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We're on the hook for their luxuries

This was a more predictable reaction than the coffee klatch on The View demanding the titillating tweeting New York Rep. Anthony Weiner be burned at the BlackBerry.

No doubt many residents of Hills­borough County awoke the other morning to read they are on the hook for $7.8 million in improvements for Hellooooo Sucker Stadium, the home of the Fighting Prima Donnas of Dale Mabry.

The funds will be spent to enhance the 195 luxury suites at the facility (you know, the ones you'll never set foot in), including $597,200 for new carpeting. What's there now probably has been stained over the years from all that foie gras spilling off the china.

Another $2.3 million will be forked over for furnishings, so the swells can watch the Tampa Bay Bucks march to glory in comfort. Then there is $225,940 for replacement icemakers, which is only understandable since, let's face it, a mojito is so declasse without the proper chilling. Finally there is the $225,940 for upgraded refrigerators, presumably to keep the caviar and Stilton cheese at just the right serving temperature.

It is only proper that the owners of the Fighting Monsters of Himes Avenue, Malcolm Glazer and his sons, Moral and Hazard, will pay not one red cent for all the fancy-pants renovations. And why should they, when they have you, and you and you to pick up the tab?

If you read some of the outraged online comments about the remodeling out at Three Card Monte Coliseum, you saw references to the millions to be spent to improve the living conditions for swankified patrons as nothing more than "corporate welfare," the highway robbery of the great unwashed, and various screeds decrying the abuses of the poor by the rich. Well isn't that the poor are for, anyway?

Not surprisingly, one writer tried to blame it all on President Barack Obama's Marxist/Socialist/Kenyan master plan to destroy — hand over heart, please — America. Who knows? Maybe.

For all of you folks who have gotten your bloomers fully wadded over the idea Malcolm Glazer and his kids, Lilo and Stitch, somehow pulled a fast one on the community, just two words: shut up!

As a matter of fact, they did indeed regard the community as chumps and they got away with it. So please, pipe down! The residents of Hillsborough County were more than willing dupes in conning themselves when it came to keeping the Fighting Mug Shots of Martin Luther King Boulevard in Tampa.

It was the body politic of Hillsborough County that voted 53-47 percent in 1996 to tax themselves in the delusional belief unless they approved funding for Wanna Buy a Duck Field, the Fighting Miranda Rules of the Big Guava would leave and Tampa would descend into Deadwood meets Port-au-Prince.

At the time, while scribbling away at a local pamphlet, I, along many other of my ink-stained brethren across Tampa Bay, repeatedly attempted to point out the deal was for much more than a new $170 million Nigerian Sweepstakes Stadium to replace a perfectly functioning and nearly paid-off existing football field.

The voters had access to plenty of information that they would also be on the hook for a new, multimillion-dollar training facility for the Fighting Divas of the Gridiron. They also knew Glazer and his bouncing bundles of joy, Monte and Carlo, would receive the lion's share of all revenue, including money from non-football events and almost all parking fees, while ponying up almost nothing in return.

But the public didn't care, or at least 53 percent of the voting public didn't care. And now we have Teapot Dome Park, home to the Fighting Blackouts of the Subtropics.

So please spare me all the whining that the public is somehow being ripped off by a greedy football team owner and his precious lads, Pan and Handle. The public was more than happy to have their pockets picked for the sake of keeping the Fighting Concussions of One Bucs Bunker in place.

It probably matters little that Malcolm Glazer once promised to pay for half of DeLorean Motors Stadium and has reneged on his part of the deal for 16 years. This is a surprise? — especially since hardly anyone believed he would keep his word in the first place?

So huff and puff and stammer and fulminate all you want. The improvements are going to be made to the luxury boxes, and you are going to pay for it, even if you never attend a game at BP Park.

As for the Glazers, perhaps they might deign to offer a royal wave of thanks to the masses below from their new and improved suite. It's the least they could do.

We're on the hook for their luxuries 06/09/11 [Last modified: Thursday, June 9, 2011 5:12pm]

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