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No more Dream Team?Now that we have...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

No more Dream Team?

Now that we have demonstrated that our basketball professionals are superior to anyone else's basketball professionals, perhaps, in 1996 we can return Olympic basketball to the college player.

As to the assertion that he understands the arguments against the "Dream Team", Mike Littwin, in his column of Aug. 9, understands about as much as the journalists covering the gladitorial contests in the ancient Roman Coliseum. The problem now, as then, is that the roaring crowd is in delirious agreement.

Carl G. Croyder

Baltimore

That's competition?

For Mike Littwin, the Dream Team might have evoked visions of "Ali fighting Louis," but for me, it triggered no visions, but rather memories of the great Joe Louis fighting poor Johnny Paycheck. Call it a lack of imagination on my part, call it a generation gap, but please don't call what we saw competition.

Joel Brooks

Baltimore

Blue Jays' blues

Just as with the terrorists in the movie "Die Hard," the Toronto Blue Jays, with the acquisitions of such veteran stars as Jack Morris and Dave Winfield, along with an already solid cast, had left nothing to chance in their drive to win their first World Series.

The only worry the Blue Jays had at the beginning of the season was wondering what team they will need to beat in the AL playoffs in order to catapult themselves into the World Series.

However, just as with the terrorists in "Die Hard," the Blue Jays didn't count on "one small thing." They didn't count on an up-and-coming young team that could possibly spoil their dream, and in the meantime, make heroes of themselves.

Never could the Blue Jays have imagined that it would be the Orioles who would be on the verge of stealing away their already wrapped up division title. That is what makes baseball the most magical of all sports -- for just as with life, you can never count out any one man or any one team. No matter what the odds may be.

Jeffrey F. Wiegand

Severna Park

Leave Cal alone

I don't understand how people can sit there and pick on Cal Ripken when they can perfectly see everything he's going through. It's not easy to play well when you don't even know who you'll be playing for next year. All that pressure does add up, and it does get tough.

Personally, I admire Cal. I think he's still doing great. I'm also upset at those people who say, "Let Cal go. With or without Cal Ripken, I'll still be an Orioles' fan." They obviously haven't been to many games. Sure, I'd probably still be an Orioles fan if Cal left. But you've got to admit, without Cal it would be like taking away the "O" from Orioles. As for all those people who think Cal isn't playing well, I'd like to see you out on the field with all that pressure.

Maria Rivera

Baltimore

Bored in Boston

During the weekend of July 31-Aug. 2, my wife and I watched the Orioles play the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. How great it was to see the "blue-collar" Orioles collapse the ivory tower of the "white-collar"

Red Sox.

The Red Sox are a collection of egotistical, stats-minded individuals who don't know the meaning of teamwork. On the field, they play baseball as though it's a game of tennis. Each player seems to play for himself, doing whatever it takes to serve his own self-seeking goal.

Many years ago, the Red Sox committed the greatest baseball blunder of all time. They sold a player named Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees. Ruth went on to become the greatest player who ever put on Yankees pinstripes.

Rather than learn by mistakes, the Sox sink deeper into a quicksand of errors.

In recent years, the Boston hierarchy has tried to improve its ballclub by signing mediocre free agents to multimillion dollar contracts.

Thinking the complexities of handling a bunch of misfit ballplayers could be resolved by firing a laid-back but winning manager, the Red Sox fired Joe Morgan. Then they hired a more aggressive but inexperienced (at the major-league level) Butch Hobson. A look at the current AL East standings reflects the results of this move.

To fellow Orioles fans: Be glad we have Johnny Oates, Cal Ripken, Brady Anderson, Mike Devereaux and Ben McDonald. We could be stuck with general manager Lou Gorman, an over-the-hill Wade Boggs and the self-possessed rebel, Roger Clemens. Perish the thought.

A. Bill Kearns

Boston

Hail, Ripkens

I am writing in response to a letter published in The Sun on Aug. 10 that said Eli Jacobs should get rid of Cal Ripken and send Bill Ripken and Cal Sr. along to keep him company. I cannot imagine how any Orioles fan could even think to mention that, and I know many fans would be heartbroken to see one Ripken leave, much less all three. So I suggest to this "fan" that he think about what the Orioles would be like without the Ripkens, because maybe then he'll see that his comment was foolish and ignorant.

Stacey Long

Millersville

Oates is poor manager

Johnny Oates is not a good manager. His batting order is usually poor, and how else can you explain these numbers: third in the league in on-base percentage and slugging, but leading the league in men left on base. The Orioles have the worst pinch-hitting batting average in the American League -- maybe the pinch hitters are rusty from not playing.

Perhaps the most glaring weakness is Oates' game strategy. He is always out-managed. The game that triggered this letter was the loss to Cleveland on Aug. 6. Storm Davis pitched brilliantly, with a low pitch count, but Oates brought in Gregg Olson for the ninth inning, in spite of an umpire behind the plate whose strike zone was about as big as a duckpin bowling ball.

Jack Smolenski

Ellicott City

Unload Olson

We are two ladies in our 70s who would like to voice an opinion on Gregg Olson. We think he stinks. He's an overrated, overpaid spoiled brat who is living on past glories. We saw him last year at "Turn Back The Clock Day," where he did everything but win the game. Unload him, Orioles.

Doris Dukes,

Doris Peach

Arbutus The Baseball Hall of Fame should be reserved for players only, not for sports writers or sports announcers.

If they want to enter a hall of fame, let them start their own. But, of course, it would be hard to find any nominees after the late Dick Young and Rodger Pippen. Those guys were real reporters!

John Zaruba

Baltimore

Hush, Jon; rest, Cal

Three letters in the sports page Aug. 2, one about Jon Miller, the other two about Cal Ripken, could cause some concern.

Miller is no "go to war Miss Agnes," and Ripken is no immortal Iron Horse. Miller should call the game with less idle chatter. Ripken should rest now and then, mostly now. This would give the irritable fans some peace of mind, while still wishing Jon and Cal well.

John Kasprzak

Baltimore

Give 'John' his due

I was very surprised to read on Aug. 8 that Gala Spingway was the top active Maryland lifetime thoroughbred money earner. Maybe someone forgot about Little Bold John, who is not only active but had just won two days earlier at Laurel to increase his earnings to $1,925,020. This victory was the 36th of Little Bold John's career, which includes some 25 stakes victories. Let's give credit where credit is due to a horse with more heart than 10 combined.

Robert T. Hall

Catonsville

Baseball for fans

The design and construction of Oriole Park at Camden Yards have produced unquestionably the finest ballpark in America. Of this there can be no doubt. Projections now indicate attendance may reach as high as 3.5 million people. Normal attendance in many preceding years numbered about a million people.

Where did the Orioles find the additional 2.5 million people? Orioles management would have us believe Washingtonians and Pennsylvanians fill the stands. A check of license plates on the stadium lot suggests this is not the case. The city of Baltimore is losing population, so a surge in local attendance seems very unlikely.

Viewing games from a variety of sections lends a great deal of insight. Club level patrons (use of the word fan here would indicate some knowledge of the game) seem to enjoy returning to their seats during three-ball, two-strike pitches with two outs and runners on base. Obviously, the majority of these patrons are tourists from areas where baseball is not played.

Signs have been placed to warn lower box seat ticket holders to watch for the ball. Enough said.

It seems the fans of Kahn, Malamud and Kinsella have only the bleachers for sanctuary. The inclusion of a concession stand and restroom directly beneath the bleachers manages to keep the true fan from mixing with the suburban socialites and collegians. How very thoughtful.

Certainly there are countless numbers of people scattered throughout Camden Yards who partake of baseball for baseball. Along the lines of an alcohol-free section, perhaps the Orioles should consider a baseball-only section. The ability to keep score should be restriction enough as to assume the probability of watching a game in peace.

Rob McCracken

Halethorpe

O, say, can you sing?

What do the Fernandezes, Larry Bird and the U.S. women's swim team have in common? They all stood at attention during the playing of the National Anthem at their medal ceremonies.

pare for the next Olympiad in Atlanta. How about setting aside one day for all the would-be contestants to learn the anthem and how to behave during the raising of the colors. And a seminar on good sportsmanship would be nice, so we won't repeat the whining, the accusations, the elbowing, etc., that marred many events.

Meanwhile, for all the winners and non-winners who comported themselves with dignity, decorum, and pride, we applaud and congratulate their all-out efforts.

Rita Parrish

Cockeysville

The Baltimore Sun sports department welcomes your letters, but we cannot publish them all. Short letters have preference. We require your name, address and a daytime telephone number. We edit letters for length and clarity when necessary; we strive to avoid changes in substance. Mail your letters to:

Sports Department The Baltimore Sun 501 N. Calvert St. Baltimore, Md. 21278-0001 ;)

Or fax us your letter:(410) 783-2518

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