Up and Down

With the area's professional sports teams languishing in the doldrums, we need a new set of incentives for good team performance. Paying big bucks to individual players doesn't seem to do it. How about applying the international system of promotion and relegation to professional baseball?

Soccer is England's national pastime. The Premiership is the major league, with 20 teams. Below the Premier League are three divisions, roughly equivalent to baseball's Class AAA, AA and A ball. At the end of each season, the top three teams in each division move up to the next-higher level. The bottom three teams at each level move down.

Applying that system to American League baseball, Baltimore, Detroit and Minnesota could be relegated to the Class AAA International League for next year and the Scranton/ Wilkes-Barre Red Barons, Norfolk Tides and Columbus Clippers would come up to the American League. That would create incentives.

-- Gary J. Edles

Alexandria

A Knock on Modell

I would like to take issue with Ravens owner Art Modell's criticism of the Redskins in their hiring of Ravens sales executive David Cope, reported by Thomas Heath in Thursday's editions. In that article, Modell criticizes new Redskins owner Daniel Snyder stating, "They stole him" and "There was a sense of morality that was lacking in this instance." This criticism comes from an NFL owner who, due to overwhelming financial debt created by his own practices, took his team away from a city of loyal, adoring fans. Mr. Modell, if you want to criticize Daniel Snyder, based on violations of NFL policies, that's one thing. However, Mr. Modell, stay off the moral high ground.

-- Joe DiZinno

Alexandria

Personal Lives

It is probably too early to characterize new Redskins owner Daniel Snyder as a control freak, but some questions have been raised as to how far he is determined to go in intruding into the private lives of his team in order to have a winner immediately. I refer to his plan to see to it that his players visit children in local hospitals and "that his team get involved in community activities." All this for the purpose of making the Redskins organization appear to be more fan friendly.

I, for one, am astonished that Mr. Snyder would assume the right to control the private lives of his team in this way. Whether a professional athlete visits children in hospitals or becomes a community activist is strictly a personal decision and should never be imposed on him by his bosses as another gimmick for marketing a professional football team. Are we to assume that if a Redskins player chooses to spend all of his spare time painting landscapes, he is unqualified to play football for Daniel Snyder?

-- Burling Lowrey

Washington

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