It is time to start talking about the Tampa Bay Rays baseball franchise moving to Ybor.
The Tampa Bay Times, in an article written by Paul Gazzo, states that Ybor was once known as the Cigar Capital of the World, but has not been able to make that claim since the 1950s. The problem he suggests is that since the 1950s, Ybor hasn’t had an identity. His hope is that as the home of the Rays the city will resolve that problem.
The bigger issue is how do cities create an identity and what does that mean for those who live there?
Many cities have their identities handed to them by the industries that dominated their landscape. The skyscrapers of General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler loomed over Detroit, the Motor City. Iron forging factories sprung up along the rivers of Pittsburgh, the Steel City. The shadow of Mickey and of course it’s mother company Disney World influenced the development of Orlando as the most popular vacation destination on the globe. These and other industries have shaped the identity of cities.
There is nothing wrong with the relationship between industry and community. After all, it is our desire to bring a cigar renaissance to Tampa, to Ybor. However, we want that renaissance to embody certain values and to foster what is the best of who we are as people and celebrate that.
For Tabanero Cigars that means honoring tradition and the people who have gone before us. It means celebrating and sharing the cultures that are represented in Tampa. It means empowering both artisans and entrepreneurs to cultivate their crafts and ideas. It means striving for beauty in harmony with what we do and where we are. So, we welcome baseball and specifically the Tampa Bay Rays to Ybor. We also challenge and implore them to help us create an identity that embraces these values, the values that are present in every handmade cigar that we offer to you at Tabanero.
We strongly believe that Tampa will once again become the Cigar Capital of the World. Tabanero Cigars is working in harmony with others to make a network of artisan shops. Both baseball and cigars have a long and rich tradition in America. It seems only natural that the Rays will be playing in our backyard.
We look forward to the future possibilities.