January 19, 2003

I. Rodriguez's stance shows he's out of touch

The Jan. 10 article on free-agent catcher Ivan Rodriguez ["Catcher miffed by slow market"] once again demonstrates how completely out of touch major-league baseball players are with the real world.

Where do I sign up to get insulted by an offer of $6 million per year? Although Rodriguez is certainly a talented player, he has not demonstrated that he can stay healthy during each of the past three seasons.

Kudos to the Orioles and the Chicago Cubs for standing firm on their respective offers to Rodriguez. Team owners have been assuming all the financial risks on free-agent contracts for more than 25 years. It's about time for the players to start assuming some of these risks.

Ed Doheny Bel Air

Orioles deserve praise for showing restraint

As much as it frustrates me that the Orioles have again come up basically empty in the free-agent market this year, I must commend Mike Flanagan and Jim Beattie for the way they are handling the Ivan Rodriguez "negotiations."

I will be the first to say that I would love to see Rodriguez in an Orioles uniform this season, but how can a catcher who made more than $9 million last season and missed almost two months due to injury be demanding $11 million a season?

The Orioles are handling the situation professionally, offering him $6 million to $7 million a year with a ton of incentives to make more. That is the way all baseball contracts should be.

Mike Shanahan White Marsh

M. Lewis was hired for his skill, not race

I am gratified to learn that former Ravens and Washington Redskins defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis has been elevated to head coach of the NFL's Cincinnati Bengals. This is certainly a promotion that Lewis deserves based on his ability and expertise.

It is, however, upsetting to hear the media promote his ascension only because he is African-American, not because he is superbly competent, and the first ranking candidate for the job.

I believe that in America, whether in professional sports, business or politics, we should get away from race-based judgments and admit that when a qualified person achieves, he or she should get all the credit for being excellent, not just being a minority member.

Lawrence J. Simpson Baltimore

Stick up for Baltimore in D.C. baseball debate

I love Baltimore and it galls me when I hear D.C. people complaining about not having a baseball team. Yet, when I read articles written by Sun columnists who seem to be somewhat empathic with D.C.'s greediness, it hurts.

Have these writers forgotten that it was Jack Kent Cooke who blocked football from returning to Baltimore for 13 years?

Have they forgotten that Edward Bennett Williams bought the Orioles with the intention of taking the team a little further south down the Baltimore-Washington Parkway?

D.C. baseball proponents advocate having two teams in the area because we have 5 million residents who can support both teams. They fail to mention that Abe Pollin took the Bullets out of Baltimore to Landover and now wants to block the possibility of Baltimore having another NBA franchise because the area's market is too small to support two NBA teams.

Why are Baltimoreans so passive when it comes to sticking up for themselves? A town like Baltimore, which has far richer sports traditions and successful runs at sports franchises than Washington, deserves better recognition and treatment from its own.

William Chatman Bowie

Steelers again show poor sportsmanship

For the second year in a row, the Pittsburgh Steelers get the poor sportsmanship of the year award.

Last year, after they lost to New England in the AFC title game, they still, very publicly, claimed they were the better team but the best team doesn't always make it to the Super Bowl.

They had the chance to prove it when they played the Patriots in the first game this season. They lost, 30-14.

Now coach Bill Cowher and most of the team want to claim the officials took the game away from them in overtime last week in the playoffs against Tennessee.

Why weren't they complaining about the officiating the previous week? Remember, they beat the Browns on a fourth-quarter drive helped by three questionable penalties.

I guess the officials are supposed to call penalties on the other teams, but the Steelers should be allowed to run into the kicker without being penalized.

The Steelers are a mediocre team and they have to play by the same rules as every other team. Get used to it.

Joe Duncan Glen Burnie

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