December 18, 2004

Mills does service with focus on `choices'

Channel 2 sports anchor Keith Mills' recent revelation regarding his struggles with drug dependency should be admired and applauded for the courage to speak out publicly about personal issues ["Mills to return after drug treatment," Dec. 9]. Such admissions can be empowering for both speaker and audience.

Addiction as a treatment field has several paradigms to causes and interventions, but in the end I appreciate Mr. Mills' statement: "... It's still the choices you make that get you in there [treatment program]."

As a mental health provider treating patients with co-morbid mental and dependency issues for years, I've seen that in the end it comes down to a simple truism: The choices we make are the choices we take. Should we choose poorly, we owe it to ourselves and those affected by our presence to reconsider other options.

For most, addiction is not a choice when getting exposed to the substance or behavior at risk, but in the end, those with dependency problems need to make a choice to accept that there is a problem and to correct it. Seeking out health care providers leads to a greater likelihood of regaining the ability to make healthy and responsible choices. Otherwise, the addict who chooses to continue dependency behaviors embraces a premature, painful demise.

Mr. Mills seems to have started down a healthier path. I hope he can encourage others to make that choice, too.

Dr. Joel Hassman Sykesville

Major league baseball isn't a normal business

Last Saturday, The Sun published a letter that clearly likened major league baseball to businesses such as Target and Wal-Mart, and referred to Americans' belief in free and open markets ("Angelos has no right to avoid competition").

The writer, like so many others, is overlooking the fact that baseball is not a normal business. A normal business - a hardware store, for example - can open almost anywhere with the intent to acquire a greater share of the market, even if it means driving another nearby hardware store out of business.

Baseball is different. The Orioles do not want to drive other teams out of business. Teams need one another to succeed so that the games are competitive and people will buy season tickets, lease luxury skyboxes, and watch the games (and commercials) on television.

Free and open markets - competition - can be a wonderful thing. But major league baseball is a different animal and cannot be logically compared to a "normal" business.

Bob Feldman Baltimore

No playoff, no chance of undisputed champion

Can we please put an end to all the incessant BCS discussions? What is so complicated? Unless the NCAA lets Division I-A football resolve its so-called national championship in the same manner as every other NCAA-sanctioned sport, there will never be a totally undisputed champion. Period.

There is no way to predict how many undefeated teams there will be in a given year. Any assessment of who is "most worthy" when there are more than two worthy teams is fraught with subjectivity. If there's any sort of subjective assessment involved, there's always going to be dispute and controversy.

There is way too much money tied into the current bowl system, so no playoff is ever going to be considered until they devise a scheme that allows for the 48 or so teams who get invited to some sort of bowl every year to get a piece of the pie.

That includes compensating university presidents for giving up annual wintertime trips to warm-weather venues as an excuse to party for alums, boosters and, purportedly, students.

To believe that there's a system out there that can work within the current constraints and produce an undisputed champion is simply ludicrous.

Bob Wunder Cub Hill

Happy holiday dashed by Orioles once again

In reference to the Orioles' dearth of free-agent acquisitions, I feel like the 10-year-old who has been told for the past six months that "Santa's coming! Santa's coming!"

I jump out of bed on Christmas morning, breathlessly bound down the steps to the living room, only to my horror to find absolutely nothing under the tree!

Thanks, Peter Angelos, for ruining this guy's Christmas wish. And by the way, long live Orioles mediocrity.

Patrick R. Lynch Parkville

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