Packer and agendasWhen Billy Packer calls the NBA the...


March 09, 1997

Packer and agendas

When Billy Packer calls the NBA the "enemy of basketball" for luring talented underclassmen out of school, he might indeed be making a self-serving statement -- as Milton Kent asserts in his column March 6.

But Kent goes on to accuse Packer of "money-grubbing hypocrisy" while providing zero support for this charge. Is there any real evidence that a TV announcer loses money whenever a college player jumps early to the NBA?

At best, the argument would be a labored one. One could just as easily argue that Kent is an agenda-driven reformer who believes society is improved when universities are exploited by superior athletes with no lasting academic goals.

Certainly the NBA is not the "enemy of basketball." However, the league has been an accomplice in a system in which the bill for its minor-league structure is paid via scholarship money that might go to better purposes. It is arguable that the ideal of "amateur" basketball is threatened by this system. Packer is employed by a network to raise these issues.

Kent owes his readers careful thought, or at least more facts. Perhaps Packer put things crudely, but his root concern is legitimate. It is not meaningfully addressed by a dismissive columnist -- one who, I believe, is also paid for his opinions.

Robert Green


One-sided seat licenses

The article about the Ravens' permanent seat licenses was an eye-opener. Its small print sounds extremely one-sided. There are two old-time sayings that cover their endeavor -- 1. A sucker is born every minute; and 2. A fool and his money are soon parted.

Win Hurley


Drop the spit issue

It may not have been handled correctly. Punishment may not have been fair. But it is done. Why can't the sports media let it go? Ken Rosenthal refuses to let the Roberto Alomar-John Hirschbeck incident die. I would like to enjoy the 1997 Orioles. But this kind of reporting leaves no room for enjoyment. If we can't read something current, something pleasant, then I will read my sports from another paper.

Phyllis J. Douglass

Chambersburg, Pa.

Put Baltimore on uniforms

In response to Ken Hess' Feb. 23 letter, "Missing fans," I didn't realize that Pasadena, Md., was a Washington suburb. And it is time Peter Angelos responded to the Baltimore area's request to install the name "Baltimore" on the Orioles' road uniforms. Washington-area fans won't notice anyway. They'll be deciding where to consume wine and cheese during the managers' lineup card exchange.

P. Tinsley

Odenton Ken Rosenthal's Feb. 23 column concerning the Orioles' farm system only reinforced what national publications have been saying for years -- the Orioles are not developing major-leaguers. The comments by Gary Nickels are equally alarming. Does he honestly feel that the Glenn Davis trade is responsible for poor drafts and player development? He also stated that college players' "ceiling might be limited" and that they have "reached what they're going to be."

Do the names Frank Thomas, Albert Belle, Mo Vaughn and Rafael Palmeiro mean anything to Nickels? All were good college players who overachieved as professionals. No player is going to peak at age 22. The Orioles desperately need a change in management to produce a fertile minor-league system. I believe if Babe Ruth were to come back to life tomorrow and enroll at UMBC to play baseball, Nickels probably would overlook him.

David K. Mikos

Spring Grove, Pa.

O's and Washington

In response to the blatantly parochial letter on Feb. 9 by Mark O'Donnell from Catonsville, "Put Baltimore back in O's," let me say as a partial season-ticket holder that I don't like brie, always stay for the entire game, don't care for the Redskins, can't afford a Volvo, buy my underwear at mall outlet stores and enjoy a glass of red wine from time to time. I don't recall that Memorial Stadium was filled with loyal Orioles fans like O'Donnell in those lean years before they moved to Camden Yards, but we were glad to pick up the slack until the fair-weather fans came back when the Orioles started to win again.

We here in the Washington area will count on O'Donnell and his fellow loyal Orioles fans to help us get a National League team by bringing pressure on Orioles ownership to not vote against bringing a team here when the time comes. When that happens, you can be sure that most of us will stop making the trip to Baltimore and will leave that many more seats for the O'Donnells of the world to occupy. Of course, that assumes the Orioles will continue to be competitive.

Ralph Vinovich


Ripken solution

Sign Cal Ripken for three or more years, then make him a coach. Both parties involved should come to terms for all the right reasons. The Orioles owe him the respect for the career he has given to one team. If Ripken can later be half the coach his dad was, he would be a great coach. When you look up baseball in the dictionary, it should read: See Ripken family.

Jim Weininger Sr.


Baseball needs F. Robinson

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