Baseball, Business, and Greed

The opinion-page essay ``Drowning in a Field of Greed,'' Sept. 27, was a superb synopsis of the professional baseball predicament. The author included historical insight and, although slanted toward ownership, didn't blame the situation entirely on any one segment of the baseball industry. Baseball certainly owns no monopoly on greed. We are bombarded daily with examples of the avarice displayed by individuals, businesses, governments, and religious entities.

The game of baseball has become a target because of its overall popularity and the fact that many of us think we understand the game, and to some extent the business of the game. Singling out baseball players and owners, however, is probably unfair because this group is simply a manifestation of the greed that has permeated society - and ourselves, if we are really honest about it. Ron Lauderbach, San Diego

Baseball, Business, and Greed

When I was a young college graduate, I signed a professional baseball contract with the team of my boyhood hometown, the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Though I didn't have what you would call a long and prosperous career, I was fortunate enough to find myself on several occasions standing on the mound in Dodger Stadium surrounded by the likes of Maury Wills and Steve Garvey attempting to get a fastball past Willie Mays and Henry Aaron. Needless to say, those two short years were the answer to a thousand boyhood dreams.

When I played my rookie year in the National League, I was overjoyed to be making the minimum salary of $13,500 per year, plus meal money. Today, player salaries have soared into the stratosphere, for better or worse, and that debate will always go on.

When a wide-eyed youngster has to fork over $10 or more to his favorite ballplayer for an autograph at a baseball card convention or other similar events today, I wonder whether this addition to the ballplayer's already multimillion-dollar income is worth the far greater sacrifice in the player-fan relationship. Have we come so far in professional athletics that the true employers - the fans and the patrons - have been entirely forgotten, or at least completely taken for granted? Both the owners and the players have a solemn obligation to the people who pay both their salaries and offer them their most undying support to give this and every season back to its rightful owners.

Let the postscript in the baseball history books note that this sports tragedy became the genesis of a new awakening in the hearts and minds of players and owners - that this game goes beyond contracts, salary caps, and negotiations. It is about one of the most enduring relationships in our society today - between those who play the game and those who love to watch. Sandy Vance, Lafayette, Calif. L.A. Dodgers, 1970-71

Limbaugh - friendly, not sneering

In the editorial ``The Politics of Meanness,'' Sept. 26, you refer to Rush Limbaugh as thriving on the sneer behind the smile. It appears you are accusing him of being involved in meanness. As a daily listener of his radio and TV program, I would say that your description does not fit the individual. He is humorous, delightful to listen to, and talks about concerns people have that are not addressed by the press. Mr. Limbaugh is a friend of democracy, as the author would discover if he or she were a regular listener of his entertaining and informative programs. Lee Cusack, Clearwater, Fla.

Carter was no failure

I strongly disagree that Jimmy Carter ``left office in 1981 carrying the stigma of a failed presidency,'' (``Carter Explains Strategy as Clinton's Fireman,'' Sept. 23). Since I immigrated to America in 1965, Mr. Carter is the president I have most admired. Guy Ottewell, Greenville, S.C.

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