December 21, 2003

Baseball players know how to stop show-offs

Thank you, Mike Preston, for having the guts to discuss just how out of control NFL players are with the growing epidemic of individual celebration.

In your column on Thursday ["With players acting up, NFL needs to tone them down"], you were right on about how ridiculous player celebrations have become. When most pro players earn more in a week than 99 percent of NFL fans make in a year, it's hard to imagine how grown men can celebrate the act of occasionally executing well the job for which they are paid.

The NFL should look at Major League Baseball as a model for respectful athlete behavior and sportsmanship. In baseball, excessive celebration is viewed as showing up your opponent. Pump your arm or do a dance after a big play, and you better stretch your back before coming up to the plate next time, because you're going to get a fastball thrown right at your kisser.

It's all amazingly self-regulating and requires little involvement from the commissioner's office.

Dave Buttner Baltimore

Excessive celebrations need to be stopped

Where is all this premeditated NFL end zone silliness going to end?

I'm just waiting for some empty-headed wide receiver to strategically hide a La-Z-Boy on the sideline and end up in it, in the end zone, enthusiastically watching his touchdown reception on the wide screen.

How ridiculous is this all going to get before the NFL puts its disciplinary foot down? Those who put themselves before the team are the ones who are destined to make a mockery of the sport.

Fine them heavily or place extended suspensions on them. There is no place for these egocentric dolts in football.

Patrick R. Lynch Parkville

McAlister steps up, realizes great potential

In a Sept. 28 letter to the editor, ["Ravens better off without McAlister"], I called for the Ravens to release cornerback Chris McAlister at the end of the season for his irresponsibility, selfishness and underachievement

Well, his being named to the Pro Bowl completely changes my opinion. The Ravens should re-sign him and offer him what he deserves.

Since the beginning of October, McAlister has kept his mouth shut and just played. He stepped up his game in every way and focused on his job as one of the premier shutdown defensive backs in the NFL.

Congratulations to Chris for getting his priorities straight, for putting the team first and for truly realizing the potential of his outstanding talent.

Jody Martin Baltimore

Orioles would be wise to retain Roberts

Joe Christensen started his annual promotion of Jerry Hairston on Thursday, recounting Jerry's phone call from Arizona about how he's 100 percent healthy.

Over the years, Christensen and Roch Kubatko have hyped Hairston, who is full of himself and clearly provides them great copy.

They have waxed less poetic over Brian Roberts, who just goes out and does his job. So well, I might add, that the Red Sox inquired about his availability, not Hairston's, after the Miguel Tejada signing.

If one has to be traded, I hope it's not Roberts. That's a move the Orioles will live to regret.

Peter E. Dans Cockeysville

Union, agents don't care about the fans

It's pretty much a consensus that it's always in a player's best interest to negotiate for the longest term and highest amount of money possible.

As it turns out, that seems to only be in the best interest of the player's union, not the individual players or owners. What Alex Rodriguez is finding out is that there's a big price to pay for signing a contract like the one he did a few years ago - he's given up his freedom and, as a result, any means to control his own career and happiness.

If I'm Rodriguez, obviously I'm interested in being paid what my performance demands, but give me five years or fewer.

We're already talking about fantastic amounts of money, so I want the freedom to control my destiny in a few years if I'm unhappy.

If you really analyze who stands the most to gain in these long-term deals, it's the union and the agents who negotiate the contracts. It's the owners and players who suffer as a result.

Sage Platt Baltimore

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