(photo by Greg Fiume)
How would you like to hear about the time I legitimately thought my buddy was going to come to blows with a member of the San Francisco Giants at a hockey game? Is that something you’d be interested in hearing about?
Yeah, needless to say my Game 2 experience was probably a little bit different than any other blogger’s.
Let me preface what I’m about to say by openly admitting I have a unique relationship with the Tampa Bay sports scene.
This dates back to Jan. 7, 2006, when I decided to take my wife to the Washington Redskins’ first playoff game of Joe Gibbs 2.0 – a matchup with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
On that day, I opted to rock my Sean Taylor jersey for the special occasion (which becomes noteworthy in a moment).
The Redskins got off to a fast start that day thanks to an interception by linebacker-turned-radio host LaVar Arrington that set up a six-yard touchdown by running back Clinton Portis and a 51-yard fumble return for a touchdown by Taylor.
The Redskins, back in the postseason for the first time since 1999, were up 14-0 before the first quarter even ended and life couldn’t have been better.
At this point, I decided to have a little fun with the locals by turning around and playfully asking “Do you mind if we fire off your cannons, since you’re not using them?”
Now, if you’re not familiar with Raymond James Stadium, it’s the only venue around that has a pirate ship built into the stadium. And yes, that pirate ship has cannons that the Bucs fire off whenever they put points on the board.
So you can imagine how thrilled the locals were with my smart-ass comment. And when Taylor was ejected a little bit later in the game for spitting in the face of Buccaneers running back Michael Pittman … well … it’s safe to say the Bucs fans let me hear about it.
By the time the game ended and the Redskins had emerged victorious 17-10, the crowd had gotten hostile – with more than a few Bucs fans basically looking for me to give them a reason to start something.
For once, I was smart enough to keep my mouth shut as we got the hell out of there and enjoyed the victory with fellow ‘Skins fans, but there were definitely a few moments there when I thought I may end up taking a sucker punch from a pissed off Tampa fan for drawing attention to myself earlier in the evening.
Fast forward to Sunday night, when the Washington Capitals hosted the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Verizon Center in Game 2 of their second-round series.
This time around, I was a model citizen as I watched the game with my wife and a few friends in a luxury suite. The same could not be said for San Francisco Giants first baseman Aubrey Huff.