Get better announcers
Why don't the networks issue a survey and find out just what the viewers want? Regarding television and radio, they hire some of the bottom-of-the-barrel announcers, such as Jon Miller, John Lowenstein, Mel Proctor, Ray KnighThe only way to enjoy a game when some of these fellows are on is to turn off the sound.
First pitch to the worthy
The traditional ceremony of throwing out the first ball at games by some big deal dignitary is an absolutely meaningless ritual. I often wonder why, for each and every game, this honor is not bestowed on those truly worthy -- the handicapped or underprivileged. (If need be, they could be assisted by an "insignificant" politician or executive.) Rex Barney would exhort tremendous applause in appreciation of a courageous individual who drew back and "heaved" a ball he or she might have had difficulty lifting or seeing.
Just imagine the joy gushing through the heart of a brave youngster thrilled by the fans' recognition of such efforts. Some players, out of sincere desire and not obligation, could hug the designated hurler. Others might present balls autographed by both teams or extend invitations to the honoree (and his or her friends) to have lunch or enjoy a movie with them. Tell me a more beautiful or important way to set the tone for a sports event.
Congratulations, Ed Hale! You have achieved the formula for breaking even in the Mediocre Soccer League (MSL). First, sign mediocre players to mediocre contracts, therefore finishing with a less-than-mediocre record.
Second, to Kenny Cooper: Don't blame referees such as Herb Silva for your losses. Crying about officiating is for losers in any sport. I'm sure San Diego has never had a problem with refs. Calls have a way of evening out for everyone.
Why is average OK?
Every time I listen to a sports talk show, I hear local fans calling up saying how excited and happy they'd be if the Orioles finish in third place, or maybe even (dare we think it?) second place. The trouble is I remember years ago when Baltimore was disappointed if the Orioles didn't at least win their division.
Maybe I'm spoiled because I remember those days, but the fact is the Orioles have too many average players in their starting lineup, and the Baltimore fans seem to have accepted this.
Joe Orsulak is a prime example of an average player. Joe's very popular and I know he always gives 110 percent on the field, but let's face facts: Orsulak has no power, doesn't hit .300 and has no speed. Teams do not win division titles with people such as Joe Orsulak and Brady Anderson in their starting outfields.
Let's look at the four teams who did win their respective divisions last year. The following players were outfielders for the Twins, Blue Jays, Braves and the Pirates, and they all hit more home runs, drove in more runs and stole more bases than Orsulak: Kirby Puckett, Shane Mack, Joe Carter, Devon White, Ron Gant, David Justice, Lonnie Smith, Bobby Bonilla, Andy Van Slyke and Barry Bonds.
Now that the Orioles are playing in a park with a short right-field porch, the Orioles should stop relying on banjo hitters such as Anderson, Orsulak and Mercedes, and give Chito Martinez a chance. Some people claim that Martinez hurt his chances when he went 0-for-19 this spring after a minor shoulder injury, but Anderson's practically gone 0-for-4-seasons, and he's starting every game. Martinez deserves to be used more than just as a pinch hitter, and yet Johnny Oates still is sticking with slap hitters in the outfield.
I know this letter probably will elicit some nasty responses from Orioles fans who cheer for average players such as Orsulak, but maybe what Baltimore needs is a team that's a little less popular and a little more successful. Let me ask this: Can anyone imagine Joe Orsulak or Brady Anderson in the starting lineup of those great Orioles teams of the late '60s and early '70s? Neither can I.
Stephen McKeown Jr.
More hockey, please
Please take Ronald Checkai's suggestion seriously and publish more on college hockey next season. While you're at it, why not show the standings of some of the other minor leagues in addition to the AHL, such as the ECHL, which has teams in Virginia and Pennsylvania, as well as other nearby states? Once a week or so, perhaps?
Once again, you didn't report on this year's NCAA tournament. Although I've been a loyal Sun subscriber for years, I was forced to buy The Washington Post as well in order to get the results of the preliminary rounds of this tournament, which involved Boston University and several other East Coast teams. Because I didn't buy a Sunday Post, I and my friends and family still have no idea who won the NCAA final between Wisconsin and Lake Superior on April 4, because The Sun ignored it. Please rectify this next year.