[This open letter is addressed to Mr. Scott Peterson, sports editor of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
Dear Mr. Peterson:
It's apparent that your sports pages no longer provide space for a bowling columnist or for weekly local bowling league reports, so do you have any logical answers -- or any answers at all -- to the following questions?
* Do you not like or respect the game of bowling?
* Do you feel that bowling doesn't deserve media attention? Or is there simply not enough space in your sports section to devote to bowling?
* What was your rationale when you reduced the number of bowling columns from weekly to biweekly, before eliminating coverage altogether?
* Do you feel that paying a bowling columnist is a waste of money? Or do budget constraints prevent you from being able to afford paying a bowling writer, even though you seem able to pay for locally written golf and tennis columns on a regular basis?
* Do you feel that there is no longer sufficient interest in the game of bowling to warrant coverage of the sport? Or do you feel that bowling is a dying sport no longer worthy of coverage?
* Is there a chance that you felt emboldened by your elimination of bowling coverage because no bowlers or bowling fans ever contact you to complain about lack of bowling space in the newspaper? Or by any chance, were there requests from any area bowlers to discontinue coverage of the sport?
* Did you think that any or all of the bowling writers under your tenure -- Michelle Keane, Alan Dell, Bill Herald and Jason Swancey -- weren't "up to snuff" in their job performance?
* Was it solely your decision, or did the higher-ups at the Herald-Tribune suggest or request that you terminate your bowling writers and/or eliminate bowling coverage altogether?
* In elimination of bowling coverage, were you just, in essence, playing "follow the leader"? When all other area newspapers, one by one, eliminated their bowling writers and columnists, did you feel that you should follow suit?
* Do you consider golf -- on local, state and national levels -- to be more newsworthy and deserving of newspaper space than bowling?
* Why do you continue to publish local golf scores on a near-daily basis, more than two years after you eliminated local league bowling scores from the newspaper? Or can't you find a sports staffer willing to enter bowling league reports into the H-T computer system for publication?
* Do you realize that since you made a decision to eliminate local bowling coverage, the H-T has published 2,279 column inches of local golf scores?
* Do you feel that a golfer who is a member of a third-place foursome in a local best-ball or scramble is more deserving of newspaper mention than a local bowler who rolls a perfect game, an 800 series or one of many other significant bowling accomplishments?
Do you care to respond to any or all of the above questions, or will you simply ignore them, just as you have come to ignore the Sarasota-Manatee-Charlotte County bowling community?
[EDITOR'S NOTE: Even though the Sarasota Herald-Tribune has joined all other area newspapers in elimination of local bowling news, the sport is still covered in full via regular reports on Examiner.com. To subscribe to the Examiner.com columns -- free of charge -- simply click on "subscribe" near the top of the article, and you will receive e-mail notification each time a new item is published].