TAMPA, Fla. — I went to the Philadelphia Flyers-Tampa Bay Lightning game Friday night.
Why? The ticket was free, the arena is a block from my hotel, and it was actually a good place to escape the zooiness and claustrophobia of what’s going on around here for a few hours.
In walking toward the Channelside restaurant/nightclub district before the game, a long line snaked down a sidewalk. People were waiting to get into the Bud Bowl, which is no longer an animated television commercial, but instead a concert event of some sort.
Snoop Dogg was the master of ceremonies. And like I said, people were lined up for a long way, waiting to get in. My theory: People love Snoop Dogg.
But … that doesn’t mean it was solid gold box office. Lots of would-be scalpers were on street corners looking forlorn, unable to dispose of Bud Bowl tickets. They were asking $20 a throw at 7:30 p.m., and getting no takers that I saw.
Geez, people down here are spending $20 just to talk to someone about paying much-higher cover charges.
Inside the arena, the Flyers beat the home team like a rented mule, 6-1. Late in the first period, the public-address announcer told the crowd that former Secretary of State Condolezza Rice was in the building, and they showed her on the video screens above the ice.
Some people cheered. It sounded like more folks booed. Either that, or they booed louder than the cheerers cheered. It wasn’t like they really, really booed her. But it was still sort of uncomfortable to witness.
In the grand tradition of public figures, Rice had a big smile and acted as if everyone was applauding.
I don’t know how Snoop Dogg’s Bud Bowl went. I’ll bet he didn’t get booed, though. Except from the scalpers.
By the way, Condi is a candidate to become the next Pacific-10 Conference commissioner. Wonder how that would go over with the people of, say, Berkeley and Eugene?