This weekend features a plethora of sports options for Tampa Bay fans, including the Tampa Bay Rays three-game series against the New York Yankees and the historic rivalry match between the Tampa Bay Rowdies and the New York Cosmos. For those looking for something outside the box, the Florida Championship Fighting organization will hold a mixed martial arts super show on Saturday Aug. 16, 2014 at The Regent, an elegant facility in Brandon that is typically the site to a wide range of artistic, cultural, educational, philanthropic, social events, weddings and meetings year round.
You can prepare for the inevitable as much as you can, but when it finally hits it can still suck donkey balls. Gram Gram is over a hundred and won't live forever. Summer vacation is great but won't last forever. Last call isn't until 3 a.m. but time marches on. And don't get me started on chocolate shakes. Eventually Gramma's gone, school starts, the bartender tosses you through a plate-glass window and your straw makes that empty sucky slurpy noise indicating dessert is done and your gut is expanding. Good times.
So goes the David Price saga, which came to a predictable, yet very sad, conclusion. It surprised nobody, yet there was hope immersed in the hopelessness until the bitter end that came last Thursday afternoon. When I read the news on my smart-ass phone, I put my head down as a nauseous and bloaty feeling overcame me. Then I farted and felt a lot better. I didn't want him to go, but knew the day would come. I wanted the world for him in the trade, but it makes little mathematical sense to unload somebody because we can't afford him only to acquire several studs equally unattainable with the limited funds at our disposal. It would be like dumping HBO to save money then pick up Starz, Cinemax, Epix and Showtime. We're a basic-cable market and all we can hope for is the occasional swear word to sneak across AMC to make us feel premium-channel rich. Good luck, David. Enjoy Detroit. You can actually buy a house for 100 bucks. So with your new contract, you can probably buy a ... um ... Detroit.
Earlier this week, a scuffle at a wedding reception in Middletown, NJ escalated into a huge brawl involving approximately 300 people. Multiple police departments responded to quell the melee, which resulted in two arrests.
On Friday, the A La Carte Pavilion, normally reserved for wedding ceremonies that typically begin and end beautifully, will host a fight of its own, but in a more structured fashion when 18 up-and-coming professional fighters compete in a nine-match card.
To say July is slightly slow in sports is akin to suggesting that the Rays have a wee bit of catching up to do if they don't want to spend October sitting on the couch — a giant luxurious leather couch in front of a 80-inch flatscreen, being fed nachos by topless supermodels so their hands don't get sticky holding their micro-brew. Baseball players are quite wealthy is the general point of the previous stupid joke. The World Cup was a pleasant distraction for the awkward pauses between bar conversations, the All-Star game was great if you were actually there (and you were 12), and of course, the ESPYs (*cough*). So, in order to come up with enough content to fill the necessary minimum requirements to call this steamy pile of words a "sports column," I had to dig deep.
Usually that's when things get weird.
The World Cup is coming to Florida.
Well, not necessarily the FIFA World Cup, but a couple of the participants who appeared for the England National Team in the 2014 event in Brazil will be in St. Petersburg from July 15-21 at Eckerd College as a part of a national soccer coaching clinic run by the English Premier League club West Bromwich Albion.
Tampa turned up in numbers and style on Friday night for another version of the Real Fighting Championships at the A La Carte Pavilion. Former NBA center Shaquille O’Neal and former Tampa Bay Buccaneer defensive end and Ultimate Fighter Marcus Jones were among a sold-out crowd that saw an 11-bout fight card highlighted by the Florida State Lightweight Title match between Ryan “Who Dat” Keenan and Ivan “Angry Bird” Delvalle.
Great googly-moogly, it's hot (did I mention I was recently promoted to the rank of captain of the obvious? It's pretty sweet). As I type this sports mess, it's currently 94 and cloudy. Cloudy. If the sun peeks through it will cut like a laser beam and your body will explode in a mess of sweaty balls of fire. It is so hot (how hot is it?) that you can fry an egg on the sidewalk, my seat-belt buckle and in my pants. It's also the time when we celebrate our nation's independence by further aggravating possible heat stroke by spending the day outside hovering over a grill and blowing shit up. America ... F*** yeah.
So in the wake of drinking, sweating and possibly losing a finger, let's get you caught up on the world of Tampa Bay sports.
Godfather III ... the best of the Godfather franchise by far. I could watch that steamy hot scene where Andy Garcia made dough balls with Coppola's daughter over and over again. Did I mention they played cousins? Italian hillbilly awesomeness. If you missed it, grab a sibling, push play and enjoy the express elevator to hell. Not because of the incest, but because by the time the movie is over you'll wish you watched Smokey and the Bandit III, Jaws IV and Rocky V in a row with a wasabi colonic. (That's right, there are three Smokey and the Bandit movies.)
Yessir, that movie was a colossal turd, shaming respectable mobsters everywhere into telling people at cocktail parties they sell shoes. But there was one line that folks will always remember whether they've seen t or not.
"Just when I thought I was out... they pull me back in."
Welcome to the Rays famiglia.
The best part about spending the night clutching the toilet and barfing your shoes out through your nose is the exhilarating relief you feel when it eventually stops. So goes the 2014 season of the worst team in baseball. After losing 10 in a row, our beloved Rays snapped the shit-streak with a win. And there was much rejoicing (yay). Then, before we could pronounce the "k" sound in comeback, they lost four more. And right before we could get to the last "s" in hopeless, boom: Another win, snapping a 31-inning scoreless streak — a team record. And the vomit subsided ... for now. The highlight of Wednesday night's non-loss to the Cardinals was when rookie outfielder Kevin Kiermaier slipped into a phone booth, popped out faster than a speeding bullet and caught a fly ball in flight with the bases loaded, preserving a 1-run lead. If you don't understand the Superman/phone booth reference, we can no longer hang out. This weekend, the Rays mixed it up with the Astros in a three-game series in Houston ... where they, too, have a problem (BAM!). Sunday, the Rays came out on top for the series by winning the third game 4-3.
Brazil. Home of Carnival, that big honkin' statue of Jesus and the painful removal of every hair follicle from your undercarriage. Also? There seems to be a buttload of soccer games going on up until around mid-July. Teams from all over the world (literally!) descend upon bizarro America. Seriously, the drains spin in the opposite direction, it's winter down there and in Brazil they like their boobs small and their butts big (true story). Yessir, World Cup craziness has definitely set in ... I think. My advice? if soccer just isn't your thing but you like getting swept up in a cavalcade of batshit insanity, get your ass to a pub and mix it up with the hooligans. You may not know what the hell is going on up on the screen, but it won't matter. The perfect mix of jubilation, patriotism and homicidal emotions is a people watcher's paradise. GOOOOOOOOOAAAAALLLLLL!!!!!!!