August 21, 2004

Rankings writers are bad comedians

It seems the sports department of The Sun is populated with people far more interested in being comedians than reporting on sports.

It doesn't matter who is writing the team rankings column on Sundays.

As each writer takes his turn, he sees it as an opportunity to try out his comedic wit. So far, all have been dismal failures, but Joe Christensen's efforts in Sunday's edition hit an all-time low.

His comment on the Atlanta Braves, who lead their division by a large margin, was the following: "Fans are still bored to tears listening to Skip Caray."

How cute! Christensen apparently hasn't noticed the Braves are leading their division after dumping more than $15 million from their payroll while their division competition added greatly to their payrolls.

No, Christensen chooses to take a cheap shot at a Braves announcer and again avoid the facts. If he would bother to do a little research, he'd find the Braves' telecasts on TBS consistently pick up a higher audience share than Fox or ESPN games nationally.

Christensen, Peter Schmuck and Roch Kubatko should consider taking their comedic frustrations to one of the local comedy clubs. Fifteen minutes on stage for an open mike night might go a long way toward convincing them that they should stick to sportswriting.

Joe Roman Baltimore

Pat-down policy presents no problems

Apparently, based on the two letters in last Saturday's paper, there are Ravens fans who are quite unhappy about the new pat-down policy put into effect at M&T Bank Stadium.

I fail to see why fans have such a problem with this. Obviously, it will hold up the entry process on a larger scale during the regular season, but it is a necessary evil.

One of the letter writers mentioned that policies like this have never happened in 100 years of football. The writer does recognize, I certainly hope, that times are much different now.

With the world the way it is, there cannot be too much security put into place.

I had no problem with the modified pat-down at the Ravens' first preseason game on Aug. 12. That extra step did not hinder my enjoyment of the game.

I applaud the NFL and the Ravens for heeding the strong advisement of the Department of Homeland Security.

Joyce E. Miller Baltimore

Everyone can learn from Phelps' example

I am pleased at the way Michael Phelps has handled himself at the Summer Olympics. He maintains a maturity level way beyond his years.

Darn Speedo, for dangling that million-dollar carrot over his head.

Darn the media dolts, who would have us believe that this man is a machine, and anything less than seven gold medals was unacceptable.

Kudos to Phelps, who took in everything "for the moment." We can all learn from him.

Patrick R. Lynch Parkville

Unselfish Hairston is O's unsung hero

Having just heard that Jerry Hairston's season is over due to a bad ankle injury, I would like to name him as the Orioles' unsung hero for 2004.

Hairston has faced an uphill battle with injuries and competition as he has pursued his career in major league baseball.

Injuries have limited his playing time and cost him his second base job with the Orioles. While rehabbing and being on the disabled list, he has watched his friend and teammate, Brian Roberts, displace him and succeed at second base.

While playing second base is what Hairston most wanted to do and where his many skills were showcased, he did not shy away from giving his all at whichever position he was assigned.

While not exactly embracing his many different positions in the field, he rose to the challenge presented by team management.

Instead of adopting a "me first, team maybe" attitude so many athletes show today, Hairston showed class and worked hard, traits that have endeared him to his team, his management and his fans.

Ruth Fleishman Baltimore

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