Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Phillies ties land Clearwater in hot water with Tampa Bay Rays fans

A “Go Phillies” sign along the Courtney Campbell Parkway in Clearwater.

JIM DAMASKE | Times

A “Go Phillies” sign along the Courtney Campbell Parkway in Clearwater.

CLEARWATER — The city is getting bombarded by angry e-mails and phone calls from Tampa Bay Rays fans who mistakenly think the city is taking sides against the local team because Clearwater is the longtime spring training home of the Phillies.

Not true, say city officials and employees, many of whom are wearing Rays gear to work these days.

The callers and e-mailers, whose fury is being stoked by sports talk radio, are mad about two things:

• They're under the impression that the city is hosting Phillies rallies at the team's Clearwater ballpark, Bright House Networks Field.

• The city put up a "Go Phillies" sign at the Clearwater end of the Courtney Campbell Parkway. It's near a "Go Rays" sign.

Here's a sampling of comments:

"I am appalled at your hosting a rally for our Rays opponents ... What a bonehead decision. You should be ashamed!"

And:

"I for one will make every effort to avoid doing business within the City of Clearwater limits. Your city is an embarrassment to this entire area."

Meanwhile, officials are scratching their heads. For one thing, the city didn't host a rally. The Phillies, who operate Bright House Networks Field, opened up their ballpark Wednesday night and showed Game 1 of the World Series on the Jumbotron. About 1,100 people showed up, more of them Rays fans than Phillies fans, the team said. The team has been holding happy hour on Wednesday nights at the stadium's Frenchy's Tiki Bar for years.

And the city's "Go Rays" and "Go Phillies" signs were posted along the causeway before the playoffs even started. Clearwater has a 62-year relationship with the Phillies.

"People need to keep everything in perspective. This is only a game," said Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard, who got a blue Mohawk on Wednesday to show his support for the Rays. He's tired of the city's receptionists getting profanity-laced phone calls.

"Nobody should be rude to a bunch of people who are just doing their jobs."

Mike Brassfield can be reached at brassfield@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4160.

Phillies ties land Clearwater in hot water with Tampa Bay Rays fans 10/23/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 30, 2008 7:30pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Trump's lawyers seek to undercut Mueller's Russia investigation

    Politics

    Some of President Donald Trump's lawyers are exploring ways to limit or undercut Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, building a case against what they allege are his conflicts of interest and discussing the president's authority to grant pardons, the Washington Post reported, citing people familiar …

    President Donald Trump is said to be irritated by the notion that the special counsel's investigation could reach into his and his family's finances. [Associated Press]
  2. North Tampa shooting leaves one man dead

    Crime

    Times staff

    TAMPA — A man was fatally shot Thursday afternoon after an argument with another man escalated, police said.

  3. St. Pete City Council tightens building rules in historic areas

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — There's a battle being waged over the soul of the city's historic neighborhoods.

    A new larger home sits next to a smaller one in the Kenwood neighborhood in St. Petersburg on Tuesday.
  4. Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze resigns over 'inappropriate conduct' (w/ video)

    College

    OXFORD, Miss. — Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze was at Jackson Country Club on Wednesday night, giving his yearly rah-rah speech about the Rebels overcoming adversity and getting ready for the college football season.

    If Hugh Freeze hadn’t resigned, Ole Miss says it would have fired him for violating his contract’s moral turpitude clause.
  5. Fennelly: With playoff chase in high gear, it's time for Rays to make a move

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG

    Thursday was an off-day for the Rays, who are coming off a solid western swing. I assume there was no rest for the tag-team Rays baseball brain trust of Matt Silverman, Erik Neander and Chaim Bloom, whose job it is to improve this team in advance of the trade deadline. They've done a good job …

    Evan Longoria is glad to see the Rangers coming to town: He’s batting .296 against them with 15 homers and 56 RBIs in 69 career games.