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Misunderstanding Mark McGwire

You will likely get [a lot] of negative responses to the McGwire comments in Douglas Looney's column "Home-Run Derby: Season's Saving Grace - Barely" (Sept. 4). Yes, he is akin to a Bunyanesque folk hero here in St. Louis and no one can say anything critical of him without getting shouted down. However, being a lifelong Cardinals fan, I can reasonably say that there has been little reason to criticize him.

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He is far from "grumpy" and has been more than accommodating to the press since spring training. Consistently, he has tried to refocus questions to the Cardinals and away from himself.

I was actually at the game when he got thrown out. McGwire has been getting strikes called on him that are not even close, something that Tony LaRussa has been noting since around the All-Star break. Everyone is tired of watching pitches that aren't near his enormous strike zone called for strikes. Well, obviously, McGwire was fed up with it too, so he blew. I don't blame him and, in fact, I was mad that the fans didn't react even more vociferously than they did (I wasn't keen on the field trashing, however).

If you will recall, immediately after the game McGwire said that he should have been thrown out and didn't make a big stink about the whole thing.

Now, regarding the andro [dietary supplement] issue. I really don't understand how he can be criticized for walking into a nutrition product store and buying something that is not banned (or even questioned until this point) by Major League Baseball!

All in all, I am very pleased with the way McGwire has held himself all year, especially because my seven- and five-year-old children just love him.

On the other hand, we [do] see a lot more local interviews, in which McGwire is noticeably more relaxed. He's not happy-go-lucky Sammy, who hasn't had a quarter of the attention that McGwire has had.

Now. Can we just enjoy the McGwire/Sosa race as something really special and not look for things to be controversial about?

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Joel D. Monson

St. Louis

I'd like to thank the Monitor for the sports essay "America Watches the Giants Swing" (Sept. 4).

The author puts the whole picture of the home-run race into perspective, including some of the personality highs and lows of both Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa. The essay is an example of what Monitor readers like about the Monitor.

On the other hand, Doug Looney should write under an assumed name. Something like "Doug Whiner." I wonder if Mr. Looney was cut from a team once back in high school and hasn't had anything positive to say about sports ever since.

Jeff Welcher

Oneida, N.Y.

In "America Watches the Giants Swing" the author closes by making a reference to St. Louis's Golden Arches. Golden Arches! Sure there's a McDonald's on the waterfront, but what's that got to do with breaking the Maris record?

The Arch in St. Louis is exactly that - the arch. The Gateway Arch. And, just for the record, it's silver, stainless steel to be exact!

Gina Prosch

Lohman, Mo.

Tough talk on arms control

Regarding the editorial "Reining in Weapons" (Sept. 4), you are exactly right.

I am suspicious of the bombing in Sudan, but on the whole realize that we must be strict and decisive in our determination to keep horrible weapons out of the hands of madmen.

Excellent job, straight thinking.

Hunter Washington

Via e-mail

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of submissions, only a selection can be published, and we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number.

Mail letters to 'Readers Write,' and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to 617-450-2317, or e-mail to

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