Thursday, January 03, 2008

Dear Sports Announcers:

You are not in Tampa Bay.
You are NOT in Tampa Bay.
YOU are not in Tampa Bay.
You ARE not in Tampa Bay.
You are not IN Tampa Bay.
You are not in Tampa BAY.
You are not in TAMPA Bay.

Tampa Bay is a body of water. Here, let me show you:

Perhaps you are a baseball announcer covering the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. If so, you are in the city of St. Petersburg. You are at Tropicana Field.

Or perhaps you are covering the Tampa Bay Lightning for the National Hockey League. If so, you are in the city of Tampa. You are at the St. Pete Times Forum.

Yes, I know it's confusing that the St. Pete Times Forum is in Tampa and not in St. Pete. Just bear with me here.

Perhaps you are covering football and you need to find the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. You need to go to Raymond James Stadium. This is in the city of Tampa.

Now, I do realize, brave announcers of sport, that Tampa Bay is now an acceptable name for what used to be called the Suncoast region, that lovely green-watered slice of Florida's Gulf Coast. If you were using Tampa Bay as the name of the region, I'd be fine with that! But this is not what you do. Oh no.

You insist repeatedly that you are in "beautiful downtown Tampa Bay." And to this I must, regrettably, take umbrage.

A multi-county tourism region does not have "a downtown."

A body of water most certainly does not have a downtown.

If it did, your reports from beautiful downtown Tampa Bay would look like this:

Please do keep this in mind as you mindlessly natter along, will you? It can only increase your credibility. If you're not going to shut up during halftime so I can watch the marching bands, you can at least get the correct name for the city you're in. I do hope this isn't too much to ask.

Former Resident of Florida's Suncoast, Who Has Swum in Tampa Bay and Knows That It Is Wet