For Tampa Bay Rays fans, these are the golden days, when you can go to the ballpark and see your heroes do amazing things. We see rookies who we had never heard of in April hit balls over the outfield wall. We see players discarded by other teams resuscitated into stars who hit in the clutch and win improbable ballgames. Rarely have I had so much fun watching the hometown Rays under the brilliant leadership of Kevin Cash.
I have a season ticket. Ray Arsenault, esteemed USF professor, and I sit next to each other in Section 205, and every game we look out onto the beautiful vista that is the Trop and we pinch ourselves how lucky we are to be able to watch major league baseball in this little southern town we love so much.
If there is a low note in this sea of wonderment, it is that no one comes to the games anymore. Except for contests against the Yankees and the Red Sox, when the Trop fills with the exuberant enemy, the Trop is like a morgue. Where is everyone? From what I've been told, they are home in large numbers watching the games on their 50-inch TVs. The spectacular Rays players deserve support, and they are not getting it. If you don't want the team to move, it is incumbent upon you to attend just one game a month. If each Rays fan sitting at home watching TV would show up for just one game a month, attendance would be high enough that Rays owner Stu Sternberg could stop singing the attendance blues. Do the math. You'll understand what I am saying. The clock is ticking, Rays fans. Don't give Sternberg reason to leave us. Ask any St. Louis Browns or Brooklyn Dodger fan. Or the Montreal Expo fans, if you're younger. The heartbreak is awful.
Peter Golenbock, St. Petersburg
The writer is the author of 10 New York Times best-sellers including "The Bronx Zoo" (with Sparky Lyle) and "Balls" (with Graig Nettles).
Everybody loses with Cuba travel ban | Editorial notebook, June 9
Ban hurts, doesn't help
I agree with John Hill's editorial notebook on how the Cuban sanctions will not benefit anyone. Like him, I also visited Cuba two years ago and found the poor people there clearly benefiting from U.S. tourism from the small shops selling art, the taxi drivers, the university professor-turned-tour-guide or the waiters at the busy restaurants. Our interactions with them just showed us how desperately they want to improve their lives but also how warm and charming they are under such deplorable conditions. Sen. Rick Scott posted that he was glad that the Trump administration finally imposed the sanctions. He said that Cuba was a supporter of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and was sending money there. What money? Due to sanctions, all they can do is trade doctors for oil with them. Cuba does not have the resources to be a "destabilizing role in the Western hemisphere." You would think that our two senators, representing such a vast Hispanic population, would do the right thing to help the Cuban people through economic prosperity.
Peter Hough, Palm Harbor
Don't tell me what to do
The Trump administration's recent crackdown on travel to Cuba is a polarizing issue especially for someone — like myself — born in Cuba but so proud and grateful to be an American citizen. As someone who has witnessed the hardships of exiles as well as Cuban citizens who are continually oppressed by a communist state, I am well in favor of the embargo in order to not continually empower the regime to spread its ideology through the Americas and to suppress freedom in my native country. As an American citizen, I am not in favor of the government suppressing my right to travel wherever I want. The government can simply tell me, "You go there at your own risk." Then I can choose what I want to do. There are many legal avenues I can use to help any of my family members in need when they request something from me — mostly money and medicine. What I refuse to accept is the opinions of apologists for the Cuban government who blame the ills in Cuba on American policy. Although I am a social liberal, I am a Republican because I am a fiscal conservative who believes in less government in my life. But my GOP needs to learn that you cannot preach less government and at the same time legislate behavior and basic freedoms. Don't tell us whom we can marry or where we can travel.
Simon Canasi, Tampa
A dangerous 'conscience rule' | Column, June 10
Honor my clear wishes
I have a type of cancer that can end in an extremely difficult death process. The thought of having to go through the pain and suffering that goes with dying is terrifying. By having a living will, where my wishes have been extensively documented, as well as long discussions with my husband about what I want, I was able to come to peace with dying.
Every time I have been admitted to a hospital I have been asked if I have a living will. What is the point of asking this if they are going to refuse to honor it? As an atheist, I do support the right of someone to be able to die on their own terms but that's not even what we are talking about here. As stated in the living will form provided by the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, I can make known my desire "that my dying not be artificially prolonged" under the circumstances I choose, and I want to be allowed to die naturally. But this new "conscience rule" allows anyone at the hospital to object to my wishes because their religion forbids it.
This rule applies to many situations far less dramatic than dying. Why do a few extremists get to control the lives of people not part of their belief system? Should a child who is raped and becomes pregnant be forced to endure a pregnancy because a doctor refuses to perform an abortion and refuses to refer her to a doctor who will?
Your freedom of religion does not pre-empt my freedom of religion or my freedom from religion. If you work in a publicly funded facility, or work in or own a business that is open to the public, you do not have the right to control a customer's life.
Judy Adkins, Tampa