TAMPA, Fla. — So I’m meandering around Radio Row at the Super Bowl’s Media Center Wednesday afternoon, looking for the odd, the strange, and the curious.
That doesn’t count the radio guys themselves, who talk way too loudly. Don’t they know they’re using microphones? Does the screaming make for better radio in Sacramento and Buffalo and Baltimore?
Anyway, I saw a guy who was about 7-foot tall and 400 pounds. This, I said to myself, is someone famous. And if not famous, he was certainly someone big.
It turns out his name was Alfonso Redic. I Googled him and got nothing. Nothing. How does any name combination not produce something on Google? Especially when a guy is 7-foot, 400 pounds.
I know that’s his name, too, because it said so on his Super Bowl guest badge, and you can’t be using an alias to get one of those. Even Fox Sports Radio’s JT The Brick has to go by his real name, which is John something-or-other.
Who really cares? If a guy calls himself a brick, he’s probably a brick.
Anyway, Redic is a bodyguard for Floyd Mayweather Jr., the retired boxer who won all 39 of his fights and still found time to be eliminated from “Dancing With the Stars.”
Mayweather is a raconteur these days. He was on Radio Row to go from show to show to promote his party in Tampa Friday night called “Champion’s Ball.”
Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr. hosts the sexiest star studded event, said the cards his people were distributing.
You know it’s a party, because Doug E. Fresh is co-hosting.
Among the guests I’ve heard of are Vivica A. Fox, Jim McMahon, and, uh, people whose names don’t ring a bell with me. Like Jackie Long, who Google says is the former boyfriend of Venus Williams.
And Taraji P. Henson, who is an honest-to-goodness Academy Award nominee for best supporting actress in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.” OK, I’ll give Floyd that one.
Keyshia Cole and Robin Thicke are also on the party’s lineup of stars, and I can only imagine the head-shaking that comes from the admission I don’t know either. I’d go to this thing to introduce myself, but general admission is $250 and the VIP package is $650.
The VIPs get after-hours breakfast starting at 4 a.m.
The party is at the Cuban Club in Ybor City, a tourist district in Tampa. I was at the Cuban Club Tuesday night for the Super Bowl’s media party. It was more than a media party, really. It was everyone-who-lives-in-Tampa-and-St. Patersburg-and-maybe-even-Clearwater.
I wandered to the outdoor area in the back of the four-level club, and a rock band was pumping out familiar songs. The band was loud. It seemed competent enough.
It dawned on me that all the songs I recognized were .38 Special songs. “Caught Up in You,” “Hold on Loosely,” and others I couldn’t name the title of, but sure knew.
It then dawned on me this was .38 Special. Once a big act. Now playing private parties for people more concerned with getting free cheese raviolis, beef empanadas, and mojitos.
It made me sad, so I finished my raviolis and empanadas and got the heck out of there.
All kinds of other parties will be here this weekend, parties with special invitations and absurdly high admission prices. Needless to say, I won’t be at any.
That makes me sad, too.