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It seems to me that if you're going to pass yourself off as some kind of expert on baseball, or even just a "buff," you ought to avoid the more egregious types of errors that only non-baseball types could be expected to make.

I've seen this one many times before, most notably in the work of Peter Golenbock, a self-proclaimed baseball historian and writer who remarkably, despite his frequent errors and poor research, has managed to pass himself off as a credible baseball "guru."

What I'm talking about is the erroneous spelling of the name of Hall of Fame outfielder, slugger, and my own favorite player of all time, Duke Snider. Note that the name is NOT "Snyder"! There have been several Snyders in baseball, mostly it seems journeyman infielders who occasionally surface on mediocre teams like the Washington Senators, Kansas City A's/Royals, et al. It seems to me that a man who not only hit more than 400 home runs (and would have easily reached the 500 plateau had not the Dodgers relocated to the cavernous L.A. Coliseum, with its ridiculous 450-foot right field fence) while hovering around or above the .300 mark for most of his career, but also hit 40 homers a year for five straight years (1953-57) and was the leading home-run hitter in the major leagues for the ENTIRE DECADE of the 1950s, could at least been granted the honor of having his name spelled right!

And by the way, wasn't it Roy Campanella who worked as a haberdasher in the off-season, before he bought his liquor store in Harlem?

Despite my outrage at your botching the name of my hero, the Duke of Flatbush, I DO enjoy your e-zine. Keep it up.

Jack Raidy

ED: We have to respond personally to this letter, especially since, on a historical front, we absolutely love the Dodgers of old. Mr. Raidy is right--there's no excuse for misspelling Snider's name.

We couldn't find evidence of Roy Campanella as a haberdasher. Robinson owned a men's store, though he probably didn't wander the sales floor. Still, we stick by our point—that the days of the players living amongst their fans is over. Thanks again for taking us rightly to task!

Wow - lots of things to digest - liked the comments on the strike and also the dome...

Books to Read:

Lords of Baseball - absolute must - even though it covers baseball owners through the late 60's it represents a good look at the owner's mentality. Absolutely fascinating anecdotal history - particularly of Branch Rickey.

Leveling the Playing Field: How the Law Can Make Sports Better for Fans—This is a tough read, written by a lawyer, who as a sports fan, explains how law helps the sports teams.... I am not a lawyer, do not pretend to be, nor want to be one. But when I have contract negotiations, I involve them for all the right reasons - to document the protection of my interests... This is the same thing the baseball master agreement does (and all sports agreements do), consequently we need lawyers. I have a much better understanding of the legal history of baseball (e.g. Flood, Messersmith, etc.) as well as a better sense of how the arbitration works. Tough read—but worth the effort if you are interested in the facts surrounding the master agreement.

Baseball Ballparks:

OK I haven't been to all the major league parks - but I have been to a significant number of town ball parks—places that provide the venue for town team baseball. Each is quirky—but all of them outdoors...No this won't be a diatribe against the Dome—I share partial season tickets with a friend—but rather comments on what makes a good ballpark from a fan's thought through at a recent rain delay at State Amateur tournaments in St. Cloud.

A canopy is great - provides a place to huddle to watch the rain and protects you from the sun. Seats without having to look through the new 3/8" thick black indestructible chain link fence city park departments like to put up because they can forget about it for 50 years. Seats down the lines that angle toward the playing field (the one real wish I do have for the Dome—my seats are on third base line—I am envious of the angled seats down the right field side...) Real hotdogs (skin on wieners!) for a buck-fifty... Scoreboards perpendicular to the fans line of site – not parallel to the fence in right or left (city park departments like things to be "square and plumb" or parallel and perpendicular)...

Mowing techniques - parallel to third base line first cut, parallel to second base line second cut, parallel to a line from home to second extended third cut.

Drainage techniques - if you can't afford drain tile, build your field on a flood plain. Chaska's Athletic floods occasionally, but it also takes 4" of rain, and within three hours of the rain stopping is ready to play!

Monuments - Cold Spring's park - great entrance, and then their monument to the Springer teams of the past.

Lawn Chairs - Most comfortable seats in the park—Jordan's left field hill is probably the best. St. Cloud's Putz had a spot on the first base dugout—but the operating authority there figured that one out and reserved it for themselves—but St. Cloud's Faber has a nice spot on the third base line...Chaska has the space in their grandstand to allow you to bring lawn chairs, and then places to put lawn chairs down the lines...

Enough already!

To the editors of Mudville:
I'll tell you, it's like fair-weather fans, those Europeans! One minute they love you, the next you're evil. Saddam doesn't sell like he used to, I guess. Sort of like the Rangers. You see plenty of folks like those continentals back in Arlington… sure, we get to winning a few, the stands fill, beer and wieners sell, everyone's smiling. The twins brag to their friends, and everything's peachy. But come losing time (and there's always plenty of that at The Ballpark), why, no one wants to talk to you! Kind of like Gerhard Schröder.

Gotta go—Laura's getting after me for surfing the web (gotta read Drudge!), so I can't write much. Apparently, I've got another speech to give to make everyone less restless. I hope Dick'll wait until after the series is over to fight (he's a hockey man). The way I look at it, if the Angels can finally do it, who says the Rangers can't.

Please don't call me 'Rally Monkey',
George W.

To the editor:

Sure, you couldn't be righter than when you point out that the owners are obviously papering their Swiss chalet walls with Benjamins, but Muddy, aren't the players striking to avoid anything that resembles a salary cap, thereby protecting their own chance to dance naked amid flurries of Samoleans?

I suggest you take your Anti-Series plan further: convince the whole league to obey playground rules. Break up the teams, choose captains, and pick players one by one. It'd be a thousand times more interesting than any home-run derby could be.
And then there'd be the added bonus of wiping the owners out entirely, but I won't go into that right now.

Irritable Mark

I've spent the last 7 hours trying to get the fold-in to work, and I finally got it, but now my monitor keeps making those rice crispies noises.


I like your idea of the players organizing their own play-offs and world series w/o the owners. I thought of this, too. It reminds me of the ideas discussed in the film "Bingo Long.." (about the Negro Leagues) in which the players would seize the "means of production" and own their teams collectively and run the leagues on a non-profit basis. I agree it would be a memorable series of events that will go down in history. The players (or the union) could rent the ballparks and tell tix independently of the owners. One legal question: If the players go on strike, and there's no contract anymore, are the players under any legal obligation not to play for another team -- even a player-run team? I assume they are, at that point, free agents.

Peter Dreier
Professor of politics at Occidental College, Los Angeles

I totally disagree with your point of view that supports the players in the current negotiations. G-R-E-E-D on the part of players is wrecking the game. They just plain have received too much and it is time to back off. Many people in Minnesota don't have jobs and will never in a lifetime make the salary which players receive for just one year.

Since expansion, half of the players are at the most AAA quality. Let us pay the stars, which are very few, and pay the others what they deserve.

Mark Johnson

Enjoyed your article/editorial about the pros and cons of the players and owners and agree with your categorizing Selig as an owner, rather than commissioner. He has managed to do something that I thought impossible. He makes General Eckert look like a good Commissioner. His plan for contraction to placate his buddy Pohlad in Minnesota (and make both richer) is a joke and insult to the fans of Minnesota and Montreal (yes, I believe there are fans there, who would come out if they felt that they had a properly run team to complement their quality young players. Bud should go back to join his daughter in Milwaukee and ruin one team, instead of acting as Commissioner and trying to ruin 30 teams.

My team is the Astros, who may or may not pass St. Louis for the Central pennant, or more unlikely, pass the Giants and Dodgers for the wild card. Either way, or if they don't make either, will have enjoyed the season going into October, or ending this week.

Don't feel the players are blameless, but, as you say, the honesty of the players is much more open to public record than that of the owners.

Thank you for allowing the forum to speak.
Doug Palmer, Athens, Alabama

Movie of the Week

Red Smith on Baseball

By Red Smith
Ed. by Ira Berkow

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