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Letters to Sports: Soccer fans come to beautiful game's defense

Morocco's Achraf Hakimi scores the decisive penalty during a shootout at the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Morocco and Spain, at the Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, Qatar, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
Morocco's Achraf Hakimi scores the decisive penalty during a shootout at the World Cup Round of 16. (Luca Bruno / Associated Press)

Every four years I get to play L.A. Times World Cup bingo, based on the letters page publishing hot takes on how to make the world’s most popular sport more … popular. Goals are too small. Check. Field too big. Check. Not enough scoring. Bingo.

With the TV audiences for U.S. games beating the NBA, MLB and NHL, maybe, just maybe, The Times sports editors will stumble on some letters by one of the millions of people enthralled by the beautiful game in time for the next one.

Karl Larsson

Harbor City

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Really, are the only two letters you print about the World Cup negative comments by people who are clueless? What about the rest of us who take the trouble to understand the game and are having a wonderful time watching the tournament? Looking forward to 2026 when we host the World Cup with Mexico and Canada.

Annette Williams

Hacienda Heights

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Falling and flailing and rolling around

Great damage to lower legs appears to abound

Except in few cases when carted off field

A miracle occurs … the players are healed!

Paul Carey

La Cañada

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Midfielder Weston McKennie said that the U.S. soccer team’s mission was to change the way the world views American soccer. They only scored three goals in six hours of play. They tied Wales and then lost big to the Netherlands. The two countries combined population is 20 million people. I don’t think with their mediocre play in the World Cup that the world's perception has changed much.

John C. Borrego

Safety Harbor, Fla.

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I object to Kevin Baxter's description of Les Bleus not being “totally homegrown.”

Although he goes on to discuss the racism that players of African descent have faced and continue to face in France, he contributes to the false narrative.

In fact of the 26 on Les Bleus, only three were born outside of France. Two in Africa and one in Italy. The description of Kylian Mbappé and others as not “totally homegrown” is the very type of racism that got Lady Susan Hussey sacked from Buckingham Palace this last week. She asked an English woman where she was "really" from as if she wasn’t fully English because she is Black.

Les Bleus are more homegrown than the U.S. men’s team. Five of the U.S.’ 26 were born abroad.

You owe Les Bleus, France, and the French people an apology.

Nicole Marie Bergeron

San Carlos

Amazing Mayfield

When Baker Mayfield, in control and confident, trotted out to the two-yard line to begin the Rams' final drive, I wondered if he could make an improbable victory become possible? And when he fired the perfect touchdown pass, I could only yell out, "I don't believe what I just saw!"

Jim Regan

Carlsbad

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Does Baker Mayfield now get a key to SoFi?

Chuck Hill

Ventura

Full impact

Caleb Williams should have been removed from consideration for the Heisman Trophy because what he had printed on his fingernails for the Utah game was disgusting and showed an utter lack of sportsmanship and class.

Jon Schmid

La Mirada

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Has there ever been a college football player who has made a greater contribution to the success of a program than USC’s Caleb Williams? Maybe Jim Thorpe.

David Marshall

Santa Monica

No bowling?

So the “stars” on the UCLA football team are considering saving themselves to prepare for the NFL draft. I wonder if a CFP spot or other more glamorous bowl bids would elicit the same response? This is also occurring at other schools. Let’s be transparent. These “stars“ would rather bathe in the national spotlight than play in a lower tier bowl. El Paso is not Pasadena or Atlanta, but it deserves respect same as any other city. I salute those Bruins who will play and will honor themselves and UCLA.

Felipe Hernandez

Glendale

Dodger boos

Once again, Dodger management is building a regular-season winner to rake in their hundreds of millions of profit and team value — without spending the monies necessary to go much beyond a few playoff games and certainly not the World Series.

They “won” one signing in Clayton Kershaw? Exactly how long has he been a Dodger and exactly how many regular-length season World Series have the Dodgers won during that tenure?

And they have now struck out or passed on Justin Verlander twice. He’s got two rings in the last five years.

The gullible Dodger faithful will, of course, spin the turnstiles — far more important to ownership than winning the last game of the year.

Kip Dellinger

Santa Monica

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Traditionally, a baseball team's quality can, at least partially, be defined by its "strength up the middle." That being a yardstick, the Dodgers going into 2023 are very much wanting. Due to Andrew Friedman's unwillingness to seriously pursue Trea Turner at shortstop, we now have no established player at that position. And the same can be said for center field. If Dylan Hernández is correct in his theory that Los Angeles is constraining their spending in order to secure Shohei Ohtani a year from now, good luck with that one.

Bob Teigan

Santa Susana

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So far this winter, the Dodgers have failed to pursue arguably the best shortstop in his prime, Trea Turner, failed to keep Tyler Anderson, Cody Bellinger, Andrew Heaney, Chris Martin and Tommy Kahnle on a team that won 111 games last year and failed to pick up any high-caliber players. The only commitment they have made is to keep expressing confidence that they have the right manager in Dave Roberts, who admittedly, failed to properly motivate last year’s team to win in the playoffs. Can somebody please explain to me what management’s plan is other than to guarantee more years of frustration?

Chris Wrenn

Carlsbad

Bah, humbug!

I loved Bill Dwyre's curmudgeon list! Maybe he can add the NIL and transfer portal to his next column; both are driven by the almighty dollar and diminish the importance of "playing for your school" instead of for one's self.

Ken Blake

Brea

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Bill Dwyre’s curmudgeonly list was the most enjoyable thing I’ve read in a long time and I could not agree more. As a fellow curmudgeon, I would add: For basketball, dudes pausing to touch hands with every single teammate after every single free throw, whether made or missed; and for baseball, decadent, wasteful champagne celebrations for not-so-significant accomplishments, like clinching a wild-card playoff spot.

Anthony Moretti

Lomita

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What a surprisingly pleasant early holiday gift. An insightful piece from Bill Dwyre on the recent trends in the world of sports. There are just not enough Bill Dwyres around.

Kevin Minihan

Los Angeles

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Thank goodness for curmudgeons. Mix a little age with a dose of experience and perspective becomes clear. Mark Twain and Will Rogers provided it for the world of politics, Jim Murray and Bill Dwyre for the world of sports. Looking forward to your 2023 list, Bill.

Dave Sanderson

La Cañada Flintridge

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The Los Angeles Times welcomes expressions of all views. Letters should be brief and become the property of The Times. They may be edited and republished in any format. Each must include a valid mailing address and telephone number. Pseudonyms will not be used.

Email: sports@latimes.com

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.