Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Whoever loses Rays vs. Red Sox bet, team pride wins

Boston native and Red Sox fan Michelle Dole, a bartender at the Oldsmar Cop Shop, talks with patron Andrew Knapp, a Rays fan. Dole and Rays fans have sparred all season.


Boston native and Red Sox fan Michelle Dole, a bartender at the Oldsmar Cop Shop, talks with patron Andrew Knapp, a Rays fan. Dole and Rays fans have sparred all season.

OLDSMAR — The pressure's on more than just the Rays and the Red Sox this week.

It's also on Boston native and Red Sox fan Michelle Dole, a bartender at the Oldsmar Cop Shop sports bar, and some of her patrons at the Tampa Road establishment.

If the Rays win the American League East title, Dole has to wear a Rays T-shirt for a week and pose for photographs on demand. If the Red Sox win the division, the Tampa Bay fans she's been sparring with throughout the season have to wear Red Sox jerseys for a week and pose for pictures as well.

"I'm even excused from wearing my uniform," Dole, 35, said, horrified at the thought of losing the bet and having to wear the Rays' colors.

The uniform at the Cop Shop?

A black vest and handcuffs. On Monday night, it also included a Red Sox navel ring.

The seasonlong skirmishes at the Cop Shop have gotten pretty ugly, but in a friendly kind of way, of course.

Cop Shop owner Bob Wiley snagged Dole's 7-year-old son and dressed him in a Rays jersey and baseball cap. He snapped pictures and put copies all over the bar for everyone to see.

Dole doesn't sit idly by.

She serves drinks to the Rays die-hards on Red Sox napkins and in Red Sox glasses. They refuse to drink the libations.

She's plastered cars with the Red Sox logo. She brought back a Red Sox pennant and posted it on a wall.

It didn't stay up long.

"When I found out she was a Boston fan, we instantly became enemies," said Andrew Knapp, 23, of Oldsmar, who's been a Rays fan since it was first announced that the team was coming to the bay area in 1995.

Dole moved to Oldsmar two years ago with her husband and two children. She started working at what was once Big JRs as a bartender.

Eight months ago, Wiley and his wife bought the place and changed the name to the Oldsmar Cop Shop. He built a second bar on what was once a dance floor.

He repainted and retiled the floors. He added six new pool tables and 40 high definition LCD televisions.

Dole, who has been a bartender for eight years, continued to work at the establishment. As the Rays became contenders, Dole's rivalry with the owner, a Rays fan, and customers started heating up.

Cop Shop kitchen supervisor and loyal Rays supporter Larry Strickland's wife bought him tickets to Tuesday's game at Tropicana Field.

Dole's husband, Nick, went and bought a pair of tickets for himself and his wife one row up.

"I can't wait to sit right behind them and cheer," Dole said. "Especially with a tie (the teams were tied for the division lead heading into Tuesday's game). I have my Boston T-shirt on and I just can't wait."

Demorris A. Lee can be reached at 445-4174 or

Whoever loses Rays vs. Red Sox bet, team pride wins 09/16/08 [Last modified: Friday, September 19, 2008 8:21pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Steve Kornell says small fix can help St. Pete's sewage problems


    ST. PETERSBURG— Steve Kornell knows his idea won't put much of a dent in the $326 million bill the city must pay over the next five years to fix its inadequate and outdated sewer system.

    St. Petersburg City Council member Steve Kornell (right) during a 2012 council meeting at City Hall. [SCOTT KEELER  |  Times]
  2. Can the Bad Boys Mowers Gasparilla Bowl thrive in competitive sports market?


    ST. PETERSBURG — It's a funky name: the Bad Boys Mowers Gasparilla Bowl. But the new sponsors for the former St. Petersburg Bowl might need more than an eye-catching name to create a thriving, profitable contest.

    NC State head coach Dave Doeren clutches the championship trophy after winning the Bitcoin Bowl at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg in 2014. Bowl organizers are changing the name of the game to the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl.

  3. Dirk Koetter says Bucs used team meeting to discuss social issues


    Four days before their preseason home opener against the Cleveland Browns, which had 12 players not stand for the national anthem prior to their last game, the Bucs used their team meeting to discuss social issues that might have led to that demonstration, coach Dirk Koetter said.

    "The main thing is we have to respect everybody's opinion," Dirk Koetter said, "because everybody is not going to agree." [AP photo]
  4. Rookie tight end Antony Auclair making case to stick with Bucs


    Don't let his modest preseason stats fool you: Antony Auclair, the undrafted rookie tight end from Canada is making a strong case to stick around on the Bucs' 53-man roster this season.

    Bucs tight end Antony Auclair (82) collides with a defender following a catch during training camp. [CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times]
  5. Who is that 'Blacks for Trump' guy standing behind the president at his Phoenix rally


    At a number of political rallies over the last two years, a character calling himself "Michael the Black Man" has appeared in the crowd directly behind Donald Trump, impossible to miss and possibly planted.

    Michael the Black Man, variously known as Michael Symonette, Maurice Woodside and Mikael Israel, holds up a sign as President Donald Trump speaks to a crowd at the Phoenix Convention Center during a rally on Tuesday in Phoenix, Arizona.  [Ralph Freso | Getty Images]