Letters to The Seattle Times sports editor

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Penn State

Move on, leave Joe alone

I’m sick and tired of the endless vilification of Joe Paterno, even in death.

Yes, he should have done more in response to the Sandusky situation, OK? Good. Now let’s move on, unless you’re still upset that he wasn’t booed at his eulogy.

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— Lewis Witham, Seattle

Paterno created a false reality

The Paterno and Penn State scandal is another example of an all-too-common human failing — the need to see things as we want to see them as opposed to the way they are. Whether it be the cheating business person, the abusive husband, the drug addict or alcoholic, people connected with the abuser too often insulate themselves from the true reality of the situation, so that they can continue to live life the way they would like it to be, rather than the way it is.

It is tragically ironic, that in an effort to exhibit the desirable human qualities of loyalty to a colleague and care for the honor of the university, Paterno lived in a false reality which led to apathy toward a grave situation, and thus ultimately brought down the exemplary reputation of both himself and his university that he spent a lifetime building.

— Jon Engman, Newcastle

New arena

Approach proposal from the positive

I wrote a letter recently supporting the proposed arena and encouraging local leaders to bring back the Seattle SuperSonics.

I received a response from Sally Clark, a member of the Seattle City Council: “Since we (the people of Seattle) are being asked to go in on building the new arena to the tune of $120 million, we (the people jilted by a pro basketball team once before) need to be appropriately cautious.”

We, the people of Seattle, were not jilted by our Sonics. No way. Quite the contrary.

The Sonics were a constant for 40 years in this city. They were exhilarating, exasperating, comforting, infuriating, intriguing, bonding, exhausting and thoroughly invigorating.

Everything a sports team should be. Everything. We were not jilted.

This distinction may seem small to the individuals lobbying against the arena. I get that. But I simply ask everyone not to approach their due diligence with such negativity.

I had my 20-year-old car stolen a few years ago. What would you think of me if, in my anger, I swore off buying that type of car again and encouraged others to do the same? Logical? Of course not.

All I ask is this: Do your homework, ask your questions. I would never ask anyone to “rubber stamp” such a colossal project. But approach the proposal as a positive. An opportunity to regain something special.

Don’t ignore traffic. Don’t ignore I-91. Don’t ignore KeyArena.

But we weren’t jilted. This city was very, very happy for a long time. Don’t ignore that, either.

— Erich VonHeeder, Shoreline


Smoak’s stats no worse than Olivo’s

I understand the need to call out Mariners players that can’t get going, and therefore read Jerry Brewer’s column on Justin Smoak (“M’s face difficult decisions with Smoak,” Tuesday) with agreement. But if we’re going to call out our disappointments and demand changes due to lack of performance as Geoff Baker did in a recent blog post, how about this for a comparison to Smoak? Miguel Olivo: 11 years in the majors, four years with the M’s with a lifetime batting average with Seattle of .205. Ranks 73rd out of 84 MLB catchers for on-base percentage, 62nd for average, and is tied for eighth for passed balls.

Oh, and let’s not forget to mention that he was paid $2.25 million last year and $3.5 million this year. Smoak, on the other hand, is getting paid $495,000. So who should really be sent away?

— Zygi Goldenberg, Seattle

Iceberg ahead

Sir: I would like to point out an error regarding (Friday’s) headline “SS Mariner stays the course.” It should have read, “SS Titanic stays the course.”

— John Christensen, Edmonds

Can’t they lose for a lot less?

Midway through their 10th consecutive rebuilding year and despite a payroll of $82 million (admittedly down from a high of $117 million in 2006), our beloved M’s once again find themselves with the 16th-best record in a 16-team league. Certainly there are other perennial losers in Major League Baseball, but no other franchise has been able to lose this consistently with payrolls anywhere near this size. The Padres, Royals, Pirates and Astros, to name a few, all do it for much less. Others such as Tampa Bay and Oakland even manage to win with far smaller payrolls.

It just seems that the Mariners should be able to lose this consistently for a lot less money. We shouldn’t be in a class all by ourselves.

— Ron Bland, Bellevue

Send us your backtalk: Letters bearing true names, addresses and telephone numbers for verification are considered for publication. Please limit letters to 125 words or less. They are subject to editing and become the property of The Times. Fax them to 206-464-3255, or mail to: Backtalk, Seattle Times Sports, P.O. Box 70, Seattle, WA 98111. Or email to: sports@seattletimes.com.

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