Another view on Belle I'm beginning to think Albert...

Letters

July 18, 1999

Another view on Belle

I'm beginning to think Albert Belle may have been given a bum rap. Last Sunday, my husband and I (Orioles fans) took our 5-year-old son to Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia for his first baseball game. Our seats were in right-center field.

Throughout the game, a fan near us harassed Belle relentlessly. Belle stood there and withstood the ridicule and humiliation without batting an eyelash for eight long innings.

In the ninth inning, Belle took the bench. The fan then decided to pick on Brady Anderson. This fan never became crude or lewd.

Anderson withstood this for approximately two outs. At this point he covered his hand with his glove and gave the fans a certain finger gesture. I was appalled and upset that my son witnessed this behavior from an athlete who is considered to be a role model.

Maybe the press and public should back off Belle, who has proved he can take the heat, and focus on those with less tarnished reputations. Remember, no one is perfect.

Denise Kraushaar, Frankford, Del.

Treat players equally

I think Cal Ripken is an outstanding citizen, a great role model and headed for the Hall of Fame. I'm not sure about Albert Belle, but I do feel both should receive the same treatment by The Sun's sports reporters.

Unfortunately, The Sun's reporters are not very objective when it comes to Albert Belle. All his mistakes, which can be numerous, make the headlines. Yet, on July 6 against Toronto, when Ripken allowed the winning run to advance to third while he casually threw out the batter at first, there was no mention of his mental mistake.

I do believe that had Belle pulled the blunder, it would have made the headlines. Player mistakes should be reported, but all player mistakes, not just the ones made by players that refuse to speak to the press.

John Clarke Sr., Abingdon

Francis should count blessings

Steve Francis, who chose to attend several high schools as well as three different colleges in three years, was upset that he didn't get his wish in the 1999 NBA draft. He was miffed that was "only" chosen No. 2 and that his new team is Vancouver.

"I really don't know anything about those guys," Francis said of the Grizzlies. Horrors!

Maybe Francis should have taken some public relations courses along his educational route. He also was quoted as saying of the Chicago Bulls: "They took a big gamble by not picking me."

Francis' body language and facial expressions were atrocious during his ambling walk to the podium to shake hands with the league commissioner. Later, he said, "Hopefully tomorrow when I wake up, I'll be happy."

Hey, Steve, you could be a Kosovo refugee, or not have been blessed with any athletic talent. Count your blessings, young man.

Other draftees such as Richard Hamilton, Ron Artest, Jumaine Jones and Alex Radojevic cried real tears of joy at their selections. Francis chose to whine and criticize.

Maybe the Bulls decided in advance that character and maturity count as much as talent, and, thus, selected Elton Brand as No. 1.

Jerry Phipps, Bel Air

Umpires: good riddance

I was crushed to read that the major-league umpires had voted to resign on Sept. 2. This disturbing event removes two of the most interesting aspects of Major League Baseball in 1999:

1. The intrigue of comparing the strike zone of the first inning with the strike zone of the ninth inning.

2. Those fascinating instant replays showing the ump lumbering down the line to get in position to make the call.

When will Major League Baseball realize that the sport, and all the fans' interest in it, doesn't revolve around union leader Richie Phillips and his band of merry men?

Chuck Piel, Ellicott City

Orioles, take note

Congratulations to the Ravens for dropping their pursuit of running back Lawrence Phillips, whose brief pro career has been marred by off-the-field problems.

Perhaps the Orioles can learn a lesson from it.

Mel Tansill, Catonsville

Pub Date: 7/18/99

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