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  • Bill Chastain

Beloved Readers

Cleaning out a desk drawer, I came across a printout from a community file the sports department kept when I worked at The Tampa Tribune. Housed within were gems posed to writers and editors by readers, who called in to seek our wisdom.

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Keep in mind, the dumber the question the better the chances were that the question made our list. So on a Throwback Thursday, here were the staff’s favorites from 1992.

Caller: What time is it?

Editor: You called The Tampa Tribune sports department to ask what time it is?

Caller: Sure, I always call your outfit when I have questions. Jan. 5 – 2:26 p.m.

Caller: When they say there’s 2 minutes left in the game – 120 seconds, right? – as soon as they start running the clock, how come there’s 159 seconds left? (Editor issues explanation.) Jan. 9 – 4:04 p.m.

Caller: Is this Texas? Jan. 10 – 3:43 p.m.

Caller: How much does it cost to put an article in the paper? Jan. 15 – 5:05 p.m.

Caller: How do you get in contact with the Russians? I want to teach them how to play football. Jan. 17 – 4:40 p.m.

Caller: The Suncoast Dome? Is that the new Dome off I-275? Jan. 20 – 3:12 p.m.

Caller: What’s the name of the Orlando arena where the Magic play? (Answer: the Orlando Arena.) Feb. 3 – 8 p.m.

Caller: When does March Madness begin? Feb. 15 – 7:55 p.m.

Caller: That horse a couple of years ago from South Carolina in the Derby. What’s his name? Feb. 24 – 1:23 p.m.

Caller: Do you have a number for the Rangers’ spring training tickets?

Editor: Yes, it’s 625-9500.

Caller: And what is this number for again? Feb. 25 – 3:28 p.m.

Caller: How much does a hockey puck weigh? March 20 – 8:01 p.m.

Caller: We were watching Jeopardy!, and the question was whether “The Star-Spangled Banner” was a poem or not. What would you say it is? March 24 – 12:22 p.m.

Caller: Can you tell me the farthest the Spruce Goose ever flew? April 4 – 5:05 p.m.

(After a reader called about getting an address to write a letter about an Ira Kaufman column)

Caller: Isn’t Ira a girl’s name? Every person I ever knew named Ira was a girl.

Editor: It’s a man’s name. Besides, I don’t think he had any control over what he was named.

Caller: Yeah, I guess his parents wanted a girl. Or maybe he was a girl once. What do you think? April 7 – 11:56 a.m.

Caller: I was looking in your paper, and it says the Reds-Padres game will be shown tonight on Channel 38. What channel is that?

Editor: 38 April 8 – 10 a.m.

Caller: Yeah, how long is Nolan Ryan gonna be on the 15-day disabled list?

Editor: Uh, 15 days. April 20 – noon

Caller: How many touchdowns have been shown in the history of the NFL? May 12 – 3:35 p.m.

Caller: What do you wear to the Indy 500? May 18 – 6:45 p.m.

Caller: Can you settle an argument for me? Who was better, Magic Johnson or Oscar Robertson? Don’t you have the books there with the stats to say who’s better? May 23 – 9:37 a.m.

Caller: That GTE Family Fun Fest (Bucs season-tickets drive) … do you know if I can bring the family to that? May 28 – 2:26 p.m.

Caller: I’m trying to get a hold of George Steinbrenner and he’s not listed in the phone book under George. June 5 – 2:45 p.m.

Caller: When will the Braves be at Boston this year? June 20 – 12:35 a.m. (Remember, this was before Interleague play)

Caller: Do you have any results of the fight yet?

Editor: Holyfield won by decision.

Caller: Oh, yeah? What round? July 18 – 10:30 a.m.

Caller: Let me talk to Portuguese. (Bucs writer Nick Pugliese). Oct. 2 – 2:16 p.m.

Caller: What’s the number to the St. Petersburg Times? Oct. 11 – 1:48 p.m.

Caller: In the NFL last year, when they had an instant replay review of a play, what was that called?

Editor: Instant replay review. Oct. 22 – 1:45 p.m.

Caller: What’s the average rushing yards of all Monday Night Football games?

And sports writers are said to be chowder heads.

bchastain19@gmail.com

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©2020 by Bill Chastain. Photo credits: Jill Doty Photography