Marvin Olasky's diagnosis of what ails Major League Baseball was brought home to me after my son and I spent the evening watching a local Babe Ruth tournament game ("How to fix baseball," June 21). The young age of the players and the inevitable errors did not detract from the drama and excitement of the game; there were plenty of confrontations per hour. Maybe it's time for Americans to rediscover local baseball: It's just around the corner, there isn't a bad seat in the park, and the concession prices won't break the family budget. Better yet, get involved-it's a great way to meet others in your community. - John Patee, Poulsbo, Wash.
Baseball is an elegant game. It was born in a nobler age, when the game's own nobility and nuance were more adequately appreciated. The game has had its ups and downs in popular imagination, but so long as there remains 90 feet between bases, and 60 feet 6 inches between the pitcher's rubber and home plate, it will continue. The fault is not in the game, but in ourselves. - Warren Smith, Charlotte, N.C.
Watching baseball is about as thrilling as watching a chess match. If there's a pitcher just three outs away from nailing a perfect game, then you may interrupt my NBA playoff broadcast; until then, don't bother me. - Matt Heath, Mountain View, Calif.
Baseball would improve drastically if all the umpires would call the entire strike zone. - Jonathan Frantz, Lake Charles, La.
The average cost for a family of four of attending a game is well over $100 in tickets and parking (putting aside the exorbitant prices for food), making it unaffordable for many. - Robert Ciago, Brooklyn, N.Y.
It is patronizing, and ultimately counterproductive, to hand an opportunity to an unqualified recipient solely on the basis of race, gender, or any other criterion, as penance for past oppression. But it is empowering, and ultimately righteous, to rescue a worthy someone from a disadvantaged environment. - Tom Gilbert, Simi Valley, Calif.
The federal government should not even consider cutting Social Security or Medicare ("Following their leaders," June 21). I am entitled because of the tens of thousands of dollars that I paid into the program over my lifetime. The government forced us to pay into their retirement program, and now they want to delay our retirement or diminish our benefits? If the system needs more money, let's pull out of the United Nations, stop corporate and farm subsidies, and eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts and the Department of Education. - Mary Bain, Mission, Texas
The primary benefit to me of fasting is the diversion of physical, emotional, and mental energy to a greater spiritual sensitivity ("A long, slow fast," June 21). When my body is not burdened and distracted by the usual schedule of eating (often overeating), my insight and understanding of spiritual truths as well as how to apply them are greatly increased in proportion to the hours (or days) of fasting completed. Once the initial battle of obsession with food is past, the focus is on the meat Jesus received-to do the will of His Father. - Larry D. Shields, Jacksboro, Texas
Sin no more
Regarding the election of the first openly gay Episcopal bishop, V. Gene Robinson: Whatever happened to calling sin sin and excommunicating those who choose to wallow in it-especially those leading the flock ("The beginning of the end," June 21)? - Vincent R. Kalny, Lower Lake, Calif.
Mr. Belz sounds like he's gone soft on the University of Michigan's illegal, unconstitutional, propped-up-by-lies affirmative-action program. The lesson from the column was that even the "benign" little program at his school was counterproductive; how much more the politically driven abomination at my alma mater? - Dore Schupack, Tulsa, Okla.
Mr. Olasky's columns about "Growing old together" were great (June 21). As a veteran of 51 years of togetherness, I say "amen" to all the remarks. - Gwen Rice Clark, W. Carrollton, Ohio
I cannot believe that you did not mention the retirement of basketball great David Robinson in your item on the NBA Finals ("NBA spurned," June 21). "The Admiral" is a fine Christian man of great ability and character, and he went out with class. - Alma Robertson, San Jose, Calif.
Thanks to Joel Belz for "A debating society" (June 14). Far too many Christians are caught up in "cultural sensitivity." I agree with Franklin Graham that Islam is "an evil and wicked religion." - Charles A. Howard, Mobile, Ala.
Kudos to Mr. Olasky for his insights into what plagues the game: a decline in Confrontations Per Hour (CPH), combined with the problem of Non-Education In Nuances (NEIN). But my dad and I feel a key acronym is missing for Major League Baseball: SCELF-Salary Caps Equal a Level Field. The NHL, the NBA, and the NFL have caps so fans from every region of the country feel like they have a fighting chance to win a championship. Without a salary cap, there will be fewer baseball followers in the smaller markets. - Luke Perkins, 13, Wilmington, Del.
As a third-generation baseball fan and player, I disagree strongly with Marvin Olasky that more rule tinkering will help save the game. The tinkering has all but ruined baseball's greatest asset: tradition. Every rule change breaks a link in the chain that allows baseball fans to compare today's feats with those of a century ago. - Stephen Stortz, Milton, Mass.
Another idea for more confrontation is to design some parks with outfields so deep that "over-the-fence" home runs would rarely be hit. Then pitchers would not think of giving a Bonds or a Sosa an intentional walk, and with such a change, a line drive double might become a triple, or an inside-the-park home run. - Tom Lamprecht, Greenville, N.C.
I think Mr. Olasky missed a couple of conflicts: the regular strikes (players vs. owners, players vs. fans, and owners vs. fans), and the team move threat (owners vs. fans). Baseball has become a club of spoiled millionaires subsidized by the taxpayers (we'll build you a new stadium if you'll please stay) for the benefit of another small group of other millionaire owners. - Tom Groleau, Benson, Ariz.
Field of dreams
Mr. Belz's comparison of free magazine subscriptions to affirmative action is faulty ("Playing favorites," June 21). It would be very gracious, but this is not how affirmative action works in practice. What would WORLD do if it could print only 5,000 copies per week? Reserve 500 issues for select minorities? And then inform some of your subscribers that they could no longer receive their issues? That would be patently unfair, but unfortunately this is how affirmative action works. My idea of affirmative action is to allow everyone to compete on an equal playing field. - Robert Carroll, Neptune, N.J.