Game On…with Rob Kriete! – JULY 21

Lately, my friends have been asking me what is in the water in Tampa Bay. I am blessed with a great number of friendships made through my almost fifty years on Earth; many of these characters reside throughout the country, and some span the globe. Nowadays, when I chat with members of my merry-band-of-knuckleheads, they ask about Champa Bay.

With a dented Stanley Cup and a Super Bowl trophy almost tossed to a watery grave, Tampa Bay has made quite a statement in the sports world the past year. The river parades are now as legendary as Gasparilla in Tampa. Heck, the Lightning won the Stanley Cup twice in less than 12 months! (Remember this for trivia night, kids!) In addition, the Bucs won the Super Bowl and played in their home stadium while the Rays, with one of the best organizational strategies in MLB, made it to the World Series.

Despite the spectacular success of the Tampa Bay teams, almost all of the victories for these franchises took place with less than full, sometimes non-existent, crowds. Unfortunately, the economic impact of these championships and successes has not accompanied the trophies due to the pandemic. Even hosting the Super Bowl, a veritable boon for local economies, Tampa had to settle for a scaled-down event the NFL has never been forced to produce.

Tampa Bay has been trying to find a way to keep their beloved Rays baseball team. I can’t help but wonder if the combined successes of the local teams would have made it easier to make a deal for a logical stadium and infrastructure for the Rays, if the monetary effects would have followed the wins. Bottom line, the Tampa Bay area lost out on more revenue than can be measured as these victories occurred during a pandemic. It is quite possible they may lose their local baseball team as well.

So, when my cronies asked me about the water in Tampa Bay, I talked about the Red Tide and how we must do something about it. Yikes!

But, truly, as great as the Stanley Cup(s), Super Bowl trophy, and American League Championships are and were, I sure wish the king’s coffers came with it for my beloved Champa Bay. Perhaps those lost revenues could have found a way to make the Rays a permanent tenant of the town or even spent to clean up the phosphate-created Red Tide that wreaks havoc on our marine life, beaches, and economies. Perhaps.

Be safe, everyone.