THE BASEBALL CARD EXPO held at the Valley Forge Convention Center was supposed to be the highlight of my son, Sam's, year. Getting the autographs from his most admired players would have capped off an exciting season.

After spending $425 for this bat-signing privilege, Sam nervously approached Ryan Howard, who then responded that, yes, he would sign his bat, but, no, he would not sign his glove.

Shane Victorino was next. This time, Mr. Victorino reluctantly signed both, but not before his manager reprimanded Sam for asking for the additional autograph.

My son was confused. He asked me, "What did I do wrong?"

These were my son's heroes. He was crushed. As a father, I try to instill the value of generosity instead of materialism, and an experience like this demonstrates materialism at its worst.

I guess the game is all about money now.

Dan Cohen

Lansdale

As a kid growing up in Philadelphia, I loved the Phillies and the Sixers (and still do). And as amazing as the Phillie Phanatic is (the greatest mascot of all time), I also was passionate about Big Shot, the 76ers mascot of the '80s.

I don't know if there any issues on why Big Shot can't come back, but, if it is an option, I would ask the Sixers organization to consider it. It would connect back to the great Sixers like Dr. J, Moses and Barkley.

The uniforms harken back to those times; let the mascot do that as well.

Matthew Hoffman

Plymouth Meeting

I am taking a journalism class at the high school I attend in the city. Recently, my class critiqued the front page of your Wednesday, Dec. 7 issue. The cover that day depicted a large, goofy cartoon moose in connection to the Sixers mascot story.

A day after 63 people died (many of them children) in an attack in Afghanistan, you didn't even mention it on your front page, or anywhere else in your newspaper. You had an opportunity to use your powerful influence to teach readers something important. But, instead, you chose to cater to a readership who might actually prefer moronic mascots to the dignity of humans' lives.

We know your target audience is primarily local sports enthusiasts. We know that people buy the Daily News to read stories about Philadelphia and issues pertaining to the immediate area. However, we also know that you, as a newspaper in the fifth-largest city in the U.S.A., should have exercised better judgment and good taste the day after the atrocious massacre.

Your entire back page is dedicated every day to sports. Why, on Wednesday, did you have to give your front page to sports, too? We think your moose decision was a bunch of bull.

Henry Berenato

Wenonah, N.J.