Martin Fennelly, Sports Columnist

Martin Fennelly

Sports Columnist

I was born in Queens, a New York City borough, and can still remember my dad taking us to the airport. Where we’d lie on the roof of the family wagon and hear the blood roar of planes as they landed. Then we’d get Carvel. Life remains that simple to me, even after all these years, including the last two at the Times, where I began in May 2016. I’m not lying on a roof, but in 27 years writing sports in Tampa Bay (including a quarter century stint at the Tampa Tribune), I’ve seen the great and the not so great. But I’ve always enjoyed the human element running through these games and the people who play them. Telling their stories and others is still as fresh, as meaningful, as rewarding to me as ever. And then I get Carvel.

The fights that changed sports

Tampa Bay Rays pitcher James Shields, right, takes a swing at Boston Red Sox's Coco Crisp after Crisp was hit by a pitch and charged the mound in the second inning of a 2008 game. The altercation is credited with setting the tone for the Rays run to the World Series. TIME FILES/AP
Fights dot and sometimes litter sports history. Here are some game-changers.

40 years later, ‘The Fight’ still makes NASCAR go

Bobby Allison, left, stands over Cale Yarborough after a collision between Yarborough and Bobbie's brother Donnie on the last lap of the 1979 Daytona 500 auto race. Donnie, who led the race until the collision with Yarborough, said Yarborough,
The Allisons-Yarborough Daytona 500 feud propelled the sport

The archives at the Daytona 500: A place where time stands still

Sir Malcolm Campbell’s long, sleek “Bluebird 3,” which he used to set land speed records on the hard sand beaches at Daytona in 1932, is one of the many treasures in the International Speedway Corporation Archives & Research Center. [Photo courtesy of  International Speedway Corporation Archives & Research Center]
The archives and research center at Daytona draws pilgrims every day

Aric Almirola’s nightmare lives, but so does the dream

Tampa's Aric Almirola is back at the Daytona 500 one year after a late crash cost him a chance to win the race of his dreams. [Times files (2017)]
Tampa’s Aric Almirola was a mile from winning the Daytona 500 last year. He didn’t. But he carried on.

Spurrier off to fast start in new AAF

Orlando Apollos coach Steve Spurrier acknowledges fans in the stands after the team's Alliance of American Football game against the Atlanta Legends on Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
The former Gators coach doesn’t miss a beat in Orlando team’s opener