© St. Petersburg Times, published March 31, 2002
I have a season ticket to the Beach section. Quite a surprise finding out about this ticket: I can't go in the front door but must use a side door used by the cheap paying customers. Last year, I could use the Batter's Eye restaurant and Brew House as well as the St. Petersburg Times party on the upper deck before the game. Another great PR move by a team that needs fans and their revenue from concessions.If ushers got busy and checked tickets, they could control fans moving to more expensive seats. I sit in the lower bowl of the Ice Palace for hockey and have never seen a problem. Also, they were quick to tell me I could upgrade to avoid this problem.
-- Robert A. Moorehead, Via e-mail
This new seating policy is a poor decision. Anyone who shows up to see their mediocre product on the field should not be treatedlike second-class citizens no matter what price they paid for tickets. One of the best things about attending a Rays game is having space to yourself because of the usual sparse attendance. Closing the upper deck will hurt attendance and is another way of saying to fans that you can either pay for lower deck seats or be locked in the Beach section.
-- D.R. Gray, St. Petersburg
Nice afternoon to take my child to see a spring training game. To see Phillies manager Larry Bowa bleep four letter words at the top of his lungs to the umpire before, during and after his ejection. How do you explain to your children and families that the love of the sport has been tarnished by selfish egos and lack of consideration for surroundings?
Larry, clean up your act. If not for some of your unselfish rookies but for the respect of the fans who want to support you. PLEASE!!!
-- Tom Fote, St. Petersburg
From reading Roger Mills' article about the signing of free-agent running back Michael Pittman (Tuesday), one would have thought the second coming of Walter Payton or Eric Dickerson was on his way to Tampa: "A bruising running back who has been described as a shorter version of Eddie George ... is said to have one of the more muscular physiques in the NFL ... Pittman has shown breakaway speed."
Pittman doesn't have anywhere near the breakaway speed Warrick Dunn had. The fact is, he came cheap, and he's a warm body for the backfield. In Arizona he was an average player on a terrible team. Here he will be an average player on an average team.
-- Michael Heenan, Palm Harbor
It seems many people are getting a little upset about some of the changes Jon Gruden is making. No more Dunn. Who cares? The offense we have been forced to watch the past five-plus years is the most boring I have seen! I bet this year the offense will average more points and be a lot more fun to watch.
-- John Even, Treasure Island
Well, they're not my Bucs! I'll take a team with Trent and Hardy and "Rhett up the middle," thank you very much. No more scampers from Warrick? No more tight ends like Dave and Patrick and Jackie? Chidi who? Quezie and Reidel? Tony D? Shaun? The owners can give their left arm for a new coach, but if they trade Mike Alstott, that's the last straw. The Lightning can't strike, the Rays have no sting, and the Bucs ship is sinking fast.
-- Randy Malone, Spring Hill
I live in the Chicago area, but I am a huge Bucs fan! Before the playoff game against the Eagles this year, I read Rick Stroud's article about Dungy's probable departure. At the time I thought it was distasteful timing. It was the first article I had read by him, so I held my judgment. Over the past couple of months I have read each of his articles and I am very impressed. They are factual and provide excellent insight and knowledge. I would like to commend Rick and the rest of your staff in covering the Bucs.
-- Darren Raichart, Chicago