The Tampa Tribune

Hopping Mad

By Steve Otto
Tampa Tribune Columnist

Monday, December 8, 1997
Dominoes lining up on Bayshore

They were all out there, the runners and the walkers. There were the in-line skaters, sleekly whipping around the more sedate strollers while at the same time trying to avoid getting garroted on the leash of someone walking a dog.

There were the serious walkers, thrusting their arms out while marching to unheard music plugged into the headphones on their ears, and the less serious, more concerned with making it to the next bench.

All in all, it was a spectacular sight on a spectacular weekend as the multitude celebrated the cold snap and blue skies along the sweep of Bayshore Boulevard.

About the only things around to mar the parade were the signs of impending construction as developers marked out new plots for another round of condominiums.

But that no longer seems to be an issue. Now it seems inevitable that ultimately the condo towers will ring Hillsborough Bay from the Davis Islands bridge all the way to Ballast Point.

I recall several months ago when the Architectural Review Commission spent hours discussing the merits of a proposed circular driveway that Lazy Days RV Center owner Don Wallace wanted for his new mansion now under construction on Bayshore.

At the same time, 20- and 30- story towers are being approved for construction on the Bayshore almost as a matter of course. We've given up the ship.

The dream that Bayshore might somehow retain its gentle character now has been replaced with the belief that, sooner or later, it will look like a row of dominoes leading into town.

Hopping mad

Speaking of tradition, a group has organized to protest the proposed demolition of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. I know, it's hard even for me to believe.

Apparently the Disney people are planning on replacing the Mr. Toad ride at the Orlando theme park with a Winnie-the-Pooh attraction.

Nothing against Pooh, but Mr. Toad is what the Magic Kingdom is all about. The Associated Press reports that a group of protesters was expected to show up Sunday in front of the ride wearing "Save Mr. Toad" T-shirts.

Go for it.

Don Zimmer - linguist

Finally, in an effort to boost this column's standing in local English classes, this story from last week's Gold Shield breakfast.

The breakfast is the annual meeting of the Gold Shield Foundation, which provides scholarships to children of police and firefighters who have lost their lives. Sponsored by George Steinbrenner, this year's breakfast featured major league umpire Richie Garcia, who talked about calling a game with Don Zimmer coaching from the dugout.

Zimmer, the great coach who now works the bench for the Yankees, currently lives in Clearwater, as does Garcia. They must work on this act during the off season. He was also at the breakfast and not only introduced Garcia but then had to listen to the story.

Garcia recalled a game where Zimmer was, as usual, sitting at the end of the dugout bench talking loudly. Apparently this time he was giving Garcia a hard time over his calls. "Where was that pitch at?" he would holler from the dugout. "Where was that pitch at?"

Finally, during a break between innings, Garcia motioned to Zimmer to come over. When Zimmer stood there, Garcia asked, "Don, don't you know it's incorrect to end a sentence with a preposition?"

Zimmer stared back at the umpire. "OK Garcia," he snarled. "Where was that ball at, butthead?"
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