If attendance at Buccaneers and Rays games gave any indication, one would think that Tampa Bay fans aren’t exactly serious about their professional teams. That may be true, but as the bandwagon fills up for the Lightning, it’s definitely not true at the moment. And these Lightning fans are prepared to go to whatever lengths to prove it. Just ask staffers at TD Garden in Boston. They know all about this new breed of serious Tampa Bay fans.
The Stanley Cup-chasing Boston Bruins removed a billboard poking fun at Tampa Bay fans after staffers at the TD Garden got harassing phone calls — and even some death threats — from enraged Lightning lovers.
Bruins spokesguy Matt Chmura told the Track that a Tampa Bay radio station gave out the phone numbers to the Bruins front office and staffers were inundated with calls from Lightning fans protesting a billboard at the Garden that read, “The Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot, Tampa Bay Lightning Fans.”
“They were homophobic, racist and went as far as death threats,” Chmura said. “At the end of the day, we don’t want to put our staff through that. We want them to be comfortable. So we just decided to take (the billboard) down.”
So just how did normally uninterested Tampa Bay fans suddenly become so interested? And in a billboard at that? It’s all part of radio host’s mission that he compares to the Navy Seal’s Bin Laden mission.
Yes, I just wrote that.
The brouhaha began earlier this week when Tampa Bay rock radio bomb-tosser Cowhead, aka Mike Calta, fired up his listeners to call the Bruins marketing department to protest the billboard. On Wednesday, the team took it down.
“In a swift and strong attack we showed the Bruins organization that not only do we exist, but we are ready to fight for our team,” Calta told the St. Petersburg Times. “We moved in like Seal Team 6 and shut them down in a way that other teams they attacked have never been able to do.”
See happens when the bandwagon begins to fill up? The crazies show up.