Sometimes I take it Personally
Why is it that this odd-shaped protruding region of the United States has always had to defend itself from the media attacks and the scattering writs of the uninformed. Why is it that Tampa Bay has been cubby-holed by countless comedians as the “Armpits of American society” for the far-fetched tales of wild and bizarre events that seem to ooze daily out of the entire state of Florida?
I have come to the mindset personally that I do not get offended anymore because I am here by choice, and have lived in some of these same cities that now mock us, and I moved away from those metropolitans because of their crime rates, community angst and the general frustrations of living in a city that broke its city pride into mini sections or boroughs.
To me, fractured city pride and invisible borough loyalty boundaries seem just as comedic in nature as any tale told from within the “Sunshine State”. Simply, just ask anyone from Queens what they think of someone from the Bronx and you quickly get the picture. For some wild reason, people from outside the South tend to grasp this section of Florida and have comedic nicknames for it’s cities like ” The City of the Newlyweds, and Nearly Deads “, “Redneck Junction” or even “The Geritol Ghetto”.
How is an area suppose to raise any form of positive respect when most folks outside this region do not show a hint of wanting to know the true essence of what normalcy is within Tampa Bay.They just know from the mindless treks and ill-fated journeys of relatives or friends who have wandered down to this alligator infested, Hurricane influenced handful of communities and spun their tall tales without regard to truth or factual integrity, and this region has suffered from it.
And I think I have been more than fair when I have read and even commented on columns and blog postings written by people outside this area of the country who have portrayed this particular Florida region for their ever-growing lack of financial or physical show of support by the surrounding communities to stand behind their Rays baseball team.
But that is also where I personally think so many have crossed that invisible line, and I want to go full bore on the offensive against them. Artillery, tanks and even maybe a air invasion by a legion of mosquitoes, but it would make no difference in their opinions. I have read articles and postings about how Tampa Bay will be soon losing their Major League Baseball squad teams to New Jersey or Connecticut and it produces another nerve twitching in my neck. It seems like an endless sea has opened up and swallowed this region whole after just one author seems to hit that magical “Enter” button.
For some reason this region goes from seemingly showing signs of being supportive to a Janet Jackson knock-off wondering “What have you done For me lately?”. This influx of negativity needs to be squashed for what it is……most of it is mumbo jumbo hearsay with no regard to the honest truth , and other seems to be a blanket test balloon sent out to see if a certain Northern community to test their constituents interest or even evoke future planning to evolve into multi-sports towns.
But not all of the volleys have come from outside the Florida state lines. Some like the political landmines set by our regional neighbor, Orlando have set-up for itself along with the exploits of snake-oil salesman/politician Armando Gutierrez to boost his own political future by getting locals into a frenzy for Orlando to try and secure a MLB team via the establishment of their own Facebook page. That is not the total extent of the Orlando effort, but it is comedic that they are seeking 10,000 members before petitioning anyone with eyesight of their intentions to get credibility to their region too.
But I also find it a bit interesting that a majority of these same authors might not have even ventured within hundreds of miles of Tampa Bay unless it is for covering the Rays during a series, or even a family vacation. Florida is as foreign to them as Arizona or even a third world country.I just sometimes get sick and tired of constantly defending this region from attacks outside the region. I have to tell you that the image of this area being populated with country bumpkins or even being considered a backwater town is as insane as the possibilities of New York City sinking into the Atlantic Ocean.
But people outside of the state tend to gain a sense of tunnel vision when something bad happens in this region of Florida and the media dwells upon it even past a normal point of involvement. But then again the reality that for over 100 years, Major League Baseball teams have flocked to Tampa Bay to hold their monthly rituals of Spring Training, ever since Branch Rickey brought the Boston Browns to town so long ago.
And the Spring Training homes of the past two World Series Champions are situated within the locales of Tampa Bay. But sometimes it simply amazes me just how fast and furious public opinion can head spiraling downward with just a simple mention of bad news and Tampa Bay in the same sentence. But how many people can tell me the original cities involved in the first commercially scheduled flight in the United States?
Sometimes I think that it is the general consensus superiority by some locales to always think they are better than other based on past events or even the city’s P R spin doctors who effectively propelling shots at their communities like darts off a wall, with minimal physical image damage and no collateral damage to their cities reputations or perceptions by outsiders. Guess I got to get used to some times being the “Redheaded Step-Child” of the United States with me always sounding off in my Southern drawl trying to fend off the sometimes obnoxious perceptions and views of other’s to my hometown area.
But I guess when you region is situated on a piece of land mass that protrudes from the bottom of the United States like a growth, and you then also live on a secondary out spurt of land mass, you have to sometimes just sit back and laugh too. But do not be secure in me smiling or even laughing for you forget, this collar does hide a redneck…just kidding (maybe).