© St. Petersburg Times, published November 5, 2000
People are amazing. For four weeks, I heard 20 times a day that Shaun King was a loser, Keyshawn Johnson a no-talent egomaniac and Tony Dungy a lousy coach.
Then, after a 41-13 win over Minnesota, I hear just about the same voices saying Shaun's a dandy, Key's a hero and Tony has coaching magic. The Bucs went from stinko to wonderful in three hours, right?
Thanks for your newspaper's balance. You media guys often get taunted for being overly critical. That's such bull. I'm a cover-to-cover daily reader of the Times and, although nobody should agree with everything you and Gary Shelton write, as well as Rick Stroud, Ernest Hooper and Roger Mills, your sports section's tone is without a doubt precisely what has been dictated by the way the Bucs have played.
Too many fans are just plain stupid. Balance among them is a hopeless goal. I am a former journalist and understand the unpopularity of trying to be evenhanded; refusing to be biased for a team that some newspaper reader happens to favor. I've been amazed and even amused for years at how well you straddle the line on the Gators and Seminoles.
Thanks to you, Gary, Rick, Ernest and Roger for a solid, consistent word on the Bucs. I know you may not hear readers say that, but there's a few of us out here who appreciate real professionalism like I see from no other Tampa Bay media outlet.
-- Catherine Kelly, Clearwater
Thanks. Deep thanks. We all do try.
To all of those La-Z-Boy quarterbacks, what do you have to say now? These Bucs are for real and if you don't believe, then maybe you need a reality check. Tampa Bay 41, Minnesota 13.
It's been interesting reading all the negative comments, especially about Keyshawn and Shaun. It just goes to show why coach Dungy is the coach.
-- Don A. Mott, via e-mail
Do you know Catherine Kelly?
It does me good to see the Subway Series get the lowest TV rating ever for a World Series. New Yorkers are so full of themselves.
Bud Selig, who seems such a wimp, had better lay his commissioner life on the line in demanding better balance. It's so unfair and sickening that two New York teams, with all their money advantages, are allowed to blow away less-populated areas.
Baseball has always been my love. I like going to the Trop and seeing the Rays. But I would like to think franchises like ours could get a fair break, like in the NFL where the financial imbalance is not so ridiculous.
-- Brett Curry, Palm Harbor
They desperately need an answer, but I'm not sure what would be viable and also have a chance to be approved by owners and the players union. Due to differing TV markets, the Yanks and Mets and teams from other whopper locales can have $20-million to $50-million more than the D-Rays, Brewers, Royals or Pirates. The NFL system will never be adopted by baseball. Equal shares of network TV dollars is easy in pro football, where every game is something of a national event.
Pay Spurrier and Bowden a million, 5-mil, 10-mil for whatever it takes to pay off these has-beens. Get rid of them. We have had presidents who have married off their daughters while in office, but I'm sick and tired of coaches who no longer fill the bill when Florida talent is picked up by other states. And while you're at it, get rid of John McKay!
-- Richard S. Lee, via e-mail
Wow! I get a lot of strange, even nonsensical messages, but you win the prize, Mr. Lee. John McKay? Do you mean the coach who left the Bucs in 1985? Spurrier? Bowden? Seems to me they're coaches of top-six teams. Presidents? What does that mean? By the way, General Lee, how are things at Appomattox Court House?
Take that 41-13 spanking of the Vikings and stick it up your critical nose. Lay off Shaun King. Keyshawn is obviously a major talent. If you can't say something good about our Bucs, just keep quiet.
-- Virgil Thomason, St. Petersburg
Can I give you Catherine's e-mail address?
Reach the mailbag
St. Petersburg Times
P.O. Box 1121
St. Petersburg, FL 33731
You can also e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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