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Letters to the Editors

Version of anthem off the mark

© St. Petersburg Times
published April 7, 2002

It's amazing to me that none of your baseball writers covering the Rays' opening day mentioned the self-absorbed version of the national anthem by the (U.S. Automobile Association Choir).

The elitist message to the public of this totally unmelodic rendition -- not a single note from the traditional melody -- is something like, "You poor souls never could understand what we're doing, and we're certainly not going to tell you because then we'd no longer feel as superior to you."

Arrogant beyond belief. And very hard for us untrained boobs to listen to.
-- Bob Armbruster, Seminole

Compare and contrast

Now that Warrick Dunn has left, there is no need to cry about it. But there is also no need to criticize one of the best team players the Buccaneers ever had. Those people who point to last year's statistics as proof that Dunn is not an every-down running back have obviously forgotten how he performed when Mike Alstott was injured. The Bucs had to rely on Dunn to carry the ball, and he performed admirably, both as a runner and as a receiver.

Last year, not only did the Bucs repeatedly run Dunn up the middle, even on third-and-long, but they also never had Jameel Cook in to block for him. Cook was often in to block for Alstott. Why would a 250-pound back need blocking more than a 180-pound back?

Fans should also remember that there was a time when we trembled each time Alstott touched the ball because he fumbled so much, while Dunn rarely fumbled. One final point: Dunn, as small as he is, is a much better blocker than Alstott. If Alstott is a Pro Bowl fullback, then there are no decent fullbacks in the NFL. A fullback who fumbles and can't block doesn't usually last as long as Alstott has. I wish the Bucs and Alstott success, but let's be realistic about his talents.
-- Robert Monroe, Tampa

Not impressed

I think the Rays have bigger problems than fans in Southwest Airlines seats moving to more expensive seats (i.e. four last-place finishes, minor-leaguers masquerading as major-leaguers, overpriced concessions, etc.), but it is further evidence that ownership cares more about money than the game and the fans.

Do us all a favor, Vince, and sell the team.
-- Richard King, St. Petersburg

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