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Fan fulfills her promise with Bucs paint job

By CURTIS KRUEGER, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 23, 2003

In a moment of football passion during the 1999 NFC Championship Game, Sandy Albanese blurted out to her friends: If the Bucs go to the Super Bowl, I'll paint my whole house in Buccaneers colors!

The Bucs lost to the St. Louis Rams, but some of Albanese's friends have long memories. During last week's NFC title game, her pals reminded her of the promise.

Which explains why her house at 4490 33rd Ave. N in St. Petersburg is pewter and red.

"I love it," said Albanese, who has been a Realtor for 23 years.

In addition to the paint job, she has put up three Buccaneer flags (one homemade and sticking out of the chimney), a Bucs banner on the garage door, a Bucs pennant and a stop sign that reads: "Danger ahead: Buccaneers country."

On Monday morning, after the Bucs beat the Eagles, she started calling house painters and asking if they were Bucs fans. One said sure and arrived in 20 minutes.

The two of them grabbed a Buccaneers helmet from inside the house and went to Home Depot, where workers used the logo to match the paint. They gave her the paint at half-price once they heard what she was up to, Albanese says.

With such a blinding Bucs display, it was only natural for a reporter to ask a neighbor his opinion. And right next door, there was Rudy Fityo, 38, wearing ... yes ... an Oakland Raiders hat.

"She's a great neighbor," said Fityo, who has rooted for the Raiders since they played in Los Angeles (1982-94) and he was stationed in the Navy in San Diego.

Besides, he likes the Bucs, too -- a Tampa Bay flag flies from his house.

HEY, HEY: Jeff Arthur, owner of a successful jingle-composing firm in Clearwater, wrote one of the original Buccaneers fight songs, Hey, Hey Tampa Bay.

Now he's having a hey-day. He has issued hundreds of CDs with the song and will be giving them out free from the Gold & Diamond Source at 3800 Ulmerton Road and at a nearby convenience store.

He said he recently was contacted by NFL Films, which wants to use the music.

And he's flying with his wife, son and daughter to San Diego to give out more CDs and enjoy the game.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," he said.

Listen to the song at

GAMBLING POLITICIANS: Want the political take on the Super Bowl?

At 5 tonight, CNN war correspondent-turned talk show host Wolf Blitzer will feature Tampa Mayor Dick Greco and Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown.

It is likely that the men will make a bet on the game -- Greco said he will offer Brown some Tampa cigars, among other things.

But maybe the quirky politicians will discuss their philosophies of life -- Brown has spent time in a Zen monastery and Greco, well, he's just an all-around optimistic guy.

"I'm tickled to death," Greco said. "I really think we're going to win."

Meanwhile, Gov. Jeb Bush is not sure what to bet with California's governor. "We're negotiating a bet," Bush said. "It hasn't quite been completed yet with Gov. (Gray) Davis, probably related to a wonderful Florida seafood meal for whatever they've got out there, probably Mexican food. ... it could be a California meal, it could be, like, no meat, veggies, what do you call that, vegan?"

CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE: We should have said that the wedding photo of Heather and Jerry Robinson, which appeared in Wednesday's Around the Bay column, came to us courtesy of Allen Wedding Photography.

-- Times staff writers Tamara Lush, Dave Scheiber and Alisa Ulferts contributed to this report.

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