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His Column on Williams Gets a Cold Shoulder

What managed to get Citrus Hill-area residents in Florida so angry wasn’t the headline in the Boston Globe.

Nor was it the first paragraph or the second or third. It was the ninth, and quite humorous one, of a column by the Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy, dateline Hernando, Fla., suggesting it might be time to move the Ted Williams museum from Florida to Boston.

“With [Williams’ son] John Henry out of the picture, it’s a good time to move the museum,” Shaughnessy wrote. “The entire Citrus Hills region feels depressed. One hundred miles northwest of Orlando, 80 miles north of Tampa, it’s a dreary landscape of orange groves, tattoo parlors, bail bond shops and Circle Ks.”

Reaction was swift when the column was reprinted locally. Residents voiced outrage and directed discontent to local tourism associations and the Globe in Boston. Shaughnessy was quoted for his reaction to the reaction.

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Citrus County Commissioner Josh Wooten wrote to the Globe and was interviewed by the St. Petersburg Times, saying: “He made us look like a bunch of hayseeds in the middle of a depressed area.... Maybe he was in a bad mood because he knew he had to go back to Boston and shovel snow.”

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Add insults: Firing barbs at local communities is practically a long-standing tradition. Readers of this newspaper don’t need to be reminded of that. Legendary Times columnist Jim Murray turned it into an art form.

So it’s certainly worth looking back at one of his civic shots:

“San Francisco is not so much a city as a myth,” Murray wrote. “It is in the United States but not of it. It is so civilized, it would starve to death if it didn’t get a salad or the right wine. It fancies itself Camelot, but comes off more like Cleveland. Its legacy to the world is the quiche.”

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Trivia time: What division did the Tampa Bay Buccaneers play in during their first NFL season in 1976?

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Smash-mouth baseball: Minnesota Twin pitcher Mike Fetters explained his attitude toward the game. His tough-looking appearance on the mound actually has more to do with health than anything else.

“I’ve always had the look, the stare, the glare,” Fetters told Associated Press. “But that other stuff I use to try to control my breathing.

“It doesn’t work all the time, but it helps. There are times when I’m out there and the adrenaline rush is going I can’t breathe. It helps me to try to slow things down.”

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Treadmill times: When it comes to the game of evaluating, recruiting and signing high school talent, 24/7 is the mantra of assistant football coaches.

“I have a picture in my office of a guy who hasn’t shaved and looks like a bum,” Pittsburgh assistant Bob Junko told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “It’s the same thing with recruiting. If you don’t do it every day, you’re going to look like a bum.”

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Trivia answer: Tampa Bay was in the AFC West in 1976. It moved to the NFC Central in 1977.

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And finally: George Steinbrenner gave Joe Torre that dreaded vote of confidence, saying: “He’s as safe as any manager in baseball. He’s a great manager. He’s my friend. I rely on him. He was never a question.”


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