published Monday, September 5th, 2011

Letters to the Editor

AT&T Field inferior to Engel

As a former member of Joe Engel's Knothole Gang, permit me to offer a dissenting voice to the recent puff piece by David Paschall (Sept. 1, front page) concerning the imminent departure of Frank Burke as owner of the Chattanooga Lookouts.

It should not be forgotten that Mr. Burke voluntarily closed Engel Stadium, one of the true gems of baseball history and architecture, to construct a glorified softball field atop a vertiginous hill with little parking and few amenities.

How fitting that AT&T Field, one of the ugliest structures this side of Communist-era Eastern Europe, bears a regularly revolving corporate name. It is a true monument to Republican greed and shortsightedness.

Like Finley Stadium, AT&T Field is an unlovely jerrybuilt structure with no sense of history and no organic connection to the community. It is inferior to Engel Stadium in every way, from the cheap plastic benches in the stands to the constant stream of freeway traffic in fans' sight lines. Watching a game there, one always runs the risk of highway hypnosis.

I, for one, will not be sad to see Mr. Burke go. And as a lifelong Yankees fan, I can only hope he takes those hideous Dodger uniforms with him.

ROY MORRIS JR.

* * * * *

Hospital problems were cleared up

In response to the recent column concerning the closing of Walter Reed Hospital, yes the hospital had unsanitary conditions at "Building 18," which was once a motel, then converted to a long-term outpatient facility, but after congressional hearings in early 2007, the unit was cleaned up.

Walter Reed and Bethesda Naval have merged to form a Military Medical Center, hence the closing of Walter Reed which was an Army hospital, not a Veterans Affairs (VA Hospital). The new Walter Reed National Military Medical Center has 153 suites. These are wheelchair accessible, have kitchens, Internet, flat screen TV's. This facility also has a fitness center and a dining hall.

The VA claims system is slowly getting better, but there is still plenty of room for improvement. One must remember you are dealing with a bureaucracy which means it is as "slow as smoke off of fresh dung."

So much for fear.

LAWRENCE SHELL, Ringgold, Ga.

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