You knew this was coming from a mile away....or should I say a Manny Ramirez tapeshot homerun away?
Shaughnessy treats us to one of his many walks down memory lane. This time, we visit Tampa St Petersburg, a place where Shank says the sports tradition is mighty thin. He contrasts this to the tradition rich histories of New York, Cleveland, and Chicago. Come on Shank, as if Cleveland and Chicago would offer a more compelling match-up because of their richer histories? The Ray's history may be short but given that, the animosity that has developed between them and the Red Sox is pretty rich. I'd take this series in terms of interest than pretty much any other series save perhaps the Yankees.
Shank manages to dig up reference to every exhibition game he possibly can in which a Boston team was involved that was played in this area. He also makes the relevation that the Super Bowl will be played here in 4 months and wouldn't it be nifty if the Red Sox win this Series and the Patriots win the Super Bowl? Didn't Shaughnessy write the Patriots off three weeks ago?
Shank can never resist the jabs even if he has to strain to do it...let's follow this sequence...Scott Williamson claims to have seen a ghost at a Tampa hotel...Scott Williamson was in the bullpen when Grady Little stuck with Pedro Martinez on a fateful night in 2003 so lets therefore bring up a Grady Little/2003 Game 7 reference. It's a natural fit for this column. (Oh by the way, Williamson was pretty clutch for the Red Sox in a few playoff games)
Shaughnessy's whole premise is that Tampa has no sports history and that the Tropicana Dome is an abhorent pit and yet Shaughnessy throws out a little tidbit about the Ted Williams museum being located here and concludes "Pretty cool - for a place that came close to being named the Knuckledome." So is it cool Shank? Or is it a second rate sports city with a crappy stadium and no tradition?
Bottom line: Another meandering mess from Boston's finest columnist