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 fineand 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.
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 listenthey
will make it worth your cover charge.