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Tuesday, Sep 02, 2014
Steve Otto Columns

Otto: Columnist recalls his ‘Field of Dreams’

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“Oh somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright; The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light. And somewhere men are laughing and somewhere the game gives pleasure; But nowhere is there more joy than Motown where Miguel has his treasure.’’

I suppose Miguel Cabrera is a little like Ernest Thayer’s Mighty Casey, except that he struck pay dirt instead of striking out.

I always thought that should have been me. Taking the mound at Plant High spring practice many season ago I could almost feel the gaze of the late “Wild Bill’’ Minahan staring at this prospect on the mound in wonder as I blazed a few fast balls into the catcher.

I almost licked my lips in anticipation as he motioned me off the mound to where he was standing. “Son,’’ he said, “why don’t you go out there and shag some flies’’ — pretty much ending my career.

And so Miguel Cabrera with his new contract in Detroit will have totaled out close to $400 million, which one writer figured out to more than 60 million pizzas from Little Caesars or close to $50,000 every time he comes to bat in the next decade.

Oh well, at least he has to show up while I can watch the game from the safety of my couch.

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Speaking of sports, did you see where a decision at Northwestern University that would allow players to form a union is in the works? A federal labor official up there ruled football players on full scholarships are essentially employees.

I can buy that. What I want to know is if they also are going to be considered students and have to attend class. My other question: What happens if the game is close and the quarterback has to decide whether to go for the win or go for overtime? If he gets time and a half for being in the union I think I see an overtime.

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According to some reports I’ve read, the upcoming Bollywood spectacle that will be in Tampa in April is not bringing in the expected bookings so far. Hopefully visitors didn’t book hotels in Dollywood by mistake because, like the Republican Convention last year, promoters are suggesting we will be the center of the entertainment universe for about a week next month.

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I was a guest of Dr. Walter Woolf at last week’s Interbay Rotary where they stepped out of the box and put on a panel discussion that included three highly successful entrepreneurs, someone from USF’s business incubation program and Hillsborough County Commissioner Mark Sharpe.

I loved it because the focus was not on bringing in more big box stores or building more roads, but instead encouraging young (or old) entrepreneurs to design and innovate right here in the Tampa Bay area. USF’s incubation program seems a good start. But it’s going to take a community effort, starting in the schools, to encourage creativity, and support from financial institutions and businesses.

There are some sharp, pumped-up young people in this community and we need to do a better job of making them want to stay.

sotto@tampatrib.com

(813 259-7809

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