Parents and coaches share in taunting blame

I concur with Milton Kent's recent article ["Showoffs need lessons about how to win," Jan. 14] that a portion of the blame for the taunting and misbehavior that occurs at many high school athletic events belongs on the shoulders of parents who taunt opposing players and fans, officials and coaches on both sidelines as much as their own children.

However, I believe a larger portion of blame falls on the shoulders of coaches and athletic administrators who not only condone but also set an example for this behavior with bad behavior of their own.

One only has to look at box scores to see signs of bad sportsmanship. Is it sportsmanlike to allow your team to beat an opponent 102-2?

Is it appropriate that a coach who receives technical fouls in contest after contest for verbal abuse of officials be reassigned to his position year after year?

Or do those actions, mercilessly beating an opponent and showing that the officials are there to be abused, set a bad tone for players and spectators alike?

If athletic administrators in the schools, and more so in the county system, were as heavy handed as the NFL in assigning punishment for misbehavior, perhaps this disturbing trend of unsportsmanlike behavior might be stemmed before it reaches our television sets on Sunday afternoons.

Erin E. Kimes


Orioles break promise with continued inaction

As a longtime Orioles fan, I am very disappointed in the team's inaction this offseason. Mike Flanagan and Jim Beattie said they had money to spend, but it sounds like they have been offering Syd Thrift's Confederate money.

They promised the fans that they would go after a front-line pitcher and another big bat. But their halfhearted effort has resulted in the addition of neither.

With many players wanting to play for a contender, the Orioles should realize they might need to overpay for someone like Carlos Delgado.

With the current squad, the Orioles will be hard-pressed to have as good a won-lost record as in 2004.

Burl Wolfe

New Freedom, Pa.

Mientkiewicz wrong to keep Series ball

I believe it is wrong for Boston Red Sox player Doug Mientkiewicz to keep the legendary last-out baseball from the 2004 World Series, just as it is wrong for any other player to do so without the consent of his team.

Mientkiewicz's greed and selfishness further tarnish the idea that teamwork is the key to sports. After all, the ball was not purchased nor owned by Mientkiewicz. His job is to catch it, hit it or throw it.

There is no difference between his action and the person who tightens the last bolt on the last limited-edition vehicle and then decides to drive it home, stating, "There's four years at Florida State for one of my kids."

My mistake. There is a difference: The vehicle incident is fiction; the Mientkiewicz incident is theft.

Steve Brooks


Outdoors column is a real Sunday treat

The only time I try to beat my husband to the sports section is on Sunday, when the outdoors column by Candus Thomson is published. It's always readable and interesting, especially her end-of-year summary.

Sandi Adams


Showing lighter side of sports is appreciated

Among all the complaints about the new look at The Sun (many of them are justified), I appreciate one change - it is a sense of humor in the sports pages now.

With all the egotistical owners, overpaid athletes and college coaches making far more than they deserve, there's much need for a good laugh.

A. Thomas Baumgartner


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