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The Pulse FROM THE FAN

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HEY, BRISTOL

To: Norby Williamson, assistant managing editor and director of news

How much critiquing is done of SportsCenter?

SportsCenter gets analyzed, prodded and tweaked all the time, week to week and hour to hour, formally and informally. Each show has a coordinating producer and producer who meet with the staff immediately afterward to review the night's work. I also meet with show CPs daily to suggest ideas. But SportsCenter is fueled by the on-air people. Dan Patrick decides how many "whiffs" and "gones" should be in a show. The same goes for Stuart Scott's "witnesses" and "booyahs." That stuff works better on the fly.

"IS THE MAGAZINE TRYING ITS HAND AT A SWIMSUIT ISSUE?"

Tastefully Done?

Wow! Linda Hamilton and Vivica A. Fox on your cover! Oh, that's not them? Luckily, I read ESPN for the articles. Scott Morra, Virginia Beach

Whew! Who are those models on the cover? Is The Magazine going to try its hand at a swimsuit issue? C. Nesbit, Clifton, Va. Ed.'s reply: Alexa for Pauline's and Nichole Robinson for Elite graced our cover. Swimsuits? Hey-this is a sports magazine!

Thanks for yet another completely unexpected cover. As I hurried home from the mailbox, I was forced to hide the pink cover in shame, fearing it would be mistaken for another magazine entirely. Gotta love your sense of humor. Chris Aanerud, chrisaanerud@home.com

Your cover not only misses the mark of humor, its muscle-atrophied and plasticized models undermine everything that female athletes have done to create a positive body image for women. Laura Sullivan, New York City netminder@jump.com

Your cover was indeed eye-catching. Unfortunately, I prefer watching football, instead of fetching beers for my boyfriend at halftime. Sara Hearne, Roanoke, Va. shearne@chs.edu

Rams Rule

It's ironic you chose the Titans as the team "Least Likely to Give That Last Yard" (15 Minutes of Fame, Feb. 7) when it was the Rams who stuffed the Titans one yard short of finishing their amazing rally. Nate Broehm, Forest City, Iowa

When was the last time the Rams were on back-to-back covers of a sports publication (The Magazine, Jan. 10, 24)? They've probably never been on back-toback issues of their team media guide. Jamie Dato, Dublin, Ohio jadato@juno.com

Dance Fever

I don't mind a player celebrating a TD, but c'mon, today's players celebrate tying their shoes (Gettin' Jiggy, Feb. 7). I'll take Barry Sanders and Jerry Rice handing the ref the ball and going back to the bench any day. That's not boring. That's confidence. To paraphrase a quote: "When you gotta go around reminding people what you are you ain't." Rich Buckley, Longmont, Colo. Theblayde@aol.com

Too often I watch a game thinking, "If only a brave media entity had the guts to show when a linebacker struts and preens after a routine tackle or a rookie wide receiver starts mincing around like he's in a Busby Berkeley musical." Thank God, you devoted some well-needed attention to these overlooked team players. Now, if only you could do more stories on Michael Jordan. Philip Michaels, Alameda, Calif. kingchimp@aol.com

The Tony Awards

Skimming through the Sept. 20 issue (you always miss something), I saw Tony Kornheiser's assertion that the St. Louis Blues have a better chance of winning the Super Bowl than the St. Louis Rams. I'd love to see him eat crow. But at the same time, while poking fun at parity in the NFL, he foresaw us watching title games played by teams from Nashville, Jacksonville, Tampa Bay and Charlotte. Tony picked three of the four playoff winners! Roy Bevenour, Newark, Del.

I found this in Kornheiser's Oct. 18 column: "I'm not much for stats. But last year, the Broncos, Falcons, Vikings and Jets had a combined record of 55-9. [Now] they're 3-13. Don't you just love parity? We've been waiting for decades to get that Tennessee-St. Louis Super Bowl." Kornheiser is uncanny. Ryan Menart, rmenart@excel.net

Say What?

After reading how older QBs win more Super Bowls and looking at the chart, (Do the Math, Feb. 7), I did the math and (after a lot of hard mental work) concluded that a record of 111-11 is a slightly higher winning percentage than .496. The record should be something more like 111-113. Lukasz Bugaj, Morgantown, W.Va. Ed.'s reply: We meant to hang a 3 on that 11. Sorry.

Talkin' Texas

Gene Wojciechowski's Got Bubba?, especially the Bubba/Not Bubba charts (Feb. 7), should be required reading for anyone trying to understand Texas football. Mike Schatz, San Antonio

What's in a Name?

I am personally offended that people take sports logos so seriously that they get offended (The Biz, Feb. 7). What's next? The Patriots could offend New Englanders, the Vikings might affront Scandinavian-Americans and the Bills could alienate men named Bill. Why doesn't Notre Dame change its name? I know some Irish people, but they really don't fight that much. Randy Tritt, Blacksburg, Va.

Call a team anything you want; the bottom line is that they're there to hit a ball or catch a pass, not to provide social commentary. If you hate Chief Wahoo so much, don't watch the Indians; leave the tickets for the rest of us. Matt Wedel, Olmsted Falls, Ohio FHornDeity@aol.com

As a Chinese-American, I can imagine how disturbed I would be if the Washington franchise were known as the Yellowskins, or if the team that played at Jacobs Field were called the Cleveland Chinese and had some squinty-eyed Fu Manchu character on its baseball caps. This is not just a concern for Native Americans. It is a concern for all Americans. Eugene Hung, Dallas

Titanic Vandy

Thanks for your story on Dan Langhi (College Basketball, Feb. 7). What with the Titans, it's kind of been lost here that he, Kevin Stallings, and teammates have done a great job making Vandy a respectable basketball program again. Nicole Boyd, Nashville

Jilting Junior

After reading Tim Kurkjian's The Keeper (Feb. 7), I see why Seattle wants Pokey Reese and why Cincy wants to keep him. I'd take one Pokey over a whole squad of Juniors, and I dare anyone to read this article and say different. Stanley Read, Brooklyn vertigo3@ix.netcom.com

I don't understand how you could possibly think that not trading Reese for Griffey is good. You say Pokey has the potential to win many gold gloves; Griffey has proven his worth in the field year after year. Reese might not even be the best NL'er at his position. (Try looking up Edgardo Alfonzo's numbers.) Brian Bohl, Massapequa Park, N.Y. zambo3860@aol.com

In reading this article on Pokey Reese, I wish a lot of players would listen. Money doesn't make the player; the player makes the money. Rendi Brown, Los Angeles Nfielder00@aol.com

Captive Audience

Re your Winston Cup 2000 special issue, available on newsstands only. That's a small problem, since I'm incarcerated by New York State and can't get out to buy a copy. Please help! J.V.S., No. 98A4040, Gowanda Correctional Facility

Blue Odom

Great Lamar Odom story (It's O-Time, Jan. 24). It's a shame someone of his talent had to get stuck in Clipperland. He could have a Hall of Fame career and no one outside of L.A. would ever get to see him play. Chad Wattendorf, Edison, N.J.

Winning Is Everything

Re Scott Berry's Rerank and File (The Pulse, Jan. 10): Wake up and smell what you're writing. Last time I checked, the only parties concerned with the margin of victory are bookies and casinos. This is exactly what's wrong with the college football rankings: Sportswriters have turned into bookies. Remember the words of Al Davis: "Just win, baby!" Eric Weber and Whitey, Paden City, W.Va.

Sharp Buckeye

Thanks for the Jan. 10 story on Scoonie Penn (Charmed). Scoonie went out and showed he deserved those four pages you gave him by knocking off what many consider the nation's best team, the Michigan State Spartans. And maybe convincing some more people who the best point guard in the nation really is. Matthew Gorney, Oak Forest, Ill. rugger@iols.net

Venus and Vince

Your insightful feature on Vince Carter (NEXT, Dec. 27) left out a pertinent question: Is he currently single or dating someone? Interested minds want to know! Anna M. Ivory, Thibodaux, La. suave_13@hotmail.com Ed.'s reply: Vince has been known to make the singles scene

ESPN.com POLL

Who is the top women's college basketball player Shea Ralph (UConn) 31.2% Kelly Miller (Georgia) 17.7% Katie Douglas (Purdue) 15.9% Jackie Stiles (SW Missouri St.) 14.8% Edwina Brown (Texas) 10.6% Ruth Riley (Notre Dame) 9.5% Total Votes: 33,436

SECOND OPINION

This past season, a lot of people bemoaned the fact that the NFL had no truly great teams or dynasties. Well, I absolutely love it. The old saying about "any given Sunday" is true now more than ever. I really enjoy seeing new faces breaking out. Look at the Super Bowl champion Rams. Now every coach in the league has a real-life example to point to when he's telling his team, "We can do it." And his guys will believe him.

And by the way, parity doesn't mean cheap, overnight success. Only nine Rams are left from the team Dick Vermeil inherited in 1997. A lot of coaches tolerate crybabies and malcontents. I think they're idiots. Successful coaches cut the whiners. You also have to make astute decisions and spend some money. That's how you end with London Fletcher and Marshall Faulk. Still, the chance is there for any well-run team that stays healthy to win the Super

Bowl. And if you don't like that, you don't like football.