Ask Gary: Once again, the Juice is loose

by Gary Shelton on July 22, 2017 · 0 comments

in College Sports in Florida, general, NFL, Tampa Bay Bucs, Tampa Bay Rays

(Each week, the readers take over and play Ask Gary. They send in a question, or a couple, on Thursday night or Friday morning and we all talk about the world of sports.  Think of it as a radio show where you don't have to be on hold. Join us and ask a question, make a comment or be funny. Send the questions to

Saturday, 4 a.m.

Now that O.J. has been granted parole, will the Bucs sign him to play the first 3 games of the 2017 season until Doug Martin gets back?

Scott Myers

I think it's a fine idea if Simpson can ride in the back of his slow Bronco as he runs. Maybe he can even stop by McDonald's, seeing as how he has time to kill.

Yeah, let the jokes flow, because that's Simpson's true punishment for his crimes. He traded it all in to be a laughing stock.

I know, I know. Simpson was found not guilty of murder in his first trial. But you know, Lizzie Borden was found not guilty, as were the Chicago Black Sox. There are times that society looks past a jury's decision. It happened with Robert Blake, too. Coverage of a trial, especially O.J.'s, is

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so widespread that a viewer can see as much (more in some cases, since juries are sequestered) as the peers who sit in judgment.

I understand the politics that surrounded Simpson's trial. I understand it meant a great many things about our justice system beyond Simpson. But if you can whittle the evidence down, I thought he was guilty. I didn't want to think that at first, but I don't understand how a jury could just ignore DNA evidence that was so strong.

These days, I imagine O.J. has lost his speed and his elusiveness. But, heck, Martin doesn't have a great amount of either, does he? I think if the offensive line can move the pile a little bit, Simpson will be okay for three games. I mean, what could happen?

The Nationals pulled off a big trade deadline deal this week. Do you expect to see a bunch more of these involving the Yankees, Red Sox, and the other usual suspects?

Larry Beller

I think so. When a team like the Yankees or the Red Sox doesn't have to even consider money, then it's always a temptation to reload halfway through a season.

One deterrent, however, is that so many teams are still in the race, they might be less tempted to deal. But there are enough who believe the season has given up on them: The White Sox, the A's, the Giants.

I know the history of the Rays is that they haven't done much at the trading deadline. This year tells you why. Do you really want to give up an elite prospect you'd have for years for a rental player who is gone in a few months (at most a year and a half)? I think you'd have to be convinced that he's going to help you get to the post-season.

I read a lot of the Detroit rumors about Justin Wilson this week, and the fans of the Tigers think they're going to get Willie Adames or Jake Bauers. I can't see either. The team has spent too much time trying to rebuild its farm system to give one of them away for, what, 35 innings?

I've been wrong before, and the Rays have done wrong before. But I think the team will settle for a different reliever at a lesser price.

Just a few short years ago, the lowest priced ticket for a Bucs' regular season game was $30.

Now we read the following at <ahref="">

As an added incentive to buy season tickets or five-game miniplans, the Bucs will have higher individual ticket prices -- $70 for the least expensive upper-level seats instead of the $50 rate by season passes -- for their three most coveted home games this season, against the Patriots, Giants and Bears. The remaining games will be at a higher cost -- $60 each as a starting point -- than what is available through season passes.

So does that mean that 'Joe Six-pack' has doubled his income in the last 3 years?

Scott Myers

No, it doesn't. It means that Joe Six-pack is at home watching the game on TV and leaving the big-money guys to buy the tickets.

When I covered the Dolphins, I reported that Joe Robbie (the team owner) was the first guy in the league not to offer a ticket less than $20. Robbie didn't seem that upset by the notion. He said his team offered a better product. He was a typical owner. He wanted his fans to see the game only by coming, and to come, he wanted them to pay the most money he could get.

I'm sure that's what the Glazers are counting on. They expect a better offense, and they think people will pay to see it. Again, I'm not joking. People underestimate the value of watching on TV.  You get replays, no bathroom lines and it's only a few steps to the refrigerator.

I used to think that fans who didn't go didn't care as much as the ones who do. But it isn't that. We are all on a budget, aren't we? We pick more carefully if we go at all.

Now that O.J. may be living in St. Pete, can we also expect to see Kato Kaelin parking cars at the Vinoy?

Given the Rays' perpetual problems, one solution might be to hire O.J. to be at all the home games -- he'll draw a crowd.

Barry McDowell

I thought Kato was going to be working at Biff Burger taking sandwich orders. Or he was going to be at Wiki-Wachee as one of the mermaids.

It wouldn't surprise me if Simpson wanted to move here. The weather is warm, the golf courses are plentiful and there is an airport so he can continue his search for the real killers.

When I lived in Columbus Georgia, Lt. William Calley lived there, so I've been around a bit of scandal. And St. Pete is quiet enough, if Simpson desires that. After years in the clink, maybe he does. He could even go see O.J. Howard play on Sunday.

But that's the question, isn't it? Does O.J. want quiet? Or does he want the paparazzi trailing behind him and having reporters from TMZ shout out questions? I kind of suspect he wants a camera on him.

It's all there for O.J. He can become a recluse, or he can try to get one last Naked Gun movie financed. "Naked Gun 4: Nordberg's Revenge."

I guess the Bucs are still not having Fan Fest this year?  Any idea how many season tickets they have sold for this season?

Jim Willson

If you remember, I talked to Jason Licht about being asked about Fan Fest last year, and he was of the opinion that with free practices, the Bucs didn't really need a Fan Fest. He didn't think they sold enough tickets to make it worthwhile.

I'm not sure I agree with him. If you play, say, the team's highlight film from a  year ago on those great new screens, I think you could make it a fun event for the fans. Maybe you would have a practice with it, and maybe you wouldn't. But I get the impression from the community that people would like to see this team on the field as soon as possible.

I don't think it would take much, and I don't even think you have to wear the players out with autographs. Just make it a Bucs' appreciation day. Stick a microphone out there and let Licht and Dirk Koetter talk to the people. Show game films of DeSean Jackson and O.J. Howard. Have some Ring of Honor guys around. Sell concessions. Folks will be chomping at the bit for camp to get started.

 Hearing anything on the Rays stadium search ... other than crickets?

Jim Willson

I can't even get the crickets to speak up, Jim. It's an eternal wait.

Tampa commissioner Ken Hagen said recently that an announcement was close. But would Hagan be the one making an announcement? Wouldn't that come from the team?

More telling, perhaps, was that the MLB commissioner, talking to the media at the all-star game, didn't seem frustrated at all by the process. If he isn't, then Stu Sternberg isn't.

Right now, the team is just house-shopping. And as long as that house isn't in Montreal, I don't think we need to get worried. But what happens if the team can't get financing where it wants the team? What if it has to settle for its third- or fourth-favorite site? There could still be battles ahead.

I'm sure I'm like you. The waiting is the hardest part. It's time we were at the next step in this process so fans can decide if it's a good idea, and how much it's going to cost, and how much the taxpayers are going to be asked to spend. There will be fans who oppose any site at all that includes taxes, and those who think it's a worthwhile expense.

Either way, the silence is deafening.


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