Tampa Bay Rays
Ownership is not up to the task
What the Tampa Bay Rays need, more than a new stadium and more than new players, is a new set of owners. The present group is obviously out of its league. Major League Baseball is an expensive game, as everyone knows. Competing in the American League East Division is the most expensive of all. If the present owners only have $160 million to put toward a new stadium, estimated to cost more than $600 million, then they can’t afford to play. If the present owners are only able to pay $50 million for player payroll in a division where the next lowest payroll is three times that amount, then they can’t afford to play.
Present ownership should accurately and transparently evaluate their financial capacity to operate the Rays, and if they’re not up to it they should sell. If the new owners determine the Tampa Bay market is unable to support the team at the level they deem appropriate, they should move the team to a location they feel will provide that support. Such is business, and there’s no need to pretend this is anything but.
William Arnold, St. Petersburg
CDC officials get a list of the 7 words they can’t use | Dec. 17
Don’t let science be silenced
I was shocked and dismayed to hear that our presidential administration has advised the Centers for Disease Control that certain words/terms are forbidden in preparing their 2019 budget. As a physician myself, I know it is vital to the mission of caring for Americans that politics not be a part of medical research, policy or allocation of funding.
If terms such as "fetal," "transgender," "diversity," "vulnerable" and "entitlement" cannot be used in preparation for how the CDC budget will be prepared, it is inevitable that some areas of need will be left out of the process.
It is unfathomable that medical scientists are being told to avoid the terms "evidence-based" and "science-based." I fully expect Congress to investigate and put a stop to this move on the part of the current administration. Do not let this be another step toward silencing scientists and doctors. Rep. Dennis A. Ross, Sen. Marco Rubio and Sen. Bill Nelson must take immediate action.
Richard A. Dudrak II, M.D., Lakeland
Police: Paranoid man shot woman | Dec. 23
A child or not?
I would like to offer my deepest condolences to the man who lost his wife and unborn child in a recent shooting. I, as well as most Americans, have never (and hopefully will never) experience such a tragedy. I have my opinion as to what should happen to the person who did this heinous act, but that is for another letter.
I am confused, however. The shooter is charged with two murders — the pregnant to-be mother and the fetus. If the mother had decided to have an abortion, even if the father had objected, the fetus would have been considered as nothing more than tissue that could not have lived outside the mother’s womb. Since the mother died from a gunshot wound, the law now considers it an unborn child.
How can it be both?
Tom Craig, Riverview
Probability problems | Dec. 27, commentary
Look behind the numbers
As a fire insurance underwriter trainee many years ago, I learned about the law of large numbers. This says that the larger the sample size the more accurate a prediction is likely to be. If we had fire insurance policies on X structures, we knew with a high degree of certainty that in the life of the policy Y would burn to the ground, Z would be partially lost and Q would be untouched.
The problem was that this did not tell us which would be Y or Z, and that’s what people like me worked to predict. We looked at a lot factors such as nearest fire hydrant, quality of the nearest fire department, loss records, financial records, etc.
In other words, we knew with a great accuracy what the probabilities were, but the secrets were in the stories, just as David Leonhardt related. In business, gambling or politics we can massage the statistics all we want, but in the end it is the stories that have meaning.
A classic statement from years ago: "The government (is) very fond of statistics. They add them, multiply them, find the square roots, but in the end it is the night watchman who puts down whatever he damn well pleases."
Be wary of the statistics; look deep for the stories.
G.B. Leatherwood, Spring Hill
Vigilance on pollution law suffers | Dec. 27, editorial
Trump’s focus on himself
I thoroughly enjoyed the Times editorial that clearly documented President Donald Trump’s non-concern for climate change and our natural environment.
My last 40 years of employment included teaching graduate courses in mental health counseling and a part-time private practice as a licensed psychologist.
As I have observed Trump over this past year, he has readily demonstrated the thinking and behaviors consistent with those of a self-centered narcissist. To wit, his primary and at times exclusive attention has been focused on himself and his wealth. People pay attention to, and attend to, things that are important to them.
That said, it simply would be out of character for him to pay attention to anything else — unfortunately including climate change and our natural environment.
William Emener, St. Pete Beach
Unveiling of Pier art plan delayed again Dec. 27
City has other priorities
My wife and I are truly disgusted that our mayor and City Council are planning on spending over $1 million on an unnecessary piece of hanging art for the Pier when we still have homeless hungry adults and children who could certainly use help instead of wastefully spending taxpayer dollars on art.
Our city leaders should get their priorities in order.
Van Williams, St. Petersburg