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Opinion Readers critique The Post: An unreported bit of Nationals history — and stunning photos of the present

Every week, The Post runs a collection of letters of readers’ grievances — pointing out grammatical mistakes, missing coverage and inconsistencies. These letters tell us what we did wrong and, occasionally, offer praise. Here, we present this week’s Free for All letters.

What a shot! And another. And another.

As a former newspaper and magazine photographer, I would like to draw attention to the wonderful job done by The Post’s photographers and picture editors in their coverage of the Washington Nationals’ postseason run. The exceptional action photographs and evocative feature shots capture the key points of the exciting games, as well as the mood and emotions of the players.

The Post’s photographers are always excellent, but their coverage of recent baseball games has been truly exceptional. The moody and interesting photograph of Max Scherzer on the front page of the Oct. 13 Sports section and the earlier capture of the moment of Howie Kendrick’s game-winning home run [Sports, Oct. 10] are great examples of sports photography at its finest.

Perhaps some consideration might be given to emphasizing the photo credits appearing under the photographs. Bold facing and using larger typeface under these wonderful photographs might permit giving credit where exceptional credit is due. As for me, I could never shoot baseball well. It is a very difficult assignment for a sports photographer, which makes me appreciate the work of The Post’s team all the more.

Alan Tepper, Potomac

Kudos to Post photographer Jonathan Newton for capturing Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon catching a liner hit by a St. Louis Cardinals batter during the third inning of their Oct. 14 National League Championship Series game [“It’s best to get off the tracks — these Nationals have become a runaway train,” Sports, Oct. 15]. I will leave it up to a mathematician or physicist or the next Albert Einstein to calculate how the shutter speed of the camera, the velocity of the ball and Rendon’s reaction time resulted in such a stunning outcome.

Joanne Richcreek, Fairfax

Nats article leaves at least one stone unturned

In the Oct. 16 front-page article “Nats bound for World Series,” The Post made reference to a pebble in Game 7 of the 1924 World Series that had allowed Bucky Harris’s ground ball to bounce over the Giants’ third baseman’s head, enabling the Senators to get back in the game that they eventually won.

So far, so good. But The Post failed to mention that Earl McNeely’s game-winning double in the bottom of the 12th inning was also aided by a pebble, one that diverted an otherwise routine grounder over Freddie Lindstrom’s head, sending Muddy Ruel home from second with the run that touched off a citywide celebration that lasted into the wee hours of the morning. That was one busy pebble.

Fast-forward 60 years, and in the display window of my Georgetown Book Shop on Dumbarton Street NW, I featured the Holy Triumvirate of the original program from that World Series, two ticket stubs from Game 7 and, last but not least, that sacred pebble. Though a few customers expressed skepticism that it was really the same pebble that had set off that wild celebration, the Griffith Stadium groundskeeper whose son sold it to me included a genuine certificate of authenticity, signed by God Himself. That ended all discussions.

Andy Moursund, Kensington

Putting on our redundancy cap

An Oct. 12 front-page headline read: “New revelations test impeachment focus.” All revelations are new. Can’t wait to read about “old” revelations.

Tom C. Korologos, Washington

The trouble with 'shrill'

The headline on Monica Hesse’s Oct. 17 Style column, “Does Mayor Pete sound assertive or . . . shrill?,” managed to be both misogynistic and homophobic.

Let me womansplain it: “Shrill” is a word used to discredit women and silence them in the marketplace of ideas. In a twist that the headline writer probably thought was clever, this headline applied that word to the first openly gay man who is a serious candidate for president. So, misogynistic and homophobic.

Hesse’s column was neither misogynistic nor homophobic. In fact, it parsed the gender issues in political discourse very well. The problem was the headline.

Margaret B. Cervarich, Frederick

A lesson in amateur art appreciation

Philip Kennicott missed the point of the “Portraits of Courage” exhibit at the new Reach at the Kennedy Center [“An unnecessary exhibition for an ex-president’s amateur art,” Arts & Style, Oct. 13]. It was not to purport that former president George W. Bush is a great artist and thus merits an exhibit at this wonderful new venue in the District. Rather, the purpose of this display of wounded-warrior portraits is to shed light on their courage and plight, honoring them for their service to our country. By displaying these interesting portraits with Bush’s name attached, the Kennedy Center aroused curiosity in the artistically minded public, including me, increasing awareness of this cause.

The caliber of the art is of no consequence compared with continued recognition of our admirable wounded warriors.

Bush might not be a great artist, but he has become a great humanitarian.

Lynn Easterwood, Springfield

An opinion that's en pointe

Sarah L. Kaufman, in her Oct. 13 Arts & Style column, “A love of dance, lost in all the structure,” asserted that ballet is the wrong choice for children, as ballet requires children to focus, losing a little bit of creativity as they are drilled in rows with positions. However, not putting children in dance can also have negative effects.

Ballet is a form of expression, as Kaufman stated. It requires discipline. But it also boils down to what the teacher is teaching. It is important to take trial classes and see what is right for your child, but children will need to have discipline at some point. When is it too late or too early? Discipline and focus are very important skills that everyone needs to learn at some point.

It is never too early to learn how to focus and have discipline, but ballet teaches this focus while also allowing the expression of kids. And though, at the beginning, it seems more drilling than expression, the end product is for kids to learn a new method of expression.

Maanya Shanker, Leesburg

Regrettable stereotyping

I found it regrettable that Sarah L. Kaufman‘s Oct. 10 Style review, “The Mariinsky’s dancers dazzle as the story fizzles in ‘Paquita,’ ” included the word “gypsy” to describe the people who capture and adopt Paquita. Gypsies, more appropriately called Roma or Sinti, paid dearly during the Holocaust for the stereotypes and caricatures that society had attached to them. Now that the arts have rid themselves of blackface, it is time they similarly address other offensive stereotypes.

Alfred Munzer, Washington

An epilogue to a story about love and laughter

Hank Stuever’s Oct. 17 Style review, “ ‘Modern Love’: A spreading sickness,” examined harshly a new Amazon Prime series based on the New York Times column “Modern Love.” Now, I haven’t seen the “Modern Love” TV show, but I read the New York Times column every week. And I had my hideous personal essay published in the shorter version, “Tiny Love Stories,” this year. Sweet? Maybe. Self-centered? I guess, but I wasn’t writing about anyone’s experience except my own. Nauseating? That seems a little churlish.

I wrote that after my husband died, I received an email two days later from a senior dating service asking if I was ready to try love again. I burst out laughing and immediately thought to share it with my husband, who would think it hilarious. Oh. I couldn’t. 

The 100-word limit meant I couldn’t share what happened next. My late husband’s health insurance company called to say it wasn’t too late for a flu shot. Actually, it was. So for a time, my mantra was: too soon to date; too late for a flu shot. 

Sometimes you just have to laugh. And sometimes it’s fun to share that laugh.

Nora Raum, Alexandria

Some might call it The comPost

Kudos to Baltimore for initiating a composting program, as described in the Oct. 12 Metro article “Baltimore farmers market is helping to put culinary castoffs to good use.”

Thanks to The Post for writing about composting. Perhaps the paper might help to spread the popularity of composting if it printed a list of places that accept compost in Montgomery County or, heck, why not the whole state of Maryland?

Tamara M. Mason, Silver Spring

How about looking locally instead?

Every Sunday, I mourn the lost opportunity for The Washington Post Magazine art directors to highlight the work of our region’s outstanding visual artists on the magazine’s masthead page. The newspaper is not called the Frankfurt Post or the Copenhagen Post or the Cape Town Post. It is The Washington Post, and great artists live here.

Nicole Burton, Riverdale Park

All our voices matter

Recently, there was a Twitter storm about the Oct. 13 Retropolis article “Delving into ‘the weeping time’,” which neglected to cite my book, “The Weeping Time: Memory and the Largest Slave Auction in American History.” (The Post article was updated online) It was very refreshing and encouraging to see The Post discuss such an important historical event and period, but the oversight of my work raised important issues beyond the article itself.

My book, published two years ago, took the same angle as the proposed project of the authors profiled in the article. I tracked down 15 percent of the original 429 men, women and babies who were sold at that fateful sale on March 2-3, 1859. Others, including Catherine Clinton, Diana Ramey Berry, Malcolm Bell, Kwesi DeGraft-Hanson and Griffin Lotson, had written about “the weeping time,” but my book was the first full-length scholarly monograph to track the descendants of the auction to the present day. I also highlighted the research some descendants in the African American Gullah Geechee community have done on their own histories.

In many ways, the issue of citations (or the lack thereof) is a fitting metaphor for the erasure of black people, people of color and women in our history. Citations determine how some voices are documented and remembered and how some go missing from the historical narrative. This issue pertains not just to which historical narratives we learn and remember but also to who writes this history. For a long time, the Western historical field was dominated by men — in particular, white men — yet today more and more women and people of color are historians.

Still, there was also a ray of hope in the midst of this debate. Many interested parties gave voice to their concerns. They affirmed that no one does anything of worth alone. We cite our sources because the work of others has made our work possible. We are building an edifice, and each of us has a brick to lay. But, more than that, especially for those of us who are people of color and/or who are women who have stood for so long at the margins of society, we are adding our voices to a literal and intellectual marketplace that once saw us only as commodities. We are commodities no more. All our stories matter. All our voices matter.

Anne C. Bailey, Binghamton, N.Y.

That's Mystic to our ears

We write with unbridled pride and joy to thank The Post for the spot-on coverage of the Mystics during the WNBA playoffs.

We’ve been fans since game one, and this team has proved (even in the darkest of civic times) how glorious working and striving together can be. 

Plus, they are just flat-out gutsy, skilled and joyful warrior women — on and off the court. Thanks for capturing that. We’ve waited almost as long for The Post to see their potential as we have for a championship. Recent coverage has made fans around the country happy and informed, and it exposed the cluelessness of certain sports commentators without mentioning names. 

Allida Black, Arlington

Judy Beck, Arlington

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