© St. Petersburg Times, published September 3, 2000
I was amused to read Pedro Martinez's statement attacking Gerald Williams and saying that there is no crying in baseball. Martinez reminds me of the little kid we all knew when we were growing up who was always taunting and teasing his or her playmates until one of them finally retorted, then would run home and hide behind mommy's skirt.
Martinez has extraordinarily good control, as evidenced by the number of walks he issues per inning. And yet he leads the league, by a wide margin, in hit batters. So long as he has the weapon of a 95 mph fastball to throw at a batter, he swaggers with great bravado. But I noticed the other night that when he was charged, he daintily dropped to his derriere and allowed his teammates to protect him. I also noticed that, when his teammates later left the dugout to protest the Rays' retaliation, little Pedro hid in the dugout. Start the fracas, then let your big brothers finish it for you while mommy hides you; how macho!
I remember other pitchers who had a reputation for throwing at batters. Sal "the Barber" Maglie comes to mind. But the great difference between baseball then and American League baseball now is that headhunting pitchers in those days had the courage to stand with a bat in their hands and face personal retaliation. I think it's time for the AL to drop the designated hitter and force wimps such as Pedro to face the consequences of their actions personally.
-- Tom Wright, St. Petersburg
I watched the Devil Rays game against the Red Sox with disgust for my local team. The pitchers were obviously throwing at the opposing batters, at their head, their feet, behind players. For what purpose? Finally a meaning for the "Hit Show"?
This is not baseball, but a lack of respect for the game. Jose Guillen grabbing his crotch and mouthing obscenities is not why I wished for major-league (if that's what you can call it) baseball to come to Tampa Bay. These guys are an embarrassment. Manager Larry Rothschild's lack of control, condoning this lack of sportsmanship, should have Chuck LaMar and Vince Naimoli searching for his replacement.
-- Tim Malone, Dunedin
Tony Saunders breaking his pitching arm twice in just over a year makes you wonder if the damage was started in his younger years. Watching the Little League World Series this past week, I saw 12-year-old boys throwing curves, changeups and sliders. That's way too young to be putting your arms through the motions of major-league pitches.
I remember when I played Little League baseball, we were not allowed to throw any kind of pitch that could damage our developing arms. It's a known fact that throwing a curveball can damage a young boy's arm. Has there been that much importance put on winning at that young age? I hope not.
-- Gary Feifer, Port Richey
I wanted to commend Sharon Bond for one of the best baseball stories I've ever read (Major-league loss with minor-league team, 8/27). It touched on many of the emotions that I and many others in the city feel about losing the team. As a writer, your job is to communicate with your audience and convey a mood, two tasks she nailed with remarkable precision.
-- Brian Sandford, St. Petersburg
Okay, we all agree that, right now, Tiger Woods is the greatest golfer in history. However, Sergio Garcia appears to have the talent not only to challenge Woods but to beat him. How disappointing it was to see a picture of Woods instead of Garcia in Tuesday's paper. TV gives us every tournament Woods participates in. We see his commercials and his pictures in countless newspapers and magazines. Why does he rate having his picture in the paper when the winner is ignored?Nancy Owens, Largo
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