It's a great day for spring training baseball and we're sitting in Section 214 at the Charlotte Sports Park to see the rival Red Sox face the Tampa Bay Rays. During the game, we overhear the conversation of three Canadian gentlemen. My friend and I attended a French parochial school in the Northeast and could generally make out the gist of their conversation.
It went something like this: "It is a shame there isn't any baseball in Montreal." They were season ticket holders for the Montreal Expos and were saddened by their move to Washington, D.C. They asked if the rumor was true that the Rays were thinking of moving north of the border to Canada. We might have played devil's advocate and said yes. It would be a great move, Jacques said (he was the translator for the group). There are a million people who would support them.
Whether a move is true or just rumor, it is time for Rays fans to consider the possibility.
The Rays have a great team and not-so-great fans, evident by their lack of attendance at games, which averages about 16,000. What a disgrace!
It's also time for Rays fans to get real angry at themselves. Think about these Canadian gentlemen that would be in their glory with the Rays in Montreal.
Also the Red Sox have close to 800 consecutive sellouts at the quaint Fenway Park in Boston.
This letter is meant to relay how the game of baseball is missed in Montreal and also to bring a rise to so-called Rays fans that won't have a team when they move. Do something. Support your team or lose them!
Norbert Charette, Sarasota
Single ticket sales lacking
After reading how the Tampa Bay Rays are trying to get increased attendance for their games, I felt I must respond.
My wife has attended the opening day game for the past nine seasons. Last year she planned to purchase three tickets for herself and two friends. On the first day single tickets were available, she only was able to get one ticket in the TBT deck.
This year she went to Tropicana Field to purchase two tickets at 10 a.m. on the first day single-seat tickets were available. She was told there were no tickets available in the upper deck. Then she was told the only seats available were in the $65 range, which was out of her range. However, if she wanted to purchase a package, there were many selections in the upper deck.
If this is how they encourage increased attendance, I can see why many fans would be discouraged. Also, the bad image that the baseball media create about the Trop does not help.
Ken Hanson, St. Petersburg
Re: Toronto Blues Jays threaten to leave Dunedin
Let Blue Jays pay their own way
Here we go again with yet another major league sports team franchise. I can't believe that the Blue Jays say, "Jump" and our local and state officials ask, "How high?"
I'm fed up with my tax dollars being used for nothing but corporate welfare. If the Toronto Blue Jays want better spring training facilities and possibly a new stadium, let them pay for it themselves.
We are told about the great economic impact for our state and local communities, but I ask all Pinellas residents, has spring training baseball given you a raise at your job or decreased your homeowners insurance premiums and property taxes? I think not.
Here's a novel idea. Why don't Florida and local municipalities issue secured bonds to private investors as the way to raise this corporate sports franchise welfare and leave my taxes alone?
If this is the Blue Jays opening gambit/threat for a new stadium and contract renewal with Dunedin, then there should only be a one-word response from our elected officials: "Bye."
Joseph Rowe, Tarpon Springs
Let's shorten Pier, add a fountain
I am very proud to live in St. Petersburg with the many museums, art galleries, stadium, the Rays, fine hospitals and first-class schools for higher education. Our police, firefighters, and the maintenance of our parks and streets are all top notch.
The Pier is icing on the cake. Yes, it is time for an update, and the citizens should have the last say about what and how it is done. In my opinion, the Lens design would be a big mistake.
I have not seen anyone else suggest what I think would be a super idea. Shorten the Pier and build water art in the form of a fountain that shoots spurts, sprays, whirls and anything else to the limits of the imagination. Don't forget the colored light show in the evenings, and even music could be added.
I am disabled and don't get out much, but how I would love to wheel my chair to the seating area and feast my eyes on the beauty of the dancing water and roaming lights. It would attract visitors from around the world.
Yes, the cost would be a lot more than $50 million, but I am sure donations would flood in for the over costs and maintenance.
Charles Roush, St. Petersburg
Re: Art and engines on the waterfront
Race setup takes too long
I am glad St. Petersburg is the host to such a prestigious race as the Honda Grand Prix, but 45 days for setup is ridiculous. I was speechless when I read that the 45-day setup has been reduced from 90, as if to brag.
Walmarts can be built in 45 days. Look at any of the major convention halls in this country: The floor goes from completely clear to a plethora of advertising stands in under a week.
I have two suggestions for our race organizers/City Council on this subject.
The next time a Jehovah's Witness knocks on your door, invite them in. Ask them with pen and paper in hand how they manage to build a Kingdom Hall in a weekend.
Take some of that $50 million lying around waiting to be spent on the Lens and use it to hire a proper crew for the setup and tear down of the race course.
James Taylor, St. Petersburg
Re: Tampa Bay Championship golf tournament, Innisbrook resort
A geography lesson is in order
I was having a video chat with my son, Bob, a retired Navy commander who works at the base in Bremerton, Wash. He grew up in Clearwater — Belleair Elementary, Kennedy Junior High, Clearwater High, St. Pete Junior College and finished at the University of West Florida.
I mentioned the weather — very little sun — and he said he was well aware of that as he was watching the golf in St. Petersburg. Whoa, I said, that was Innisbrook in Palm Harbor, north of Clearwater.
This mistake by national announcers is similar to those Americans who, because of national media, think the Rays play in Tampa. Who do we call on to repair this image? There must be some group out there to re-educate the news media.
Doris Carroza, Clearwater
Re: Good news went unnoticed, letter by April Spikes, March 23
Media skipped breakfast
We have a holiday breakfast every year in December that benefits the St. Petersburg Free Clinic We Help Services. Our charity is called Patterson's Holiday Charity. We collected 1,313 rolls of bathroom tissue and more than 700 bars of soap in 2012.
We have invited our local TV stations. I've also called the Tampa Bay Times and was told there was no one to send. I've sent emails with no response.
Some of our 100 guests often ask us if we invite the media. We do invite them, but they have no interest in what we are doing.
I have to agree with April Spikes — when some of us are doing something positive for the community, no media will attend.
Thanks to the person at Neighborhood News Calendar@ TampaBay for letting us advertise our charity in your column.
Rose and Lee Patterson, St. Petersburg