stays in. Let's hope Ryan's thinking spreads fast across the league.
Jay Fike, Southlake, Texas
Ryan's new program is probably having some impact, but it's not the biggest reason for the Rangers' improvement. In 2008 they were among the worst defensive teams in baseball, according to every advanced defensive metric. Before the next season began, Texas moved Michael Young to third, put Elvis Andrus at shortstop, and added defensive legends Andruw Jones and Omar Vizquel, and the team's defense moved into the MLB's top 10. It is similarly ranked this season. On the other hand the metrics that remove defense from pitching show that Texas ranked 28th in pitching in 2008, 23rd in 2009 and 24th this season after 54 games.
Joe Halverson, Jacksonville
I hope SI's readers don't extrapolate that Ryan's ideas apply to pitchers of any age. As a physical therapist, I see the number of arm injuries in young pitchers reaching epidemic proportions. Pitch counts by age group are only part of the solution, but they are a valuable tool to remind players, coaches and parents that arms are not inexhaustible.
Josh Billings, Catonsville, Md.