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Letters / Our readers speak out

Blackouts hurt less fortunate

I am getting a little tired of hearing how Ralph Wilson doesn't get a big enough piece of the NFL pie because we built him a too large stadium in an economically depressed area.

Just think for a minute how many unfortunate shut-ins, people in nursing homes and people who don't have the economic means to go to a game would have liked to see Buffalo "Squish the Fish." But no! That didn't happen because of one multimillionaire's greed. You're a millionaire, Ralph, how much more do you need?

Maybe if you work on it, you could get radio coverage blacked out also.

WJ Poole

Orchard Park

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Why can't Bills cover up seats?

To those who think some of us do not go to the football games but expect it to be on TV, I would like to comment. In the '60s when the Bills were playing in the days of Jack Kemp and Daryle Lamonica, we had season tickets and supported them wholeheartedly. Now we are in our 70s, on a fixed income and probably not able to walk the stairs and ramps anymore.

Why is it that Jacksonville can cover 9,000 seats and then call it a sellout when the rest of the seats are sold? Why can't Buffalo do the same? I am sure all the games would be a sellout under those conditions.

Last I would like to thank all those who buy tickets and make it possible for those of us who can't attend. We listen on the radio. Thank you to Ralph Wilson for keeping our team here.

Elaine Rosenthal

Cheektowaga

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Don't like blackouts? Then buy a ticket

As a child growing up in the '70s, prior to cable TV, it was a way of life to listen to the Bills and Sabres on the radio. I didn't have a ticket. I'd anxiously wait until the late news to see the highlights. During that time, even if a game was sold out, it was not televised.

I agree the blackout rule is unfair, since we have to sell more tickets than most cities despite a lower population and poor economy. Currently, too many people sit back and hope "somebody" buys all the tickets so they can sit all comfy at home to watch.

Well, I'm "somebody." As an adult, I bought a season ticket so I'd not have to miss any Bills games (this erases the argument the games need to be televised to lure in young and potential Bills fans; a better predictor is whether your dad was a fan). I buy my season ticket, fight the traffic, deal with obnoxious opposing fans (a few drunk Bills fans), scream and cheer for our team and even freeze my butt off.

Many people have a sense of "entitlement," feeling they have a right to see the game on TV. If you're not elderly or ill, stop whining. Football is a business. If the Bills are to remain here, like any business, it needs support. If not, we eventually may not have a team.

Brian Galuszka

Cheektowaga

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Bills finally flying high again

The "Hawk" was ferocious against Miami. I hope our new Bills team comes to love the "Hawk," our opponents never will. Brian Moorman knows how to tame the "Hawk" as only Bills players do. To play in Buffalo, long into the season and playoffs, our new Bills hopefully will learn to thrive in the face of our best Buffalo weather as our opponents will melt.

So much for needing a sacking defensive end; Aaron Schobel leads the NFL with 13.5.

This team is well coached in all areas and it's only just beginning. To quote Van Miller, "fasten your seat belts" Buffalo, we got an NFL football program again!

Gary M. Scinta

Town of Tonawanda

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Report cards almost flunk out

I have just retired after teaching mathematics for 45 years: seven years at UB and the last 38 years at Niagara University. I must have handed out more than 10,000 grades over that period, so I think I know something about grading.

I am particularly unhappy with your grades for J.P. Losman. The grade of B for his performance against the Jets was way off the mark. Since 158.3 is considered by the league statistics as perfect and Losman graded 140.8, your grade of B and comment "a pretty good performance" strikes me as absurd! Losman's 10 for 15 for 157 yards, two TDs, zero interceptions gets a grade of B? Since a mid-80s grade is considered "very good" by the NFL, I would think that 140.8 should be considered a little better than "pretty good."

By the way, in my opinion, your anonymous sports staff deserves a grade of D-minus for your grading performance.

Bill Price

Grand Island

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O.J.'s Wall spot? Make a statement

In order to satisfy both the pro "Keep O.J. on the Wall of Fame" and those advocating his removal, I have a solution that should appease both factions. Cover the Wall of Fame addition in a black shroud. This should please everybody and display to the world Buffalo's sense of conscientiousness.

Michael Pulka

Williamsville

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Wearing enemy jersey is asking for trouble

I can't help but comment on the out-of towner's frustration with a visit to Orchard Park. And this goes for a visit to any NFL stadium. If you're looking for civil behavior, these sports events are the last place you should be. And if you must go, why not leave your opposition's jersey at home? With the types that hang out in huge crowds, you're asking for trouble.

George Kunz

Buffalo

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Ramsay deserves highest honors

I could write a five-page letter on why Craig Ramsay deserves to finally have his number retired. I'll try to get straight to the point.

Craig Ramsay is in the top five career leaders in six different categories in Sabres history: games played (second, 1,070), goals (fifth, 252), assists (third, 420), points (fourth, 672), short-handed goals (first, 27), game-tying goals (fourth, 15). He is also third in points (48) in the playoffs. Ramsay is simply all over the Sabres' record book.

The "Rammer" was also an NHL "iron man" playing an astounding 776 games in a row, a number that is unheard of in today's NHL. He was also the team's first Selke Award winner in 1985. He was player/coach, assistant coach, and head coach of the Sabres. He is also a member of the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame. Craig has coached in numerous NHL cities and won the Stanley Cup as an assistant coach with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

If the numbers, honors, and achievement are not enough, then look at the man himself. He is the very definition of what sports fans in Buffalo hold near and dear to their heart. He was undersized yet played a hard-nosed defensive style of hockey. He was a blue-collar player who showed up every night to kill penalties and check the top players of his era. In recent years Ramsay has endured major health setbacks. He had his stomach removed a few years back and most recently has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. He still perseveres in his classic iron man way.

Craig Ramsay's No. 10 deserves its spot in the rafters in HSBC Arena. He played his entire career as a Sabre and never shortchanged his teammates, coaches, or the fans. He deserves to be recognized as one of the Sabres' all-time greats.

Matt Lexner

Cheektowaga

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Alumnus thanks Bona president

In his column "College Basketball" in the Dec. 16 issue of The Buffalo News, Mike Harrington speaks of Sister Margaret Carney being on the "hot seat" with alums for hiring Steve Watson rather than Tom McElroy for the position of athletics director at Bona. Although Harrington states that Carney's decision may in the future be found to be prudent, he feels that there shouldn't have been a search committee if Carney was going to make the choice herself.

Well, this alum and other alums I have talked to are glad that there was a search committee to find several very good candidates and also appreciate Carney's not rubber-stamping a committee's decision.

Sister Margaret showed vigilance and care for the values of a great university that got quite a "black eye" nearly four years ago. That happened because a president himself got caught up in Bona basketball mania and was careless and lacked vigilance about the university's values in his decision.

I'm sure Carney wants Bona basketball to get back on track as much as anybody else. She's often at the games rooting the Bonnies on. Her decision in this matter, which must have been very difficult precisely because she had to go against the committee's recommendation, shows Franciscan alertness, leadership and courage. That is exactly what Bona needed four years ago and what many alums appreciate today.

Bob Struzynski

West Clarksville

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Smith earned award, but watch Quinn grow

I wasn't surprised that Troy Smith won the Heisman Trophy. He had better college numbers than Brady Quinn and was more successful in regards to winning.

But I still believe that Quinn is a much better quarterback than Smith and will go either first or second overall in the upcoming draft and Smith will go mid- to late first round.

Brady Quinn is 6-foot-4, 227 pounds, and physically built to play at the next level. Smith, on the other hand, is just over 6 feet and 215 pounds. In addition, Quinn has a stronger arm than Smith and has great leadership skills, as shown in many comeback wins throughout the season for the Irish.

Also, Quinn has been coached and his game has improved extremely under the instruction of Charlie Weis. Quinn has surmounted more challenges than Smith during the season because Ohio State was almost never behind their entire season, while Notre Dame was behind numerous times.

Smith deserved to win the Heisman after a superb season, while Quinn's season was underwhelming after a phenomenal junior year. But if you watch both of these quarterbacks play, you will notice the poise and confidence that Quinn possesses in addition to a powerful and accurate arm and a professional-like physical stature. Smith may have won the Heisman but in the next level, Quinn will be extremely successful and become the better quarterback in the long run.

Peter A. Roehmholdt

Williamsville

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Coaches don't have to scream

In response to the article "Fighting Irish earned spot in BCS bowls" (Dec. 10), a writer challenged "anyone reading this who has played organized sports, to tell me that they haven't had a coach cuss them out when they messed up."

Let me first acknowledge that I am a flawed individual (point being, I don't think I am a better man than Notre Dame football coach Charlie Weis).

I recall the first organized sports team I participated in (Little League baseball) about 40 years ago; we were the St. Andrew's Midgets.

Our team had some of the most decent men I have had the privilege of playing under. I can still remember their names -- Mr. Banke, Mr. Bourie and Mr. Crawford. What made these coaches "stand out" was that our mistakes were not met with derision and/or cursing, their response was one of patient instruction and support throughout the season (for all the boys, regardless of skill level).

I not only learned how to play baseball, but I would come to understand (from these men) that a "constructive teaching attitude/example" would bring out the best (in the long run) of both applicable segments of importance -- development of character, as well as sports skills.

Edward D. Caggiano

Town of Tonawanda

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Everest climbers have big egos

After watching the latest program on cable TV documenting a bunch of over-age egotistical juveniles trying to climb Mount Everest, I am left with the thought that all of these delusional heroes need a slogan to help cheer them on to greatness. Even as they pass other dead climbers on their way up to the peek they could just point to their slogan and carry on without showing a shred of humanity.

What they need is a slogan on every bit of clothing and equipment saying, "I'm too important to be a nobody." If in my lifetime I ever get close to anyone who ever stood anywhere on Mount Everest it'll be hard not to spit in their face for being such an egotistical maniac.

Matthew R. Powenski

Buffalo

Send comments to Sports Talk, The Buffalo News, One News Plaza, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, N.Y., 14240. Letters may also be sent via fax to 849-4587 or e-mail to sports@buffnews.com. Letters should be limited to 250 words and are subject to editing.

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