© St. Petersburg Times
published June 2, 2002
That's it. The final straw. Freaked out bozos, veins filled with steroids, destroying the sport we used to call the national pastime. Goodbye professional baseball. Goodbye to the sport I loved growing up with star-crossed eyes at Williams, DiMaggio, Musial amd later Mantle, Mays and Aaron. Thanks Selig; thanks owners; thanks Fehr; thanks players. Goodbye.
-- Robert H. MacPherson, St. Petersburg
It's the day before the World Cup opener and just when I was about to write the Times, thanking you for your thorough coverage before the games, I find Gary Shelton's deflating column (Soccer? That's great! Pass me the remote, Thursday). My question is simple: With the advent of this great quadrennial spectacle only hours away, why write it? It serves no purpose other than to elicit a laugh from those baseball-watching fans who, thanks to articles like his, will never give the world's most popular sport a chance.
I say let Americans decide for themselves. If Shelton considers it boring or a waste of time, then tell me that it's not for him. But do not compare the sport I love with a cult that attempts to force you to embrace it. All I ask is he allow others to give it a chance. Why does he think the United States doesn't have the Michael Jordans and Jerry Rices of soccer? Perhaps thanks to articles like his, which discourage participation.
Just when I was about to ask the Tribune to increase its coverage, I think I'll thank it for not blasting the sport many have come to love and allowing us to decide for ourselves -- by not saying a word.
-- Jeff Prugh, e-mail
I recently read the baseball players union was determining a date to go on strike again. This may be the last nail in the coffin for what once was America's sport (now football, and in some regions, NASCAR). I will be glad to see it go.
It makes me sick to see players, whose athletic abilities are marginal, whine to their bosses about the poor conditions they play under for less-than-acceptable pay. Give me a break. Heck, I can sit on the bench, make six figures, drink Gatorade and spit sunflower seeds.
Baseball has much to explain to the average Joe and Jane about why it needs more money when many fans make less in a year than one of those extortionists makes in a game. In many cases, baseball's fan base is recovering from being unemployed.
So forgive me if I don't feel sorry for them. I will be glad to see MLB destroy itself. Maybe a new, more fan-oriented league can emerge.
-- Randy Pike, Pinellas Park
Too many Sundays I read about how Rays management, players and stadium stink. Some have gone so far as to urge Bud Selig to contract the Rays first. This is more proof that this area is filled with bandwagon fans and little else.
It was not that long ago that the Bucs were similar, and we saw that only the core fan base attended games at Tampa Stadium.
Now that the winning ways have reached One Buc Place, Raymond James Stadium is filled to the brim with many of these bandwagoners. Most who couldn't tell you who Mark Cotney, Lars Tate or Richard Wood were, or care, but as the club evolved, the die-hard fans are the ones who can fully appreciate the success.
The Rays are the youngest team and have the lowest payroll, so some growing pains are expected. Even during the 15-game losing streak, the Rays were in position to win most, so competitiveness is not the issue. And, if they had won a third of those games in that stretch, they would have as many wins as half the teams in baseball.
They've played hard, aggressive ball with youngsters you want to root for, yet all I read is "get rid of them." Obviously we didn't see this type of fan at old Tampa Stadium, did we? Being a fan means backing your team through thick and thin.
-- Gary Leverenz, Seminole
The downfall of the Storm can be attributed to Tim Marcum's massive ego. When Marcum traded James Bowden, the best offensive specialist in the Arena Football League, he impeded the Storm's offense. To make matters worse, Marcum did not acquire anyone significant.
Those who follow the Storm know Marcum and Bowden had a personal conflict. It is unfortunate, however, that Marcum was unwilling to put the best interest of the team ahead of his pride.
Shame on you, Coach Marcum. You've forgotten that the team should always come first. It's time for you to move on.
-- Joseph Wisterman, Leesburg
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