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Rays' LaMar must go

Published December 21, 2003

Since the inception of the Devil Rays there have been two constants for the franchise: mediocrity and Chuck LaMar. Each season LaMar shows his judgment of talent is less than stellar. Each season his sub 70-win teams earn him another year under contract.

Why is the worst executive in major-league baseball allowed to continue his free rein of ridiculousness? Why hasn't LaMar been held accountable for the Rays never winning 70 games? For never placing outside of the cellar in the American League East? For poor signings, poor scouting, bad judgment, poor personnel moves? Please don't feed me the "just look at who he is competing with in the American League East" logic. If the last few years have shown baseball fans anything, it's that a good judge of talent and some key signings of players who aren't necessarily superstars can put a team in contention.

The only thing LaMar's decisions have led to is more futility, more ridiculousness and a further shroud of dread that follows the Devil Rays wherever they go. It's high time LaMar and his front-office staff were finally held accountable for the mediocrity that is continually shown on field, and thus shown the door.

-- John Fontana, Palm Harbor

Although the recent acquisitions will help the Devil Rays progress, the team is still in need of at least one quality starter who can post 10 to 15 wins. Unlike other teams, there is no one on the pitching staff who can be counted on to put up double-digit victories.

-- Danny Di Nicolantonio, St. Petersburg

End these celebrations

Re: John Romano column (Priorities a little inconsistent for commissioner Tagliabue, Dec. 18), I follow sports pretty well, but I didn't hear about Matt Millen or Mike Barrow. I guess the sports writers were offended. But I see these NFL clowns doing their stupid celebrations and dances every Sunday. It doesn't matter if they are three touchdowns down, they still have to perform. When I played ball we called these actions bush. I remember when Mickey Mantle hit a home run, he'd put his head down and run around the bases. We will never see an athlete do that again. One of the reasons is because writers like Romano, who never played a game in their life, are more interested in social justice than sports. Why doesn't he move to the editorial page?

-- Richard Petruso, Holiday

Graham obituary a letdown

It is too bad that your limited obituary on Otto Graham (Known simply as a winner, Thursday) failed to mention his distinguished 20-plus-year career as coach and athletic director at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. In light of the fact the Graham family makes its home in the bay area, you could have done better than running a watered-down Associated Press report.

-- C.K. Levine, Clearwater

No maidens a good thing

Tampa Bay Downs has opened its winter season, and when I read the opening-day entries I couldn't believe my eyes. Not one maiden race on the card. That's a first, and thank heavens. In recent years we've been fed maiden races (with their miserable first-time starters) up to our ears. If the track's opening-day program is an indication of what we can expect this season, I say,"Hallelujah."

-- Allan Lilly, Largo

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