06/26/17 Lightning Strikes
Andy's in. Deservedly so. About time. Long overdue.
Now that that's finally out of the way, who's next?
Former Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk became the latest Tampa Bay sports star to be inducted into his sport's Hall of Fame. He joins a list of Tampa Bay Hall of Famers that includes Lee Roy Selmon, Derrick Brooks and Warren Sapp of the Bucs and Wade Boggs of the Rays....
The Hockey Hall of Fame class of 2017 will be announced at 3 p.m. today. It's a downright crime that former Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk still isn't in, and his chances today are iffy with those in the first year of eligibility, including Daniel Alfredsson and Teemu Selanne. Others still waiting to get in include Jeremy Roenick, Mark Recchi, Alexander Mogilny, Paul Kariya and Theo Fleury. The maximum number of male players that can get in is four....
06/25/17 TV and Radio
tom jones' two cents
Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.
Fun weekend to watch the Rays on Fox Sports Sun though the broadcast was missing its MVP: analyst Brian Anderson.
Anderson has been on vacation for the past week, but the broadcast team carried on without him, and carried on well. Orestes Destradre and Doug Waechter did admirable jobs filling in. Destrade has been on the Rays broadcasts for several years and does a good job on the pregame and postgame shows. Waechter has a bright future in the booth. ...
Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the world of sports.
The rest of the country still doesn't think much of the Bucs.
One list has Bucs fans ranked 25th out of the NFL's 32 teams. Coach Dirk Koetter is ranked 22nd among coaches by nfl.com. Quarterback Jameis Winston is ranked 22nd among MVP candidates by a Las Vegas sports book. And its mascot, Captain Fear, is ranked last by … well, okay, that one is my own official ranking....
06/22/17 The Heater
ST. PETERSBURG — I have no idea what to think about the Rays. Not a clue.
That's not what sports columnists are supposed to say.
We're supposed to have strong opinions. We're supposed to have hot takes. We're supposed to write like Stephen A. Smith talks.
Loudly and confidently and no one is going to tell us we're wrong. We're supposed to write in permanent marker, not pencils with big erasers....
06/21/17 The Heater
ST. PETERSBURG — When Kevin Kiermaier went down with an injury earlier this month, the Rays' season was supposed to go down with him.
That happened last year. Remember? The centerfielder missed two months and Tampa Bay fell off the face of the earth, going 14-34 in his absence. So when he went on the disabled list on June 9, many expected the Rays' engine to once again sputter, stall, crash and burn without its sparkplug....
Warren Sapp is the baddest man Tampa Bay has ever known.
Has there ever been a football player who was meaner? Tougher? More brash? More arrogant? More macho?
Sapp is the epitome of the perfect football player, exemplifying all the immense skill, courage and grit necessary to be a Hall of Famer.
But these days, the guy who was never afraid of anything is scared to death of the one thing he dominated....
Did you see? One of "our'' guys won golf's U.S. Open.
Brooks Koepka grew up in Palm Beach County. He won a Florida high school state golf title. He played at Florida State. His brother played at USF.
Good for him. Yay for us.
Okay, now that that's out of the way, here's what else happened over the weekend at the U.S. Open.
A whole lot of nothing.
We've seen the future of golf without Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. And I have one word....
06/18/17 TV and Radio
tom jones' two cents
Most polarizing coverage
This is the third year Fox has broadcast golf's U.S. Open, and reviews for the first two years were not good. So how did this year go?
First, the field did the TV network absolutely no favors. The leaderboard was full of unknowns, save for Rickie Fowler. Big names including Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Jason Day missed the cut. Phil Mickelson withdrew to attend his daughter's high school graduation, and Tiger Woods is still out....
TAMPA — The hot summer sun was beating down on the final day of Bucs mini-camp.
Coach Dirk Koetter made a deal: If kickers Roberto Aguayo and Nick Folk make two field goals each without missing, practice is over.
Both did their job and the giddy players mobbed the kickers, cheering at the chance to knock off 20 minutes early....
06/15/17 Lightning Strikes
Jonathan Drouin is a decent NHL player on his way to being a good NHL player.
He might even turn out to be a very good player.
But it won't be for the Lightning.
And that's fine.
Au revoir, Jonathan, and don't let the Zamboni door hit you on the way out of town. Then again, if the Zamboni door is in the defensive end, there's no chance Drouin will be anywhere near it.
Don't fret, Lightning fans. Don't lose sleep. This is all going to work out just fine....
So what does it all mean?
For Golden State? For LeBron? For us?
The NBA season is over. Warriors-Cavs, Part III punctuated one of the most memorable, if not competitive, seasons in league history. Golden State won its second championship in three seasons in a five-game series that had only two close games....
06/12/17 Lightning Strikes
The Nashville Predators got hosed and the NHL got embarrassed. And, oh, the Pittsburgh Penguins won the Stanley Cup.
That's what happened Sunday night. Too bad that one of the most special moments in sports — the presentation of the coolest trophy there is — was more ammunition for those who think the NHL is rinky-dink league and the latest example for conspiracy theorists who believe the NHL is rigged to favor the Penguins....
06/11/17 TV and Radio
Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.
Good for ABC NBA analyst Jeff Van Gundy (right). The best basketball announcer in the business blasted those who tied the playing woes of the Cavs' Tristan Thompson to Thompson's relationship with reality star Khloe Kardashian (below). Van Gundy called that "downright low-rent.''...
06/10/17 The Heater
ST. PETERSBURG — Let's play two.
And let's do it again. And again.
The Rays hosted a doubleheader Saturday at the Trop. A real doubleheader. It even said "DH'' on the pocket schedule and everything. Now that it's over, the only question I have is: When are we going to do it again?
It felt like the 1970s all over again. That's the last time anyone cared about doubleheaders. That's what made Saturday so special. It was throwback day at the yard....