Attention Sovereigns

Your latest (Dec. 11) editorial supporting a new baseball stadium ["Stepping Up to the Plate for Baseball" by Joe Sullivan, Vol. 7, No. 49] prompted me to offer these six reasons why the sovereigns of Knoxopolis should not spend money on a new stadium.

1. The urge to be like a "big city" is the motive for courting the Smokies, but relying on professional sports for public image is an old, ineffective game. Why don't we seek to be able to brag about having great public schools, an empowering transit system, healthy people, and low crime? Baseball teams would pay us to play here.

2. Who needs minor league baseball? Big cities would give their beltways for a football program as successful as UT's; 106,000 fans in attendance is astounding. We've got the country's premier women's basketball program. This tremendously boosts our area's image, connecting us with higher education rather than with a team owner's pockets. UT is a cornucopia of sports no pro team can match. And none of those teams are likely to leave if the city doesn't build them a new stadium.

3. It is possible that the presence of the Smokies might sway some sports-mad executive to locate a company in Knoxville, and that would be good. But the team is not the only for-profit business with potential to add to the area's economy. We don't give the hotels, restaurants, shops, gas stations, and attractions that feed the tourist trade a subsidy. Why are the Turkey Creek entrepreneurs and Smokies the only pros in town worthy of big-bucks from the taxpayers? They should be at the end of our priority list.

4. Bill Meyer Stadium is old but fine—and in a part of town where its economic impact is needed. Everything works: the corridors and bathrooms, the concession stands, the gravel parking lots, the field, the team. Why not preserve it and be proud of having an old-style stadium? We can add state-of-the-sport locker rooms and a big screen video scoreboard. If the Smokies don't want it, work with other teams; convert it for other sports; create a public sports/civic center complex (to be used year round) in an area that needs development and recreation; and only if it has to go should we tear it down.

5. Abandoning Bill Meyer Stadium is like wrecker-balling the Tennessee Theater to put up a multi-plex on Lovell Road. If the objective is to kill downtown, then by all means, break ground out West for the Smokies.

6. This whole affair is commanding an inordinate amount of attention at the expense of more important issues.

Richard Wall

Hats Off

On a few occasions I have picked up the Metro Pulse to pass the time while waiting in an office or for some other appointment. It just so happened that one of those occasions landed my nose in the November 20-27 Vol. 7, No. 46, issue "Over Dreve" article. I frequent many of the local shows and I have seen Dreve perform many times. In a town where the local music scene is not well supported, Dreve packs one heck of a crowd and there is a good reason. In the words of Tony the Tiger, "They're great"

I'm glad to know that at least one Knoxville publication is supportive of local music. My hat's off to Metro Pulse. And my hat's off to Dreve as well. I've never seen a band with as much talent in the Knoxville area. If any band in the area is deserving of a recording contract, Dreve would definitely have to be the one. So if you have ever battled with the thought of giving the Knoxville music scene a try, give this band a listen—they will make it worth your cover charge.

Chris Townsend