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Pass the sunglasses

Join Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.

David from Tuscaloosa, AL:
Any thoughts on George Steinbrenner's legacy?

Vic: He was the best thing that ever happened to the players, in all sports. He's the reason players make the kind of money they do; he was the champion of free agency. Prior to Steinbrenner, baseball players were little more than "slaves." I can remember when Roberto Clemente became the game's third six-figure player. He was coming off an National League MVP season in 1966. Imagine getting away with paying a talent such as Clemente a mere $100,000. I think Willie Mays and Sandy Koufax were the other two six-figure guys, but I'm doing that strictly from memory. Nine years later, Steinbrenner began the salary explosion with the Jim "Catfish" Hunter deal, and salaries haven't stopped skyrocketing since. Branch Rickey once told Ralph Kiner, as Rickey held firm in contract negotiations with Kiner: "I finished last with you, I can finish last without you." That was the prevailing attitude of ownership prior to Steinbrenner. He changed that attitude and opened the salary floodgates. Good for the players? Sure. Good for the fans? No. As salaries increased, so did the price of tickets. On a personal note, I remember staying in a hotel in Tampa that Steinbrenner owned. When I walked into my room, I was greeted by a basket full of various intoxicants and suggested mixers. Immediately I thought I was in the wrong room. When I walked back out into the hallway, several other sportswriters were standing there thinking they, too, were in the wrong room. Steinbrenner knew how to ply the media.

Andy from Saint Johns, FL:
Where does JoePa rank on your list of all-time greatest living coaches?

Vic: He's right there with Bobby Bowden and Ara Parseghian. Parseghian has become a forgotten man, because he retired so early in his career. What he did at Notre Dame, however, was extraordinary. He resurrected the Notre Dame football program and he did it very quickly. His two national titles should've been three; Notre Dame was cheated out of one by a homer officiating crew at USC in the final game of the 1964 season, his first at Notre Dame. That's how quickly he turned it around. He left a loaded program for Dan Devine, who quickly won a national title.

Bobby from Jacksonville:
I was wondering if you had any figures about how many people bought tickets on game day. It always seems like there are huge lines at the box office and I was curious if it ranged into the thousands. Does it vary widely with the opponent?

Vic: It's not that high, but it's more than it is in other cities for the simple reason that the Jaguars had seven blackouts last year. Game-day sales are exactly what you don't want. If you're selling tickets on the day of the game, then you're also blacking it out to local TV. We absolutely must avoid game-day ticket sales this season.

Danny from Fernandina Beach, FL:
I was at the training camp the day the fire truck pulled up. I remember saying to myself, "That's really cool." I got a great shot. I've made copies for you, Brian and Jeff. I was in your very first "Ask Vic." I also listen to every "Jaguars This Week" and I'm a season-ticket holder and have been for a long time.

Vic: If the Jaguars had 67,164 fans just like you, everything would be fine.

Kenneth from St. Augustine, FL:
What do you think about chanting Duuuuuuvaaaaaal, Duuuuuuvaaaaaal instead Deeeeefense? Everyone on the team says it all the time. Kirk Morrison wants us to say it after he makes a jaw-breaking hit or great play. Let's just take it a little further. I think it's a great idea. What do you think, Vic?

Vic: Duval? I don't get it. I've never heard them chant Cuyahoga in Cleveland. What's with the county name thing? What if you're a Jaguars fan that lives in St. Johns, as you do? Hey, if it catches on, go ahead and do it, but I just don't get it. In my opinion, this one is as lame as the "Cage of Rage." I never saw a cage and I never saw any rage.

Aaron from Carbondale, IL:
I'd like to hear your thoughts on Lebron.

Vic: I don't follow the NBA, so it wasn't a big deal for me, but I was somewhat disappointed that he decided to leave Cleveland. The bottom line is that he was going to get his money no matter where he played, but the story would've been a lot better had he stayed in Cleveland. As it stands now, he's just another great athlete playing in another trendy town; pass the sunglasses. In Cleveland, he could've been the town's savior, its champion. He would've been the hometown kid who picked the town up, put it on his back and carried it back to glory. He would've been immortal. Places would've borne his name. A generation of children would've been named for him. It would've been a legendary sports story. That's all gone now.

Billy from Jacksonville:
I have been a Jags season ticketholder since day one and I was just wondering how many blackouts we've had in our history. It seems like prior to the 2009 season we had sporadic blackouts. No doubt 2009 was an embarrassment and a disaster but that followed a season that we sold out every game and were supposed to be contenders. I would just like to know, prior to the 2009 season, how we compared to some other teams, like the Dolphins, Rams, Lions, Falcons, etc. It just seems like the national media is basing everything on one season, but what should I expect from the I-want-it-now generation?

Vic: I don't have blackout stats for every team in the league. I can tell you the Jaguars media guide says the Jaguars have had 25 blackouts in their history. That includes seven from last season. Again, I think we need to look past the stats because they never tell the whole story. Those 25 blackouts are all since 2001. There were no blackouts prior to that season, even though there were plenty of games for which all of the general-bowl seats were not sold. I think we all know Wayne Weaver has been very generous in providing his games for local TV. Let's also not forget about the Winn-Dixie ticket promotion in 2002 that helped the team avoid several blackouts. Forget about those other towns. Pointing the finger at them isn't going to help us fix our problem.

Adam from Orange Park, FL:
A buddy of mine and myself have been trying to get on "Ask Vic" for a really long time now. He was on "Ask Kirk" while you were gone and says that counts and he is up, 1-0. I told him it doesn't count because it's not Vic. Will you settle this for us?

Vic: "Ask Kirk" does not count, which means you now hold a 1-0 lead.

Daniel from Detroit, MI:
If Garrard can post an 11-5 record this season (I know that is a bit optimistic), do the Jaguars still draft the quarterback of the future next spring?

Vic: I expect the Jaguars will draft a quarterback next spring, regardless of what happens this season. The quarterback crop will be too deep not to expect one to fit at the Jaguars pick at some point in the draft, and the Jaguars are long overdue to draft a quarterback. They haven't drafted one since Byron Leftwich in 2003 and that's far too long to ignore that position.

Ed from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
How come Kirk Morrison did not get any anger questions? Is it because he can bench press more weight than you? Hope you had a good vacation.

Vic: Talk about soft? Oh, Kirk, I'm your biggest fan. Do you think we're the best fans in the league? Will you wave at us when we cheer for you? What advice do you have for someone who wants to be just like you? Do the other players like us, too? Yuk!

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