Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

nuts & bolts

Tampa Bay Lightning Nuts & Bolts

Sweet spot

D Matt Smaby said he was a power-hitting first baseman/catcher in high school and even led his team in home runs as a junior before a broken wrist playing hockey as a senior ended his career on the diamond.

There is not much to compare between the sports, Smaby said, but there is this: Hitting a baseball with the sweet spot of the bat is like getting hold of a puck on a slap shot. "When you catch them pure, the (puck) and a baseball, it almost feels like you're hitting nothing," he said. "It's satisfying. You don't even have to check where it's going. You know. Even a slap shot, you know when you catch (the puck). You know where it's going."

This game is aces

It's not surprising that C Dominic Moore, growing up in Thornhill, Ontario, played tennis only in the summer. It's a bit more surprising that he turned it into part of his offseason training program.

"It's kind of the perfect sport for cross-training for hockey because of the lateral movement and the similar kind of athletic maneuvers," Moore said. "I love the sport as much as hockey and still watch it whenever I can, too."

His favorite players?

I used to be a huge (Andre) Agassi fan," Moore said. "I like (Rafael) Nadal, but Roger (Federer) is my favorite guy right now."

A snoozer

LW Mattias Ritola went to his first baseball game in the summer of 2005 shortly after he was drafted in the fourth round by the Red Wings. Sitting in a suite with his fellow Detroit draftees, the Swede said the game was difficult to follow. "I didn't get it at all," Ritola said. "They tried to explain why he was hitting there, why that guy was running there. I just didn't get it. I almost fell asleep."

Has he come to appreciate the game?

"Actually," he said, "no, not really."

Quote to note

"It's the best game in the world. There are so many variations. You have to think five, six turns ahead. Sometimes you lose your pawns and you're screwed and the other guy has got you, but there is a way out, and I love that. Everything happens as a result of you thinking about it or not thinking about it. You have total responsibility."

Lightning coach Guy Boucher, on chess

5 questions | LW Johan Harju

What do you like most about the U.S.?

The weather here. It's great.

How cold can it get in Sweden?

Minus-30 (Celsius), with about 1 meter (39 inches) of snow.

Do you watch much television?

Mostly sports. I'm trying to learn football a little bit.

What sports do you watch back home?

I miss soccer. In Europe soccer is really big.

Do you have an appreciation for baseball?

I don't think it's fun at all. I don't understand why it's so big.

Tampa Bay Lightning Nuts & Bolts 11/20/10 [Last modified: Saturday, November 20, 2010 11:10pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays up next: vs. Blue Jays, 7:10 p.m. Tuesday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: Off

    Up next: vs. Blue Jays, 7:10 p.m. Tuesday, Tropicana Field.

  2. Tom Jones' Two Cents: Bucs, Jaguars both get blame for terrible preseason ratings

    TV and Radio

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst of a weekend in televised sports.

    Worst matchup

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) tries to get past Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Brian Dixon (41) and safety Barry Church (42) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack) JVS119
  3. Roger Mooney's takeaways from Sunday's Rays-Mariners game

    The Heater

    This is the Blake Snell everyone has been waiting for. Working off his fastball. Challenging hitters. Staying focused regardless of how many runners are on base. Snell has pitched at least six innings for three straight starts. He had a rough start to the year, but it looks like he has figured it out.

  4. Blake Snell shines as Rays beat Mariners to end skid (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Blake Snell delivered the best outing of his young career and the Rays offense continued its home run-hitting ways for a 3-0 victory Sunday against the Mariners in front of 13,354 at Tropicana Field.

    Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) with starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) after the top of the seventh inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017.
  5. Bucs' Demar Dotson should be back from injury next week


    The Bucs got good news on starting right tackle Demar Dotson, whose MRI showed only a mild right groin sprain and should be back at practice next week.

    Bucs tackle Demar Dotson, shown last year when he signed a three-year contract extension, should only miss a week of practice with his groin injury and can return healthy for the Bucs' season opener at Miami in three weeks. [Octavio Jones | Times]