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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.


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.

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