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How Tampa Bay stacks up off the field

Now that baseball's playoffs have begun, oddsmakers and pundits are poring over ERAs, batting averages and slugging percentages to see how Tampa Bay stacks up against other American League playoff teams.

But why limit comparisons to the playing field? What about the broader quirks and events that define an area?

As the Rays enter baseball's big-time today, here's an unofficial guide to the Tampa Bay area, and how it measures up to its three, big metro brethren.

Population growth, 1900 to now

Boston: 600,000 to 4.4-million

Los Angeles: 170,000 to 12.4-million

Chicago: 1.7-million to 9.2-million

Tampa Bay: 45,000 to 2.4-million

Edgy civic gathering

Boston: Boston Tea Party

Los Angeles: O.J. Simpson trial groupies

Chicago: 1968 Democratic Convention

Tampa Bay: Guavaween

Watershed moments

Boston: Crew races on Charles River

Los Angeles: Disney invents Jungle River Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean and Splash Mountain

Chicago: Flow direction of Chicago River is reversed

Tampa Bay: Dockside Dave's serves authentic grouper

Religious distinction

Boston: Birthplace of Christian Science

Los Angeles: Largest Catholic archdiocese in U.S.

Chicago: Nation of Islam headquarters

Tampa Bay: World Scientology headquarters

Local luminary

Boston: Matt Damon/Ben Affleck

Los Angeles: Jack Nicholson

Chicago: Oprah Winfrey

Tampa Bay: John Travolta (occasionally, and not another word about the Hulkster)

Unflattering stereotype

Boston: Racial tension

Los Angeles: La-la land

Chicago: Dead voters

Tampa Bay: Green benches, Mons Venus (tie)

Noted disaster

Boston: Cocoanut Grove nightclub fire kills 492 (1942)

Los Angeles: St. Francis Dam collapse kills about 600, (1928).

Chicago: Heat wave blamed for 739 deaths (1995).

Tampa Bay: Summit Venture knocks down Sunshine Skyway, killing 35 (1980).

Movie, TV locales

Boston: Good Will Hunting, Cheers

Los Angeles: Chinatown, Dragnet

Chicago: Blues Brothers, Untouchables

Tampa Bay: Cocoon, Second Noah

Hall of Famers

Boston: Ted Williams, John Hannah, Larry Bird, Bobby Orr

Los Angeles: Sandy Koufax, Norm Van Brocklin, Magic Johnson, Wayne Gretzky

Chicago: Ernie Banks, Walter Payton, Phil Jackson, Bobby Hull

Tampa Bay: Lee Roy Selmon, Wade Boggs (borrowed), Phil Esposito (borrowed)

MLB, NFL, NBA and NHL championships

Boston: 29

Los Angeles: 18

Chicago: 20

Tampa Bay: 2

How Tampa Bay stacks up off the field 10/01/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 2, 2008 2:33pm]
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