© St. Petersburg Times, published December 8, 2002
Of the fans booing Pavel Kubina at the Edmonton-Lightning game Thursday, Joanne Korth writes Vinny Lecavalier was "outraged." He was quoted as saying: "People should put themselves in his shoes. He's one of the best defensemen in the league. Everybody makes mistakes."
Lecavalier should put himself in fans' shoes, especially the past three or four years when the Lightning should have paid fans to watch. Kubina could be one of the best defensemen in the league, but he isn't. He recently was benched by the coach for many of the same reasons the fans booed. His goal redeemed his otherwise mediocre play and some stupid mistakes you don't get from the best defensemen in the league.
The fans were not booing the whole team, just one, sometimes lazy, player. For $4.75-million, the fans deserve better and so does the team. Maybe it woke him out of his stupor.
-- Susan Segal, Palm Harbor
I am shocked and appalled the Parrots left after just six home games. This should be proof that when a businessman can't hack it in the New York Stock Exchange, or some other viable form of business, he tries his happy luck at a minor-league hockey team. How pathetic is a business that gets up and runs with more than $250,000 lost in just six home games?
Perhaps the team and league should realize the reason the Parrots did not survive was because of the team itself. St. Petersburg would have been interested in the Parrots, but little to no one knew of their existence. I live one block from Bayfront Center, yet I did not know of the team's existence until the opener. No strong advertising push. No commercials. Little to no newspaper pre-coverage.
St. Petersburg should not be ashamed of the Parrots' demise, the Parrots should be. Poor business deals equal poor results. When people don't show, it's not the people's fault. Good luck to the people of Winston-Salem. Maybe they should read our newspapers so they know the team is coming.
-- Joe van Gaalen, St. Petersburg
Finally, someone has made perfect sense of the Augusta National issue. Former CBS chief executive Thomas Wyman absolutely has done the right thing by resigning from the club. He estimates "as many as 75 of the roughly 300 members" feel the same way. My question: when, in America, does 25 percent dictate to 75 percent?
-- C.R."Rick" Anderson, Clearwater
On Oct. 22, the WNBA's Orlando Miracle announced its parent owner and the Orlando Magic no longer would sponsor and support the team. Last week, the Miami Sol announced its owner and the Miami Heat no longer would support and sponsor the team. The folding of these teams presents a great opportunity for Tampa, where women's professional basketball could thrive and be profitable. With the support of the business, professional, political and sports community, a WNBA team in Tampa would be a success. Building a strong fan base with the support of the University of South Florida, University of Tampa and the many high school teams would be a key element to the success of a franchise in Tampa. Let's unite and make our bid for women's professional basketball in our great city.
-- Kirk Jones, Tampa
Why is it that there has to be a few individuals who give sports a bad name and provide a horrible example to youngsters. I don't care what coach Jon Gruden or NFL officials say, Warren Sapp's blindside hit on an opponent far from the ball, followed by a dance celebrating his feat, was unnecessary, in bad faith and resulted in what might be a career-ending injury.
Give me Joe Dumars, Barry Sanders and other great athletes who are wonderful examples to younger generations. They don't have to act like fools to impress the public. They let their athletic ability speak for itself.
-- H. Scott Woodward, Largo
As a Bucs fan, I am not voicing a disgruntled opinion of the opposing team because of the loss to the Saints. I am stating the obvious: Jim Haslett is a horrendous in-game coach.
First, he goes for two early in the game, which, as it played out, would have meant the Bucs needed to score two touchdowns in the final seven minutes. The Bucs don't score two offensive touchdowns in a half.
Second, he declines a holding penalty on third and 10 on the Bucs' late fourth-quarter scoring drive, which makes it fourth and 4 instead of third and 20. Of course, the Bucs convert the fourth down and go on to score, cutting the lead to a field goal.
Finally (though it worked) he passes on third and 8 with two minutes left, though the Bucs have no timeouts. The Bucs probably would have had no more than a minute left if the Saints had run and then punted.
The Saints are tough, fast and athletic, but as long as Haslett is roaming the sideline making decisions, they have no chance in the postseason -- unless they play Tampa Bay, of course.
-- P. Michael Natale, Chicago