The People's Voice remembers the Wolves

Dan Wetzel

NHL lockout letters continue to pour in, so we continue to print them, including suggestions for a new NHL commissioner.

Columns on Cheyney football and the good and the bad of major league baseball also generated their share of mail.

As always thanks for all of the feedback. Now on to The People's Voice ...

CHEYNEY FOOTBALL ("Life lessons" September 21, 2004)

Your story illustrates why we don't need a national championship, private suites at Big Ten stadiums, major TV deals, or Nike sponsorships. The process of participating is more important than the superfluous activity surrounding it.

Leigh Cherveny
Sheboygan Falls, Wis.

Thank you for your article. Cheyney has never been a quitter. In the early '60s we played the last game of the season with West Chester (who had four teams suited) with 19 players and still scored on them. Anyone who played sports at Cheyney can be proud no matter what the score. We were the 60 minutes' men (ask Ed Bradley).

Bernard V. Dickerson, Sr.
Philadelphia, Pa.

If we celebrated more stories like this (learning to live vs. living to earn) instead of only the dunks, home runs, touchdowns, and goals, I have little doubt that we'd see a change in our attitudes towards sports and athletes, and I think we might see a change in sports and athlete's attitudes.

Nate Heldman
Chicago, Ill.

NHL LOCKOUT ("Puck stops with Bettman" September 15, 2004)

I think this is one of the best hockey related articles I have read in a long time. I've been a hockey fan for years, always supporting the Philadelphia Flyers. It pains me to watch the game anymore however. It's a joke and a laughingstock how it is run in the offices and on the ice.

Teams with no historical or significant fan base are all over and basically drawing out and diluting the talent base as you said in your article. Why play hockey where fans never see so much as a flake of snow? Tampa Bay winning the Cup on a slushy-surface they'd like to call an ice rink is a joke.

Bettman went ahead and made false promises and commitments and ruined the game. Do you think any agreement will be reached before the season entirely ends, or will this truly be the end of the sport for a temporary undetermined time?

John O'Neill
Philadelphia, Pa.

I am optimistic they will get it done in January. The owners will realize there is little demand or interest in their teams and grow concerned their franchises are losing value. The players, by then, will be sick of playing Mr. Mom and willing to sign off on just about anything reasonable.

Since when is the employee (Bettman) responsible for the failed strategies of the greedy owners who took every opportunity to expand in order to pocket exorbitant expansion fees? Hockey fans need look no further than in their mirrors when seeking someone to blame for the mess hockey is in today. The only fools in this equation are the moronic fans who pay to watch the garbage the NHL portrays as hockey.

Don Walls
Sault Ste Marie, Ontario

It is always the responsibility of the man at the helm. In this case his navigational skills have run the ship hard aground and now he's pointing at the engine room crew and deck force.

Sitting in Iraq wishing for hockey,

Shawn Wachtel
Kirkuk, Iraq

It seems ridiculous to me that you have men who are getting paid to play a game, and they want more. There are plenty of guys who are in the minors and continue to play because of their love of the game. They would obviously like to make more money as would we all, but they continue to play for the game itself. Maybe if the Joe Sakics and the Mike Modanos of the world had to get a real job they would appreciate what they already have.

Jay Sather
Rochester, Minn.

Please … you must do everything in you power to get hockey out of my state! It's an abomination! More basketball, please.

Todd Fowler
Winston-Salem, N.C.

It is time to start a grassroots effort to get Wayne Gretzky or Super Mario to take over the commissioner's job. No hockey? I'm already going through withdrawal.

Dave Costello
Rochester, N.Y.

Ken Dryden is someone with the hockey and business savvy, and the immense respect of all parties, to return hockey to its glory days. Perhaps once Dryden's stint in politics is over he may be available.

Bob Morrison
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

My choice for commish? The best mind in hockey right now: Brian Burke. Kick out the weasel, and fast.

Erin Butler
Lake Cowichan, B.C.

Commissioner Don Cherry has a nice ring to it, eh?

Sara Nelson
Warren, Mich.

With his hair, how could Barry Melrose not be a better choice for commissioner?

Penny Gibson
Boulder, Colo.

ST. LOUIS CARDINALS ("Good story, great team" September 23, 2004)

I loved your article about my team. I have followed them as far back as I can remember (in my 28 years). It kills me every time I watch "SportsCenter" or "Baseball Tonight" and the only teams and races they discuss and dissect are the Yankees, Cubs, Red Sox. I just hope St. Louis keeps the fire in its belly all the way to the end, so when the rest of the sports world wakes up they can find out who the team to beat in 2004 really was.

Robert Haley
Martin, Tenn.

So now the St. Louis Cardinals are claiming no respect, eh? I've been waiting since July, when they started beating every team in sight, for this column to appear somewhere. I mean, I suppose the Cards have to do something to get jacked up for the playoffs, since they haven't had anything to play for since Independence Day, when the Cubs proceeded to lay down for them (I believe the phrase, "Thank you, sir, may I have another" certainly applied to the series of games played between those two squads around the All-Star break).

In any event I, for one, will not shed a tear for a franchise that consistently wins, and then complains, a la the Atlanta Braves, that no one respects them for it. Nor will I worry for the well-being of Cardinal Nation - well, that is until their beloved Redbirds have to reckon with a (hopefully) full-strength "much-hyped" Cubs squad in a final seven-game set in October.

Jon Bilyk
DeKalb, Ill.

First off, I have not heard any Cardinal complain about a lack of respect. It was me who was complaining for them. Second, and most importantly, wouldn't a Cards-Cubs NLCS be great? The fan trash-talking has already begun.

JOSE GUILLEN ("Loud and clear" September 27, 2004)

You fail to mention that the Angels won a championship in 2002 with an ultimate team effort. It's not like the Angels just realized that what happens in the locker room is almost as important as what happens on the field. Under Stoneman and Soscia they have preached the team-first attitude with great success for years. They may have brought in a few stars this past offseason, but they have proven that even those stars aren't bigger than the team.

Chip Marasco
Placentia, Calif.

We need more sportswriters who are not afraid to tell the truth about our over priced so-called role models. Let's hope the Angels don't fold when the union pressures them to reinstate "Tropical Storm Jose."

Ric Lucore
Riverside, Calif.

While I understand your stance on Jose Guillen in principle, I am worried that it could set a dangerous precedent. The "conduct detrimental to the team" clause that the Angels triggered to suspend Guillen seems like something that a team could use to simply not have to pay a player that they don't like or need anymore.

I admit, in this case the Angels lose a lot by dumping a very good player. But who's to say some monumentally cheap teams wouldn't abuse this simply to cut their losses (can anyone say Chan Ho Park?) This move seems to signal that all you need to do is say, "Well, he is pretty moody, and players don't really like him very much. He's detrimental."

Dan Pecchenino
Santa Barbara, Calif.

I agree with you on this, which is why the union is fighting it. Since all Guillen did (at least that we know) was toss a helmet in his manager's direction (kind of), it sounds like he should be paid. The Angels have the right to bench him and ban him from the clubhouse, but I'm not sure he violated the contract.

Great piece Dan! I think the Lakers deserve similar credit for their stance with Shaq O'Neal. Clearly Shaq is a monster talent, but the constant loafing and bad attitude had gotten tired and the Lakers decided to get rid of the cancer. Kudos to the Lakers and other teams resigned to getting rid of the "I's" in team.

John Clarke
Los Angeles, Calif.

There is no Kobe in team either though.

I think you are putting Angel management on too high a pedestal. Guillen is in a bad slump, scoring only eight runs, three RBIs, one home run and batting .240 in September. Hampered by injuries all season, he is obviously beginning to show the toll they've taken. I feel Angel management was just looking for an excuse to save the salary because they knew he'd be ineffective the rest of the season and into the playoffs.

Sure it's just speculation, but in my fantasy league, I dumped Guillen to the waiver list on Sept. 25, and no one attempted to pick him up.

Chris Papas
Valatie, N.Y.

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