© St. Petersburg Times,
published August 5, 2001
I have always been an admirer of Derrick Brooks, for his actions on the field and off. But I must admit that his holdout has been a great disappointment.
I have no problem with his trying to get a new contract, but in the meantime he should be with the team. A contract is a contract, both on his part as well as on the Bucs' part. Let's report, Derrick, and let your agent work out the details of the new contract.
-- Bob Herbst, Oldsmar
Do we call this a holdout or a showing of disappointment directed at Bucs management?
I believe the Bucs have taken advantage of negotiations and felt they could push this situation because of the character of Derrick Brooks. Maybe this is the only way to say, "Please listen, and don't procrastinate!" Remember Selmon and Gruber. I hope we can keep Brooks within our community.
-- Ray Schroeder, Safety Harbor
Quit playing the fool and tell us fans how we can short sell the Bucs in Vegas. Former Ray Fred McGriff said it wasn't the money, and Derrick Brooks said it isn't greed. I will tell you what it isn't: It isn't baseball or football. The only one taking a hit on the field is Bucs coach Tony Dungy and his talk about character. If it is going to be a wasted season, at least let the fans get a piece of the action.
-- Richard S. Lee, Largo
Now that the Rays have purged most of their high-earning players, picking up an estimated $11-million this year and next, the McHale-LaMar declared intention is to build a team around youthful enthusiasm that eventually will lure fans back to the Trop.
A quicker and more practical solution to cure fan absenteeism would be to use the newly recovered funds to cut ticket, parking, concessions and food prices. This would make a Rays game a viable entertainment choice for a fan-base family of four (mom, dad, 2.3 kids). Few families in the Tampa Bay area can afford the $140-$150 toll for four reasonably located seats, parking, travel expenses, eats and souvenirs.
Why not start building a fan base while building a team?
-- Carl Hieter, Clearwater
Public sentiment surrounding the Rays appears to have deteriorated from anger to apathy now that football season is near. Thankfully, management is almost done with the sorry-looking but necessary process of minimizing the damage of earlier sins (any takers for Greg Vaughn?).
Maybe my 9-year-old son and I are crazy, but we are now (perversely) more interested than ever. The seeds of a turnaround are being sown -- Jason Tyner, Toby Hall, Steve Cox, Joe Kennedy, the middle relief, etc. Moreover, the "kids" hustle, have upside potential and seem happy to be here. As a family experience you can't beat it. I can watch a game with my two sons for about $20. Who knows, maybe the team can even make some money with a $25-million payroll and win 80-85 games.
-- John Ransom, Tampa
Darrell Fry's commentary regarding Anna Kournikova (Didn't she once play tennis?, July 28) was, in my opinion, a particularly shallow and unprofessional attempt at relevant sports journalism.
I am not a tennis player, nor do I follow the sport with any passion. However, I do enjoy watching matches on occasion. Kournikova has been ranked among the world's top female tennis players in recent years, and in your own words, "She would push tennis' top players to their limits." Coincidental with her demanding professional tennis schedule, she has developed an obviously outstanding career opportunity in modeling and product endorsements. I don't recall hearing that she was disrespectful or behaved inappropriately in public, and she only recently turned 20 years old.
I am impressed with what she has accomplished. I look forward to her return to competitive tennis. That is where the interesting story lies, not in the bitter and disrespectful story you wrote.
-- Jim Baker, Via e-mail
Another Earnhardt fan seems to be taking a shot at Jeff Gordon (Reader views, July 29). To date, Jeff turned 30 on Saturday and has 55 career race victories and three Winston Cup championships and shares a modern-day record with Richard Petty of 13 victories in a season. These accomplishments are more than any other active Winston Cup driver. I think Jeff Gordon has earned a little respect for what he has accomplished and for being a positive representative of his sport. No driver will ever replace "The Man," but I can't think of any other driver better than Jeff Gordon to be "the face of NASCAR" today.
-- Michael Morris, via e-mail
Reading the headline (Spearfishing: Ready, dive, fire!, July 29) and seeing Chad Carney's grin as he holds his kill, a 115-pound black grouper, reminds me of the big-game hunters who decimated and virtually eliminated marvelous creatures of nature. The crass headline and the killing of sea life, which managed to survive the wilds of the deep to reach glorious maturity only to be shot by man and his advanced technology, is a sham and a shameful act. If you were really in harmony with nature, you would dive for the sheer pleasure of diving, but not to turn yourself into a killing machine.
-- Peter Richard, Clearwater
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