Swingin' for the outfield seats

Huge props to Saturday's Trib for comparing the D-Rays' changing ownership to that of the Lightning almost seven years ago. It's the same thing as before: a new owner with deeper pockets comes in to put more money into players, facilities, etc.

Millions of dollars later, the Bolts claim a championship (2004 Stanley Cup), putting them in the same standing as the Bucs (Super Bowl XXXVII) and even the Storm (not one, not two, but five ArenaBowls).

Now it's the Rays' turn. Whether Sternberg & Co. have enough millions and patience to wait for a championship someday remains to be seen, or even if the new colors inside that barn known as Tropicana Field inspire new hustle by the players. Getting rid of those goofy leaves on the outfield walls is enough to make me want to run the bases again.

No matter what happens this season, it's still better than the old order, led by a humorless boss who evidently treated police as badly as he treated fans.

Hope springs eternal on Opening Day. Who's willing to give Tampa Bay baseball one more chance?

Shoot first and ask questions never

A while back I noted the story about the first known use of the so-called "Shoot First" defense by a tow truck driver here in Tampa. You might remember both sides of the conversation about the law were inundated with hyperbole. Prosecutors argued the law would trigger an "avalanche of killings" on Florida streets, while the NRA claimed the law would eliminate crime as we know it. The end result has been far less dramatic.

Times published a commentary leading me to an Orlando Sentinel story about the 13 people currently using the defense. After reading both papers, it seems most folks still hold life in some respect, and those of us wearing our underwear outside our pants still aren't considering the consequences of attacking (possibly armed) strangers in the street.

"I know I had the right, but I didn't want to live with having killed someone," said [Walt] Plath, who first retreated after being attacked. (video link)

Both the story and the opinion indicate that law enforcement agencies statewide are developing standardized ways to determine when the law should properly be applied. At the same time, those agencies are also attempting to determine when the "shoot first" defense is simply an attempt to evade prosecution for murder. Either way, four months after the first use of the defense, not much has changed here in the streets.