Nationals-Rays switch would benefit baseball

If baseball wants to increase attendance, it should create more division rivalries based on proximity. To this end, it should switch the Washington and Tampa Bay teams, moving the Nationals to the American League East, where they belong, and the Devil Rays to the National League East, where they would form a natural division rivalry with the Florida Marlins.

Think of the American League East, with New York, Boston, the Orioles, Toronto and Washington, as natural a dogfight as one could imagine.

This move also would increase the value of both the Orioles and the Nationals, without hurting anyone. These teams are close enough that fans could attend games in division rival cities, bolstering attendance in both, and setting the stage for newsworthy and profitable fights and rioting.

The issue of Washington vs. Baltimore could be fought out in the stands and on the field, instead of local bars, and should help Orioles owner Peter Angelos get over his hissy fit regarding a team in D.C.

Washington fans would certainly drive to Baltimore to pay for the right to boo him and the Orioles, while at the same time rooting for the Nats.

The shorter distances thus created might even reduce team travel costs a bit, and sponsors, beer brewers, and TV would love the conflict among fans. Imagine the in-your-face T-shirts that could be sold to those attending rival team parks.

So, switch Washington and Tampa Bay, stimulate fan interest, and make money.

What more could the owners want?

Nick Wright Montgomery Village

Don't turn anthem into a rock music song

How sad! How depressing! How insulting!

The presentations of our national anthem at Orioles games are a travesty. It is not meant to be presented or interpreted as rock music, for example.

The presenters should sing this wonderful tribute as it was written. After all, our anthem was penned right here in Baltimore.

Let's honor and respect it.

Polly S. Patzer Baltimore

O's manager Mazzilli owes umps apology

Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli has in the past been reluctant to question with any vigor umpires' calls, but when he made his first major conflict Sunday, he was as wrong as two left shoes.

Two respected umpires called the ball foul off the bat of Chris Gomez. All the replays clearly showed it was foul and that the umps had it correct.

Now that Mazzilli has had the opportunity to review the replays, he should make a public apology to the umpires.

L.F. Ruhe Columbia

Pinehurst poor choice by USGA for Open

The U.S. Golf Association ought to be ashamed of its course selection for the U.S. Open last week. Pinehurst No. 2 stinks.

Approach shots would pitch and roll off the green, putts were left short so they wouldn't roll off the green, and sand shots would roll into a sand trap on the other side of the green.

In the fourth round the last two golfers, who were the best in the tournament up to that point, shot a combined 25 strokes over par.

If the USGA thinks Pinehurst No. 2 is the way golf should be played, next year I'll probably watch celebrity poker. At least the cards stay on the table.

George L. Darley Glen Burnie

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