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Tampa Bay Rants And Raves



Tampa Bay Raves and Rants is a weekly airing of national and local politics, sports, lifestyles and nostalgia items from a very politically incorrect viewpoint. As always, beware - much of what is printed here should not be taken literally.


More fun with Joe and numbers


More fun with Joe’s numbers: Biden this week said more Americans have died from COVID-19 than died in all our wars since World I. As usual, Biden’s numbers don’t add up. America’s four major wars’ (WWI and II, Korea and Vietnam) death tolls alone exceed the COVID-19 numbers. And then there’s The Gulf War, Afghanistan, Iraq and numerous other skirmishes involving the U.S. in the last century. But then Joe should be expected to be a little shaky with numbers concerning the sacrifices by our military men. Even though he was of draft age at the height of the Vietnam War, Mr. Biden managed to escape military service of any kind in his lifetime.


Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:


We lead off this segment with financial news from the 5:05 Newsletter: A new report found that 40 Fortune 500 companies paid no taxes last year. The other 460 fired their accountants.

Quote of the Week: [The White House is] taking a lawyerly approach to ethics,” said Walter Shaub, a senior fellow at the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) who led the Office of Government Ethics under former President Barack Obama from 2013 to 2017. “They’re looking to see what’s technically allowed, and then they’re doing it.” For a point of reference, see our lead article of June 27 regarding Joltin’ Joe and the IRS.

By the way, the above reference to Joltin’ Joe will be our last usage of the phrase. We’ve heard from several Yankee fans that using the alliteration is an insult to one of the greatest ballplayers of all time. Received and agreed.

Answer: Florida. The question: what is the largest state, by far, never to have a resident elected President? Donald Trump, while now a Florida resident, was a New Yorker when he ran in 2016.

Recent ranking of rudest drivers in the U.S. has Florida ranked third only behind California and Nevada. Not surprising – but where is New York? The answer is outside of the city, New York state drivers handle their cars very well and are quite courteous.


Sports, media and lighter stuff:


And the MLB trade deadline winners are (drumroll): In the National League, the Dodgers swooping in and acquiring future Hall of Famer Max Scherzer and one of MLB’s most underrated players, Trea Turner, leaves the others in the dust. In the junior circuit, the Yankees’ pick-ups of Joey Gallo and Anthony Rizzo may bring back memories of Mantle, Maris and Berra and that short right field porch. You have to give a honorable mention to the White Sox who with the addition of Craig Kimbrel, have a lockdown bullpen similar to the Royals of years past.

The two top draws in their respective leagues are the Atlanta Braves in the NL and the Texas Rangers in the AL – two teams with slim and none, respectively, hopes for the playoffs. Some of their attendance figures have to do with being two of the first cities (and states) to drop attendance restrictions. The lowest attendance, not surprisingly, belongs to the Toronto Blue Jays who are finally headed home after stops in Dunedin and Buffalo.

The nomadic Blue Jays may be the only underperforming team with a valid excuse. The Braves, Cubs, Indians, Phillies and Yankees all think they are better than their record. But there’s that old Bill Parcells truism “You are what your record says you are.”

Random thought: Health is not just about what you’re eating or how much you exercise. It’s also about what you’re thinking and saying.

Five Years Ago in TBR&R (August 7, 2016) - 750,000 – that’s the number of people who attend events annually at Ruth Eckerd Hall making it the biggest drawing venue within the Clearwater city limits. Second and third are the Clearwater Marine Aquarium at 320,000 and Bright House Field at just over 300,000 - this from an interesting 2016 Community Profile published by the city.


Bad umpires should go to the minors


"The best umpired game is the game in which the fans cannot recall the umpires who worked it." Those are the words of Hall of Fame umpire Bill Klem. Let us run some names by you – Tripp Gibson, Nic Lentz and Ryan Blakney. Unless you are a really hard core baseball fan, you probably never heard of them. They are three of the five highest rated umpires during the 2021 season. Three more names you might know – Ron Kulpa, Laz Diaz and Angel Hernandez. They are among the worst umpires this season – Hernandez is year to year rated the worst umpire in baseball. Yet, he continues to not only have a job, but get assigned to important post season games. This used to be an honor afforded the best umpires, but now MLB-union agreements dictate that guys like Hernandez work prestigious games. Just as a guy who hits .180 gets sent to the minors, umpires like Hernandez, Kulpa and Diaz should spend some time riding buses until their skills improve – or as happens with players, they are granted their unconditional release.

NEXT UP: Gas wars: Drug pushers; Mud Hens and Bulls



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