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Wednesday, Nov 26, 2014
Steve Otto Columns

Otto: Baseball is more than economy

Published:

With the continuing rumbling about putting a new baseball arena somewhere near downtown Tampa, there is the accompanying sniping about whether we would support a team over here any better than we’ve done on the edges of downtown St. Petersburg.

Don’t know the answer to that one; my best guess is a few thousand more seats a game better, but that’s about it.

But then, just when you wonder if it’s worth it, you watch the Rays of the past two weeks and especially that last moment of their Thursday night win over the Yankees.

The Yankees, thanks largely to the local presence of George Steinbrenner and his family, contributed so much to so many in our town, and they still do.

At the same time, the Rays are demonstrating their own brand of community involvement on both sides of the bay.

Watching both organizations put on a display of the magic of baseball Thursday was a reminder that what they bring to our area goes beyond economics.

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Meanwhile, from Plant City comes this: “Mr. Otto, I know you referenced in your column that it was going to smell bad around Tampa for years to come because of the fact that strawberry growers were going to be using more Paladin in the future. The media made a big deal on all channels of TV and in the paper.

“We certainly were convicted in one day of being the culprit for this odor in downtown Tampa. It certainly caused our neighbors to call state officials and complain about something that they did not smell before this media event. It certainly caused problems for growers because people were convinced that we are doing something that is harmful and should not be allowed to do it.

“The public thinks that if our fumigant moves all the way to Tampa then certainly we are harming them and we should not be allowed to use it. “I write this because at last week’s EPC meeting the person in charge of air quality said that everyone was mistaken and in fact the odor was caused by a fire at an asphalt plant in Ybor City. This is public record, I have not seen or heard any mention in the media about this fact.

“This certainly has biased the public’s opinion of strawberry farmers. I am a grower who has been in the business for 34 years and have never experienced the scrutiny that I received after this erroneous story was reported as fact by every official questioned by the media. Someone needs to set the record straight.” — Ronnie Young, Dover.

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Finally there was a letter from Joseph Abad, who says he is also known as “Submarine Jr.” It seems as if everyone in Ybor and West Tampa used to have their own monikers.

Submariner sent me an email last week wondering if anyone had ever heard of “Pincho de Nieve” of Palmetto Beach. So far, nobody has admitted knowing, so Submariner writes, “The source of the story is traceable to my 90-plus year old uncle Henry Abad. The Pincho de Nieve operated during his generation. Most folks kept their home windows open as a normal practice. The Pincho would cut the screen and insert a pole with an ice pick connected to steal items of value. Nobody ever identified him.”

“By the way, did you know ‘Fast Eddy Zalva?’ May he rest in peace.”

The Submariner got me. Anybody out there know Fast Eddy and why he was so quick?

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