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Martin Fennelly, Times Sports Columnist

Martin Fennelly

Martin Fennelly is a sports columnist for the Tampa Bay Times. He was born in New York City, raised on Long Island and was sitting in the bleachers at Yankee Stadium, minding his own business, when Reggie Jackson hit three home runs in one night to beat the Dodgers in the 1977 World Series. Prior to joining the Times, he worked as a columnist for the Tampa Tribune, St. Louis Sun and Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Martin graduated from the University of Albany, where he studied history, and attended the University of Missouri Graduate School of Journalism. He lives in Lutz with his wife, Siobhan, their children, Conor and Norah, and, at present, five cats.

Phone: (727) 893-8495

  1. Fennelly: It's April and the NFL still owns your soul ... just admit it


    It is that time of year. That Mel and Todd time of year. That 14,000 hours of continuous NFL Network coverage time of year. I remain bedridden from the network's "preseason schedule" special.

    It's that time of year, when the National Football League reminds us who runs the sports world. Here are four words that should send you scurrying to build a backyard underground shelter: seven-round mock drafts....

    Workmen construct the stage for the upcoming 2017 NFL football draft on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art in view of the Rocky statue in Philadelphia, Wednesday, April 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) PX105
  2. Fennelly: Jameis, just avoid the Island of Misfit Toys (w/video)


    TAMPA — Jameis Winston arrived at One Buc Place on Monday for the start of the team's offseason conditioning program.

    Winston's optimism is Week 1 ready.

    "I'm going to be excited, man," Winston said. "I'm dreaming right now."

    Now it's the long road to making dreams a reality.

    The Bucs appear to be clearing the deck, removing all obstacles for their third-year franchise quarterback in the name of the playoffs and his progress. They signed DeSean Jackson. Next Thursday night, Winston might get another early Christmas present in the NFL draft, possibly a running back or tight end, maybe even his former Florida State teammate, Dalvin Cook....

    As an NFC South quarterback, Jameis Winston has some very tough acts to keep up with.
  3. Fennelly: One-handed pitcher Kevin Ewing a perfect inspiration


    ST. PETERSBURG — It happens a lot when he pitches. And he loves it.

    "I'll hear the other team in the dugout," 18-year-old Kevin Ewing said. "They'll say 'He's left-handed. … No, he's right-handed. … No, he's left-handed.' My movement is pretty quick.

    "There was an umpire who was convinced I was ambidextrous. I had a coach one summer, we played 20 games, and it was 18 games in when we were working on a hidden-ball trick and he finally realized I only had the one hand. It was awesome. It was funny. Pretty entertaining."...

    Kevin Ewing laughs in the dugout with his teammates during a baseball game between Lakewood High and Inspiration Academy of Bradenton at Lake Vista Sports Complex in St. Petersburg on April 5, 2017. Ewing, who was born without his right hand, is the starting pitcher for the team.
  4. Fennelly: Tampa Bay, like many others, had a friend in Dan Rooney (w/ video)


    Dan Rooney died Thursday. The Pittsburgh Steelers chairman helped make that franchise a six-time Super Bowl winner and a model of consistency. He helped grow the NFL, too. He was a voice of reason among NFL owners on a number of issues, including minority hiring. Football had a friend in Dan Rooney.

    "Pittsburgh certainly did," said Pro Football Hall of Famer and former Bucs coach Tony Dungy said of the 84-year-old Rooney. "And just people in general. Dan was so much about doing the right thing and listening to people and making good decisions."...

    FILE--This Nov. 2, 2014 file photo shows Pittsburgh Steelers Pro Football Hall of Famer Joe Greene, left, hugging Steelers chairman Dan Rooney following a ceremony to retire Greene's jersey number 75 at half time of an NFL football game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens, in Pittsburgh. The Steelers announced that Mr. Rooney died Thursday, April 13, 2017. He was 84. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar/File) PAGP102
  5. Fennelly: Lights, camera ... crickets? Charlie Strong adjusts to different fan base at USF


    TAMPA — Where are the cameras?

    USF football coach Charlie Strong has asked that more than once after one of his open spring practices, a fresh slant for him, intended to let the media in to see his Bulls. But the cameras haven't been there a lot. Um, same goes for sports columnists. Strong wonders: Where is everybody, anyway?

    He comes from a short, rough tenure at Texas, a school with a 100,000-seat stadium and its own TV network. Those Longhorn Network cameras were always there. As for the rest of the cameras, they were outside looking in. Closed spring workouts....

     Charlie Strong says he couldn’t hold open practices when he coached Texas because it would’ve been a distraction. But at USF, that’s not the problem. Creating a buzz is.
  6. Do Bucs and FSU fans like the idea of Dalvin Cook through the Tallahassee pipeline?


    Hey, FSU/Bucs fans, we're reporting from the Tampa Bay Times Draft Central analysis center (we have lights, bells, printouts and everything).

    I'm here to ask Florida State and Bucs fans a question:

    How do you feel about the Bucs possibly having another high-profile Seminole, running back Dalvin Cook, in their sights for a third straight year?

    The Bucs have gone Jameis Winston at No. 1 and took kicker Roberto Aguayo in the second round. Is it a good or bad thing if the Bucs turn into Little Tallahassee?...

  7. Your intention, please: Look what baseball's done to the intentional walk

    The Heater

    History occurred last Saturday night at Tropicana Field. Play wasn't stopped. No one asked for the ball.

    Rays hitter Corey Dickerson walked to the plate in the 11th inning of a 2-2 game. Toronto Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin stopped him.

    "Get out of here," Martin said.

    Dickerson had just been intentionally walked.

    As he reached first, he heard the first baseman.

    "Keep on going," the voice said....

    Tampa Bay Rays' Evan Longoria, right, reacts while being intentionally walked as Toronto Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia throws the ball back to the mound during the sixth inning of a baseball game in St. Petersburg, Fla., Sunday, Aug. 18, 2013.
  8. Martin Fennelly's takeaways from Sunday's Rays-Blue Jays game

    The Heater

    The streaking Steven Souza Jr. had the big bop Sunday, a three-run homer — his first of the season — an inning after he and Jays SS Troy Tulowitzki jawed after a late Souza slide into second base and Tulowitzki in the second. Benches cleared. An inning later, bases cleared, courtesy of Souza.

    Jake Odorizzi, who lost his first start, came back strong after a two-run first. He was on his game as he shut the Jays down after that, allowing no hits and facing the minimum in his final five innings. This despite taking a smashed Jose Bautista one-hopper to his hamstring in the third (Odorizzi pounced on the ball and threw Bautista out)....

     New Tampa Bay Times sports columnist Martin Fennelly.
  9. Fennelly: Steven Souza Jr. continues sizzling start for Rays

    The Heater

    Break up Steven Souza Jr.

    One inning after the annual bench-clearing argument between the Rays outfielder and Blue Jays shortstop and royal pain Troy Tulowitzki, Souza got the best of Tulo, just like he keeps getting the best of this young season.

    It's a small sampling, but it beats the previous Souza model, the one that Rays fans had grown weary of across two injury-infested, strikeout-filled seasons, that faraway look as Souza trudged away from the plate....

    Steven Souza Jr., facing camera, gets a hug from catcher Wilson Ramos after his three-run home run in the third inning of the Rays’ victory over the Blue Jays to close out a 5-2 homestand. Up next: the Yankees. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]
  10. Fennelly: Derek Jeter, owner of Marlins rather than Rays? Sigh

    The Heater

    Don't tell me: The first thing he's going to do is raise the outfield walls.

    There is a report that Derek Jeter, Tampa's Derek Jeter is the face, front and center, of a group interested in purchasing the: Miami Marlins.

    Jeets, what about us?

    Yes, the Rays are owned, majority wise, by Stuart Sternberg. And Sternberg has done mostly right by Tampa Bay. But that won't last if he doesn't strike oil on one of those 311 potential stadium sites....

    Derek Jeter appears interested in buying the Marlins. Well, it’s fun to at least imagine him running the Rays instead.
  11. Night of the Living Lightning


    A little more than two weeks ago, when the Lightning left the ice at Amalie Arena after a third consecutive loss, this one to the dreadful Coyotes, people told me the Bolts had not been mathematically eliminated.

    I went to see the mathematicians. I knocked on their door. I could hear laughing inside.

    Now there are three days left in the 2016-17 season, and the Night of the Living Lightning continues to appear in a theater near you....

    Brayden Point celebrates after scoring against the Maple Leafs on April 6, 2017, in Toronto.
  12. As always, you can't make Tim Tebow up


    You couldn’t make up Tim Tebow if you tried a million times.

    So naturally you couldn’t make up his first at-bat in the minor-leagues.

    He homered. Really. He did.

    Might not hit another one, but he did in his first try.

    Timmy the Tebow strikes again.

    Tebow was never make-believe as an idol on and off the football field at Florida.

    He homered. Really. He did....

    Tim Tebow homered in his first at bat in the minor leagues.
  13. Tampa's Derek Jeter wants to own: the Marlins (Sigh)


    Don’t tell me: The first thing he’s going to do is raise the outfield walls.

    There is a report that Derek Jeter, the legend behind the fence on Davis Islands, is the face, front and center, of a group interested in purchasing the: Miami Marlins.

    Hey, Jeets, what about us?

    Yes, the Rays are owned, majority wise, by Stuart Sternberg. And Sternberg has done mostly right by Tampa Bay. But that won’t last if he doesn’t strike oil on one of those 311 potential stadium sites in the Bay area....

    There is a report that Derek Jeter is the face, front and center, of a group interested in purchasing the Miami Marlins.
  14. Rays rookie Daniel Robertson follows the faith of his father

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — There is nothing small about your first major-league game.

    "It's one of those moments," Rays rookie Daniel Robertson said.

    One of those moments where you feel nervous, but a good nervous.

    One of those moments when the first time you race to first base, you can hardly feel your legs under you.

    One of those moments when you think of your mom in the stands. And you just know your dad is watching, too....

    Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Daniel Robertson (29) loses his bat on strike three to end the game between the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Tuesday, April 4, 2017. The New York Yankees beat the Tampa Bay Rays 5 - 0.
  15. Blockheads on Ice!


    The NHL -- L for losers -- has done it again.

    Its players, the best in the world, will not be going to the 2018 Olympics.


    Couldn’t we just send NHL commissioner Gary Bettman to South Korea – and leave him there?

    This wasn’t all Bettman’s doing. He does the bidding for NHL owners, who are all business. What, us lose players for three weeks? And there are those arrogant cheapskates at the International Olympic Committee. And the NHL players union, led by … Don Fehr … aren’t exactly angels....