Matt Baker, Times Staff Writer

Matt Baker

Matt Baker joined the Times as a sports reporter in 2011. In 2014, he started covering the Bucs, Rays and Lightning. He previously covered high school and college sports for the Tulsa World and minor league baseball for the Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader. His work has been honored by the Best American Sports Writing series and the Associated Press Sports Editors. He is a Hoosier native and graduated from Northwestern University in 2008.

Phone: (727) 420-9087


Twitter: @MBakerTBTimes

  1. Harding to preside over Winston hearing at FSU


    Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Major B. Harding will preside over star quarterback Jameis Winston's code of conduct hearing at Florida State.

    Harding, 79, a Wake Forest alumnus and North Carolina native, was one of three former judges the school proposed. He served on the Florida Supreme Court from 1991-2002.

    Harding will determine whether the reigning Heisman Trophy winner violated as many as four parts of the conduct code in sexual assault allegations from a December 2012 encounter. If Winston is found responsible for any of the violations, punishment could range from probation to expulsion....

  2. Vincent Jackson on trade talk: 'I'm happy here in Tampa'


    TAMPA — Bucs WR Vincent Jackson has reportedly drawn interest from other NFL teams before next week's trade deadline, but the 31-year-old said Thursday he wants to help turn around his team in Tampa Bay.

    "In this business, those kind of things get talked about quite often. Each and every year, there's going to be guys moved around to different teams," Jackson said. "I'm not surprised by it. Obviously I appreciate teams' interest, but I'm happy here in Tampa. I've heard nothing here that would suggest I'm going anywhere. I'm going to let that pass on and keep doing my job."...

    Vincent Jackson has a team-high 25 catches for 344 yards and two touchdowns this year, but is also paid among the top 10 receivers in the league, with a base salary of $10 million and two years left on his contract. [DIRK SHADD | Times]
  3. Orie Lemon signed from Kansas City Chiefs practice squad


    The Bucs filled a need in the ailing linebacker corps Thursday, signing LB Orie Lemon to the active roster from the Chiefs’ practice squad....

  4. Derrius Brooks leaves practice with leg injury


    TAMPA – Bucs practice squad CB Derrius Brooks left Thursday’s practice with an apparent right leg injury....

  5. Chargers-Broncos Thursday night preview


    Tonight: Chargers at Broncos

    When/where: 8:25; Sports Authority Field, Denver

    TV/radio: Ch. 10, NFL; 1010-AM, 98.7-FM

    Line/OU: Broncos by 7½; 51

    Denver is 3-0 since last month's overtime loss to Seattle, with double-digit wins over the Cardinals, Jets and 49ers. Newly minted all-time passing touchdown leader Peyton Manning has seven TDs and no interceptions in his past two games and got help Sunday from RB Ronnie Hillman (two rushing touchdowns). LB Von Miller's eight sacks lead the NFL, and he will try to pressure San Diego QB Philip Rivers. This isn't saying much, but a duel between Manning and Rivers could make for the best Thursday night game of the year....

  6. Mike Zimmer considered using kidney stones as message for Vikings' toughness


    Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer was hospitalized last week for kidney stones and had a procedure done Tuesday to remove them....

  7. Florida State 'finds an excuse to win' over Notre Dame


    TALLAHASSEE — Even when No. 2 Florida State trailed No. 5 Notre Dame in the second half Saturday night, the Seminoles' faith in themselves never wavered.

    With the longest winning streak in school history, why would it?

    "The Navy Seals have a saying for it: find an excuse to win," Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher said. "We find excuses to win."

    Saturday night, the excuse was this: The game was too close....

    Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, left, celebrates the team's 31-27 victory over Notre Dame with teammate Ermon Lane. [AP photo]
  8. FSU Seminoles rally past Notre Dame


    TALLAHASSEE — Through one half Saturday night, Notre Dame did what no big-name opponent or off-the-field controversy has done: rattle Jameis Winston.

    And then the second half started.

    Florida State's star quarterback was nearly flawless in the final two quarters, completing 15 of 16 passes for 182 yards and getting help with a controversial late call to lead No. 2 FSU to a 31-27 win over No. 5 Notre Dame at Doak Campbell Stadium....

    Florida State defensive back Ronald Darby hits Notre Dame wide receiver Corey Robinson, who finishes with eight catches for 99 yards and two touchdowns.
  9. FSU assistant coach misses Notre Dame game


    TALLAHASSEE — No. 2 Florida State entered Saturday night without one of its top assistants.

    Assistant head coach Rick Trickett wasn't at the game because of a health reason, the school announced before kickoff against No. 5 Notre Dame.

    Trickett, 66, has been at FSU since 2007 and is recognized as one of the top offensive line coaches in the game. All five starters on last year's team earned All-ACC honors, and he has coached 30 NFL players. One of his pupils, RG Tre' Jackson, has been named the ACC's offensive lineman of the week twice this season....

    DOWN HE GOES: Notre Dame QB Everett Golson, top is sacked by Florida State defensive tackle Eddie Goldman in the first half.
  10. Florida State, Notre Dame set for showdown


    USF at Tulsa

    noon, H.A. Chapman Stadium

    TV/radio: ESPNews; 1010-AM, 98.7-FM

    Line: USF by 1½

    Weather: Partly cloudy, low to mid 60s, no chance of rain

    UCF vs. Tulane

    noon, Bright House Networks Stadium, Orlando


    Line: UCF by 19½

    Weather: Sunny, low 80s, no chance of rain

    Florida vs. Missouri...

    Everett Golson
  11. Winston team cuts hearing judge; FSU says no proof yet of money for autographs


    Florida State's conduct hearing for star quarterback Jameis Winston inched forward Friday when Winston adviser David Cornwell eliminated one of three judges assigned to rule on whether Winston violated up to four parts of the school's code of conduct.

    Cornwell met Friday's deadline to schedule an information session to learn about the hearing's procedures and see evidence related to the sexual assault allegations made by a then-FSU student from the Tampa Bay area in December 2012....

    Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston warms up before the BCS title game in Pasadena, Calif.
  12. Peyton Manning nears Favre's TD record


    Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning's latest career milestone could come tonight. He enters the game with 506 career touchdown passes and needs only two to tie Brett Favre for the most in NFL history. Even if he doesn't break the record in primetime against San Francisco, Manning will get another chance — on Thursday, against the Chargers. "I don't think anybody in here is on record watch," Broncos tight end Jacob Tamme told reporters in Denver. "It will be a real special moment when it happens, but it's not something we are in here talking about." But that doesn't mean we have to stop talking about it on the outside. Here's a closer look at Manning's 506 touchdown passes:...

    Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning has thrown for 506 touchdowns, two away from tying Brett Favre’s career NFL record.
  13. Lightning sends Jonathan Drouin to minors for conditioning

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Jonathan Drouin's NHL debut will have to wait.

    With the wing derailed during training camp by a fractured right thumb, the Lightning assigned its 2013 first-round draft pick to AHL Syracuse on Thursday to begin a rehabilitation assignment.

    "It's not really sending me down," Drouin said after Thursday morning's practice with the Lightning. "It's more getting me ready to come back here and making sure I'm 100 percent ready."...

    The Lightning assigned Jonathan Drouin to Syracuse on Thursday to begin a rehab assignment. [DIRK SHADD | Times]
  14. The Lightning assigned Jonathan Drouin to Syracuse on Thursday to begin a rehab assignment.
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