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Sports mailbag

December 23, 2007
The Altoona Mirror
In an article in the Mirror on Monday praising Michigan’s hire of former WVU coach Rich Rodriguez, Cory Giger states that Joe Paterno is ‘‘a coach who doesn’t want to take chances, who selfishly wants to keep his job because he has nothing better to do, and who doesn’t plan to go anywhere for three to five years.”

Young Giger does a fine job covering the Altoona Curve, a minor league team in the organization of the Pittsburgh Pirates, one of the worst teams in major league history (15 straight losing seasons). Perhaps he has found his niche, because he certainly has demonstrated his bush-league pedigree when commenting on Joe Paterno.

When Joe arrived at Penn State, schools such as Michigan, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Tennessee, Alabama, Pitt and others had already achieved big-time football status, with huge stadiums and rich traditions. Joe brought Penn State up to their level and has maintained it for decades. Beaver Stadium didn’t always hold 108,000 fans.

Aside from being the winningest coach in history (Samford doesn’t count), Joe has done it the right way, been generous with his time and money, built libraries and produced citizens Penn State can be proud of.

He’s not perfect, but he’s never signed a five-year contract and then left after one year when a better offer came along; and over the years, they have.

He’s never held the university hostage to get a raise. He makes probably 20 percent of what Rodriguez will make at Michigan, even though he’s won 200 or 300 more games than RichRod.

Joe is a legendary hall-of-famer, and Giger is a beat writer for a bush-league team in baseball’s worst organization.

Tim Arnold


Stuck in the dark ages

I’m wondering if Cory Giger is happy about the developments involving the Hot Stove event.

After the bashing commentary he wrote over events that happened years ago and just briefly mentioning that Darryl Strawberry was a good player, does he feel vindicated over the pulling of Strawberry as keynote speaker?

Strawberry was going to come to Nowhere, Pa. and help out a good cause. However, Giger forgot that.

He wanted to point out that Stawberry had legal problems in the past and then fueled a bunch of unnecessary clouded comments about Strawberry and Chuck Navasky. These comments probably came from people who have no idea what Darryl Strawberry brought to the baseball diamond or, worse yet, never even heard of the man.

I think this community and the Mirror sports writers are stuck in the dark ages. Come out of the dark: There is a big world out there to experience and people with dark pasts such as Darryl Strawberry can do good for communities like the dark corners of Pennsylvania, namely Altoona.

Richard Lohsl


Curve owe Navasky thanks

This letter is in response to the backlash in relation to the Altoona Curve Hot Stove Dinner and its longtime supporter/beneficiary, Chuck Navasky.

The barrage of negativity began when it was announced that Darryl Strawberry was going to be the keynote speaker for the event. Apparently, there are many people who feel that Strawberry’s past has led him to be an unsuitable representative for the cause.

I am all for a person’s right to their opinion and am certainly not going to make disparaging remarks about anyone who would choose to avoid this event because of their feelings for Strawberry. I also support anyone who maturely and rationally airs their opinions in any type of public forum because that freedom of speech is one of the principles this nation was built upon.

However, reading that there was “hate mail” sent to Navasky that included anti-semetic and racially insulting comments that led him to withdraw his support of the event due to fears for the safety of his celebrity guests saddens me.

This event has supported the Navasky Foundation for Life for many years and the Altoona Curve truly owes Navasky a debt of gratitude for his contributions to its success. The list of sports celebrities Navasky has graciously worked to bring to this event in the past is truly impressive and, in my opinion, has been the main reason for its popularity.

The Curve, very cautiously, rode the fence with their response to this situation and were sure to stress that it is Navasky that brings the celebrities to this event so that they could walk away relatively unscathed by this mess.

The less cowardly path for Todd Parnell and his staff to take would have been to stand up in support of a small-town businessman whose generous efforts and charitable heart have made one of their largest annual events the crowd pleaser that it is.

Kelly Yoder


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