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Is Tampa Bay Losertown?

The Rays, the Bucs, now the GOP snub. St. Petersburg Times staff writers Sean Daly and Michael Kruse, both Boston area natives, go head to head about the collective self-esteem of their new home.

Published October 2, 2006

Sean Daly: Wow, has the Tampa Bay area's collective esteem ever been lower? We have the crummiest pro football team. The lousiest pro baseball team. And now, as the proverbial kick in the tuchus, we've lost the GOP convention to Minneapolis! That's right, we begged Republicans to come play with us - and they chose some Midwestern backwater once governed by a man in a feather boa. At times like these, I'm forced to quote the Little River Band: Have you heard about the Lonesome Loser? That would be us.

Admit it, Michael: You're embarrassed to live here.

Michael Kruse: Yeah, sure, Sean, if I felt AT ALL compelled to equate a place's collective sense of self-worth with the successes and failures of professional game players.

So the Rays are no good. So the Bucs blow.

Soooo whaaaat.

Let cities like Boston and New York and Philly have all the rowdies and the rant-radio ridiculousness associated with hyped-up overblown pro sports.

Then let it snow.

As for the GOP snub? Good. Take that traffic somewhere else.

Daly: Yeah, I figured you'd whip up some sort of Northern-bias alternate-reality hipster guff like that. But you know what, Kruse, we can't all fit in the coffee shop with your coolio friends. Some of us have to do business in the real world. And you know what it's like out here? It's angry - so angry that Men's Health voted Tampa and St. Petersburg two of the angriest cities in the country. And it's depressing - so depressing that Men's Health voted Tampa and St. Petersburg two of the most depressing places as well.

Oh, and Old Spice ranked Tampa one of the sweatiest cities. Yum. We could use some snow.

Kruse: You WOULD take a special interest in that sweat study.

In all seriousness, though, as long as we're going to go full-on with these best-of, worst-of superlatives, the beach voted the best beach in all of North America last year was our own Fort De Soto.

Sometimes on weekends, you'll be shocked to know, I leave the coffee shop and go to the beach and drink some beers and float around in the warm waters of the gulf, and I look at the pasty-bellied Northerners and think to myself . . .

I LIVE where you go to GET AWAY from where YOU live.

Good, then, for the ruddy-cheeked Garrison Keillor clones up there in Minny: All the Republican rah-rah will give them something to do before it gets dark and cold for the next eight months, when they put on their turtlenecks and sit and sweat by the fire.

Daly: You know, I thought I saw you on the beach. Nice turtleneck.

Speaking of frolicking in the surf: Weatherwise, the next six months in Tampa Bay will feel like paradise. I'll give you that. But in typical TB style, that's exactly when our greatest asset gets sprinkled with loser dust. Can I get you a tall glass of RED TIDE? Yep, at the exact time that we locals can finally go to the beach (goodbye tourists, goodbye skin-scorching heat), the water becomes infected with a life-choking algae. Gulp.

Somebody call Dr. Phil: Tampa Bay needs a hug.

Kruse: Dr. Phil? Says on his site that he's galvanized millions of people to "get real." Note to Sean.

Tell you what, music man: The people around here who actually feel like they need a hug because of this supposed slight are the ones who need to buck up and get real.

Allow me to suggest just a few simple Tampa Bay pick-me-ups that are not quite so much like that boo-hoo self-help hooey:

Bayport in Hernando County. On a sunny Sunday morning. With newspapers.

Pelicans on the Howard Frankland.

The Kumquat Festival in Dade City.

Seriously. Ever been?

Daly: Pelicans and kumquats? PELICANS AND KUMQUATS?!! When I first moved here, I was amazed at the number of unlikely places that sold alcohol: the aquarium (right next to the kids' water park), the zoo (right next to the kids' water park), Target (right when you walk in the door). It's a keg on every corner in Tampa Bay. And now I know why: pelicans and kumquats. And sweat. And the D-Rays. And the Bucs. And the stinkin' GOP. Is it 5 o'clock yet?

Kruse: Close enough. Meet up at the Swigwam at St. Pete Beach? Any time is a good time for a kumquat daiquiri.

Sean Daly can be reached at or (727) 893-8467. His blog is at Michael Kruse can be reached at or (352) 848-1434.

[Last modified October 2, 2006, 07:36:49]

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