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Tampa Bay Rants And Raves




New county head’s career off to a rocky start


The acrimonious salary negotiations between the Pinellas County Commission and their soon-to-be administrator Barry Burton means he will not exactly be welcomed with open arms when he takes office in six weeks. Not all of the blame can be heaped on Burton. The commission, itself, was clumsy in the way they handled the negotiations. Many of them acted like they had no knowledge of what kind of package Burton was seeking. As for Burton, he needed to realize that Florida and Illinois are apples and oranges as far as salaries and cost of living is concerned. It’s not a good start for a guy with whom we entrust a two and a quarter billion dollar budget. And it shakes our confidence in his bosses.


Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:


1. Local politics have gotten out of hand. Time was when you ran for city office a few close friends would write you checks for fifty bucks and you put up a couple dozen yard signs. Now, out of towners are ponying up upwards of ten grand to influence Clearwater’s form of government.

2. Will there be a “none of the above” space on the Florida gubernatorial ballot? The Feds are circling Gillum and DeSantis can’t open his mouth without something shockingly stupid rolling out.

3. Pam Iorio wouldn’t be all that bad a pick for USF’s next president.

4. Speaking of USF - we get it – a lot of USF students and grads don’t like the new logo. This grad wonders why it needed changing at all.

5. You’ve lived in the bay area a long time if you attended the grand opening of J.M. Fields in Largo headlined by teen idol Conway Twitty. The last J.M. Fields closed forty years ago.


Sports, the media and other stuff:


6. David Wright will suit up for the Mets next weekend after an absence of over two years. He will then retire – a brilliant career cut short by spinal stenosis. We literally feel his pain.

7. Factoid: Braves’ wunderkind Ronald Acuna, Jr. has slapped over 25 home runs this season becoming only the sixth player in history to do that before age 21. Five of the other six are in the Hall – Cepeda, Kaline, Matthews, Ott and Frank Robby. The sixth was Tony Conigliaro whose career was derailed by a pitch that severely injured him in 1967.

8. Idle thought: Is the Buc’s offensive that good or is New Orleans’ defense incredibly bad?

9. Second idle thought: Last week on the gridiron, Duke beat Northwestern 21-7. You’ve got to wonder what the average IQ was in the stands – or on the field.

10. This week’s best of the bunch (see back story TBRR 3/25/18) focuses on the Washington Senators/Minnesota Twins. The Senators moved to Minnesota in 1960 and one of the players making that move was a young left handed pitcher named Jim Kaat – our choice as their best pitcher based on his 190 wins for a mostly mediocre Twins team. That Kaat is not in the Hall of Fame remains a mystery. There are three Twins hitting stars in the Hall - Carew, Killebrew and Puckett – all good but Rod Carew’s lifetime .328 batting average (.334 with theTwins) is the fifth best in modern era, giving him the nod as the Twin’s best position player.


Le’Veon Bell – latest example of a spoiled athlete


The Pittsburgh Steelers’ locker room is far from the happiest place on earth these days with several players, most notably Center and former Gator Maurkice Pouncey, openly critical of running back Le’Veon Bell’s holdout. You have to believe the Steelers’ stunning 21-21 tie against the lowly Browns would not have happened with Bell toting the ball 15 or 20 times. As it is, he remains at home; forfeiting game checks of over $800,000 each game. Think about how many years it takes you to make what he makes each game. He replaces Colin Kaepernick as the most self-absorbed athlete in pro sports.

Up next: Earl, Rocky, Dougie and Whistlin’ Bob




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