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As a devout New York Yankee fan all my life, this offseason should have been one of the happiest for me, as the Yankees won their record 24th World Series Championship. Winning 125 games is a record that certainly will last for generations.

However, one thing that greatly disturbs me is the media's handling of the condition of Yankee legend Joe DiMaggio over the past three months. It has made public false and inaccurate reports about his ailments, and the topper was the crawl on NBC Monday evening stating he has passed away. The Yankee Clipper was even watching TV at that time and was incensed, naturally, that such a blatant error could occur.

DiMaggio was graceful and eloquent throughout his career with the Bombers, and the media should pay him back with the same during the latter days of his life. I am outraged at the lunacy by which the media is treating one of the greatest players of all time. We need stricter laws to protect private people from the vagaries of a news-hungry media!

Feels betrayed

I've been a season-ticket holder since 1961, and like a lot of fans I've lived and died with the Bills over the years. Cornelius Bennett's revelation that the party atmosphere prevalent among many of the Bills' players at the Super Bowl was in part responsible for the team losing left me with a keen sense of betrayal. His confession brought a stream of reinforcement from talk-show callers who told horror stories of taxi drivers and others claiming that Bills players were out until all hours drinking and carousing.

As a fan I feel betrayed by the arrogance and indifference of these athletes. I feel betrayed by the naivete of Marv Levy, a man I respect greatly, for attempting to treat these spoiled children as men and appealing to their sense of responsibility instead of riding herd.

Many of the Bills were, and of course are, men of high character. I do not condemn the innocent. I'm sure fans like myself would like an explanation and apology from the guilty.
West Seneca

Over & out

I have been a season-ticket holder since the first year the Bills were in the Orchard Park stadium. I received a letter from the Bills informing me that I had a seniority number in the 1600s and that it was necessary for me to request new seating due to the addition of the new boxes. My seats were not affected by the construction, but all season-ticket holders would be required to have a new seating arrangement.

My loyalty to the Bills these past 25 years has been rewarded by a demotion in my seating from the 40-yard line to the 27-yard line. I understand that in order for the Bills to forge forward in their desire to update the stadium they need to accommodate those who have been displaced. I do not understand that this process must come at the expense of those who have been long-time financial supporters. Quite frankly, I feel as though I have been insulted, used and taken advantage of. I have never asked for any considerations from the Bills and for over 25 years have financially supported my team. Frankly, there were some lean years when the team was not all that great, the weather wasn't perfect and being there wasn't priority No. 1. I was there in support of my team as a "Season-Ticket Holder."

A copy of this letter has been sent to the Bills to serve as my resignation as a season-ticket holder. I feel that my support has been rewarded with such contempt that I wish not to be a participant. As a member of the Buffalo business community I would like to convey to the Bills that the method in which this process has been handled is not only incorrect but insulting. It is with great regret that I write this letter.
East Amherst

Political footballs?

Let me get this straight. The state will make us wait five years for the $7 million the Buffalo city schools needed yesterday. However, they will immediately give us $63 million to expand our football playpen that is named after the rich owner.

Meanwhile, a visit by the president, vice president and their wives, including the most admired woman in the country, gives our area the most positive national publicity in years. The Republican chairman decries the cost of this "political" visit.

We were taught in the U.S. Army that you "salute what the uniform means and not the man." Buffalonians did just that. Adults and young people all over the area enjoyed seeing these people in person and on television in their schools.

As for the cost, I'll be glad to pay my share . . . out of the mon-ey that would have gone to Tom Reynolds' extra pension.

Bye, bye Brucie

After watching Denver demolish the Dolphins, 38-3, the immediate question becomes, "Would the Bills have represented themselves better than Miami?"

The real question is, "Why weren't the Bills playing in Denver, instead of Miami?" The answer boils down, in my opinion, to our perennial problem child, No. 78, Bruce Smith. If Smith had shown up against Miami on Jan. 2 instead of laying down like a dog, the result would have probably been totally different.

I would like to go back to Larry Felser's first postgame column of the year, where he called for Smith's immediate departure from Buffalo because of taking the first game off, feigning injury. In my view, John Butler's first objective of this offseason should be ridding the Buffalo franchise of this whining egomaniac, who throughout the season told the head coach when he would play, when he wouldn't play, and, mostly, that he would never practice.

I honestly think Smith has finally exacted his revenge against the Bills' organization, for not fulfilling his wish that he be the team's highest-paid player. He waited until the most important game of the year to make his point.

Smith has never fully participated in training camp, he has repeatedly groaned regarding his salary, and has, without a doubt, cast his negativism among the other players. Case in point -- his criticism of Ted Washington for coming into the season out of shape. In short, Smith has become an enigma, causing more harm than good in the locker room.

Smith has had a remarkable career -- Hall of Fame caliber -- but he has far outlived his usefulness here in Buffalo. He should be ushered out of town quickly.

Will he be missed? I've been a season-ticket holder for 30 years, and I won't miss him.
South Buffalo

Credit the AFL

A recent article described how America discovered the NFL after the Baltimore Colts' sudden-death victory over the New York Giants for the 1958 championship. This game is seen as the launching point for the huge popularity that the NFL enjoys today.

One cannot dispute the importance of this game. But I believe another game was equally important. The New York Jets' victory over the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III was one that changed the face of pro football forever. In a few hours, the Jets, led by a brash and gifted Joe Namath, destroyed the myth that the AFL was inferior to the NFL. The implication that this game had on the present structure of football is staggering.

Somehow I believe that the old AFL still is not given its due credit. Thus, in the history of pro football, the AFL is still fighting to get its due.


Pathetic fans

In response to these fish fans, who said Jimmy Johnson meant no disrespect to Doug Flutie's son when he smashed the box of Flutie Flakes, who are they to tell Flutie to lighten up? Dougie Jr. is his son. How would they feel if it were their son?

I also loved how the one Dolphin fan said he was a fan for 25 years. I guess it was just coincidence that it was about then when they went undefeated . . . pathetic. Just like there are more Packer fans now then there have been in 30 years, I think we'll be seeing more and more Falcon and Vi-kings fans (if they can stay on top).

Paid What?

Congratulations Channel 4. A brilliant move by showing four paid commercials instead of a top game like Duke-St.John's.

How can Western New York call itself a college basketball Mecca with questionable decisions like that one? What's next, not showing the Daytona 500 or The Masters?

The NCAA Tournament comes in our area next season and the affiliate can't even show a national game of this magnitude? The NCAA would love hearing about this.

Wait a minute. We did see the last two minutes plus the overtime. What did you think this was, an NBA game?

The station should show the paid commercials sometime in the overnight hours when most of the people could care less about them.

Kiss off

Oh please! After watching golf every week, if I have to see one more winner of a golf tournament, I don't care which tour -- PGA, Seniors or LPGA -- kiss some inanimate object like a crystal or a large cup, I'm probably going to throw up.

If they think it's cute, they're wrong.

(Send comments to Sports Talk, The Buffalo News, One News Plaza, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, N.Y., 14240 or E-Mail to Letters should be limited to 250 words and are subject to editing. Submissions must be signed and include address and telephone number for verification. Unsigned letters will not be published.)

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