They are as different as the sports they lead.
There's Rays manager Joe Maddon. He's the dean of Tampa Bay sports, having skippered the Rays for eight seasons now. Born in Pennsylvania, but California cool. Laid back. The personality of a hippie. A baseball lifer.
There's Bucs coach Greg Schiano. Jersey kid. Hard-nosed, no-nonsense, set in his ways. Yet charismatic. A former college coach. He has been around these parts for a year....
Want to talk about the Rays-Blue Jays series? Bucs OTAs? The NHL or NBA playoffs? Join Times sports columnist Tom Jones for a live chat today, from noon to 1 p.m.
Want to talk about the Rays-Blue Jays series? Bucs OTAs? The NHL or NBA playoffs? Join Times sports columnist Tom Jones for a live chat Wednesday, May 22, from noon to 1 p.m.
When Michael Jordan retired for the final time in 2003, he retired as the clear-cut, no-doubt-about-it greatest basketball player of all-time.
Better than Magic. Better than Bird. Better than Kareem. Better than Wilt. Better than the Big O.
And it seemed as if no one would surpass him. Ever.
Yet, here we are, a decade later, and there's a challenger to his Airness as the best player in NBA history....
05/19/13 TV and Radio
Excellent work by Sun Sports on Sunday covering the minicontroversy of whether or not Matt Joyce's liner down the rightfield line was fair or foul, and a homer or a double. Sun Sports fired up replays from at least three different angles, including the one shot that clearly showed the ball hitting the foul pole, making it a homer. Umpires ultimately agreed and awarded Joyce a home run....
tom jones' two cents
Soccer legend David Beckham has announced his retirement at age 38. It was a spectacular career that included stops with England's national team, Manchester United, Real Madrid, AC Milan and the Los Angeles Galaxy of Major League Soccer from 2007 to 2012. Did Beckham's move to the United States have a meaningful impact?
It did for Beckham. Already a celebrity in Europe and everywhere soccer is king, Beckham added the United States to his brand. His popularity, endorsement opportunities and bank account — according to Forbes he made more than $255 million over the past six years — certainly grew during his time in Los Angeles. Even those who don't follow soccer in this country learned Beckham's name because of the movie Bend It Like Beckham. Those same people followed Beckham and his wife, former Spice Girl Victoria Adams, in the gossip and fashion pages, probably more so than followed him on the pitch....
For a moment, you forget that this is Dick Vitale. His voice seems different. He seems different.
The ESPN college basketball analyst isn't going 100 miles per hour, hop-scotching from this topic to the next. He isn't yelling about some dunk. He isn't screaming "Are you serious!?'' after a half-court buzzer-beater.
This voice is cracking. It's shaky.
Then you realize what is happening. Vitale is crying....
05/14/13 The Heater
He is arguably the best pitcher in baseball at the moment, and without argument, the best pitcher on the Rays' staff.
This lefty throws electric fastballs. He buckles knees with his breaking pitches and practically gives batters vertigo with his changeup.
This is no surprise, really. We've known all along this guy had top-of-the-rotation stuff with an ace mentality. Plus, we've seen him throw plenty of big games in his brief Rays career....
NBC did a solid job with golf's Players Championship over the weekend, as it always does.
There was a little dustup between Sergio Garcia and Tiger Woods. Garcia said he was disrupted during a shot Saturday because Woods pulled out a club that sent a charge into the fans. NBC's broadcast team mentioned the incident and referred to the fact that Garcia and Woods don't get along, but it would have been nice if someone had been stronger in telling viewers who was in the right on this particular incident....
tom jones' two cents
You make your money in the regular season. You make your reputation in the postseason. • The great thing about the postseason in any sport is the emergence of new stars. You're always going to have your LeBron Jameses and Sidney Crosbys and Kobe Bryants. But it's the breakout performances that make the playoffs so fun. • Remember a couple of years ago when the Lightning's Sean Bergenheim became a scoring machine? Remember in 2011 when the Cardinals' David Freese seemingly came out of nowhere to win the World Series MVP? • This spring, the NBA and NHL playoffs are just a few weeks old and already we have new stars to follow. Here are a few who are building up rather nice postseason reputations and becoming household names....
Ronde Barber hung up his cleats, shed a few tears, said his goodbyes, then walked out of One Buc Place on Thursday afternoon.
He leaves behind 16 years' worth of great memories.
But it's not what he left behind that we're talking about today. It's what he is taking with him:
Valuable experience and irreplaceable leadership; 16 years' worth of games, practices, lessons and, of course, that Super Bowl championship....
Tom Jones' two cents
The great Ronde Barber has retired and likely will head off to a television booth near you. Someday, he will be in the Bucs' Ring of Honor. But the big question is: Will he ultimately end up giving an induction speech at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton? Right now, he's probably a borderline case, but here are a few arguments for why Barber should have a bust in Canton....
05/07/13 The Heater
ST. PETERSBURG — The sound was sickening.
Perhaps there is a perfect adjective, some sort of analogy, that would best describe it, but, really, the only way to put it is to tell you exactly what happened.
It sounded like a baseball traveling upwards of 100 mph cracking someone flush in the side of the head.
That indescribable yet unmistakable sound was followed by an eerie silence throughout Tropicana Field....
05/05/13 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.
Seems strange to have a three-hour broadcast for a two-minute event. But that's what NBC does every year for the Kentucky Derby. And every minute is worth it.
NBC's horse racing coverage is right up there with the best sports broadcast of the year, and you don't have to be a horse racing enthusiast to enjoy it. Saturday was no different — with one exception....
Tom Jones' two cents
The Bucs announced last week that Warren Sapp will be the fifth person inducted into their Ring of Honor. Just like the four previous inductees, Sapp is certainly deserving. But one name remains missing from the Ring, and it would appear this name will go on missing for years.
Again, you can't argue with any of the names already in the Ring. There isn't one you look at and think, "Hmm, he doesn't belong.'' They all belong....