[Tom Chang is a freelance journalist. He graduated from USF in 2004 with a Bachelors Degree in Mass Communications at USF in Tampa and is currently pursuing his Masters in Media Studies from USF St.Petersburg. Tom submitted the following post channeling Aretha Franklin while demanding a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T! Let him know what you think.]
By Tom Chang
I know the national sports media does their best to hire the personalities to analyze all things sports. One pattern I’m seeing is the lack of any perceived respect for “ll-things Tampa.
In the past decade, Tampa has seen the most success from its franchises (aside from the lesser Arena Bowl titles from the Storm) [Mark's note. I LOVED the Storm. I bet I still have a pair of red, white, and blue Storm Zubaz pants squirreled away at my parents' house. I gotta go find those things. Jay Gruden to Stevie Thomas was amazing!] with the Bucs winning the Lombardi Trophy in 2003, the Lightning winning the Stanley Cup the following year and the Rays making it to the World Series in 2008. When they won it all though, there was no attention from the President. [Mark again. Sorry to interrupt but it's my blog so deal with it. I cannot even believe this. When I read Tom's post, I Googled it. Twice. Sure enough. No pictures of the President with either the Bolts or the Bucs. What's up with that?] Not even a phone call. The story is always the same (except for the Rays who fell to the Phillies), “loveable losers finally win it all.”
As for the Rays, the 2011 question remains the same, “can they keep up with the Big Boys?” I don’t know. Have two division titles in three years not answered that question? Even as the Rays moved into first place people seem to be asking “what the heck happened to Boston?” and “what is going wrong with Jorge and the Yankees?”
Fixing this problem will take time. If Tampa is to get the respect it needs to get from the national media, we need to build on those very same traditions that made our rivals (i.e.: Boston, NY) so prominent: to steal a line from Raiders owner Al Davis, “Just win, Baby!”