Tampa Bay has one of the biggest sports markets. True Tampanian fans are die-hard. We have to be. Our teams are noted for stinking or trying really hard, but never quite being able to make it. Our teams all have that one really good and repsected player. Ronde Barber, David Price, Steven Stamkos.
All three major teams have made it to the finals of their sport. It it’s entire franchise existence, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers made it to the Superbowl once. That was in 2002 and they brought home the Lombardi trophy. The Rays made it to the World Series in 2008, however they fell to the Philadelphia Phillies. The Lightning won the Stanley Cup in 2004.
The Rowdies are awesome, er… excuse me… FC Tampa Bay. (They’ll always be the Rowdies to me.) We have no NBA in Tampa, but the Orlando Magic are only an hour away. The athletics program at USF struggles, but we stand behind our Bulls and cheer them on anyway.
It’s not baseball season. There is no hockey. Most of our football games are blacked out. Those of us who spend our money for Lightning season tickets (for nothing this year) can’t afford or don’t want to spend our money on ridiculously priced Buccaneers tickets. Don’t get me wrong, I would if I could.
Bucs games are so much fun and Raymond James is with out a doubt the nicest NFL stadium there is. Who else has a giant pirate ship with loud firing cannons? Still, no cannons can compare to the huge pipe organ and live lightning bolts that are experienced at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Though the team hates Tropicana Field, it has it’s qualities. My only beef with the Trop is the fact that the Rays are a Tampa team, yet they play in St. Petersburg. The lady on Bay News 9 called them ‘The St. Pete Rays’ the other day. I resisted the urge to throw a couch pillow at the TV.
We have no AHL teams close enough to see. There is the brand new Solar Bears of the ECHL in Orlando, just an hour’s drive to the Amway Center. The Lightning’s ECHL affiliate, the Florida Everblades, is a several hour drive south. They play near the Litter Box.
In short, if you are a Tampa bound Tampa fan, you’re screwed. But we hold our heads high, ignore the mocking insults, and wear our jerseys with pride.