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Tom Jones, Times Sports Columnist

Tom Jones

Tom Jones writes columns and television/radio commentary for the Tampa Bay Times' Sports section. He has covered everything from high schools to colleges to professional sports since starting with the St. Petersburg Evening Independent in 1986. After the Independent, Tom worked at the Times (1987-91), the Tampa Tribune (1991-96), the Times again (1996-2000), the Minneapolis Star-Tribune (2000-03) and returned for his third stint at the Times in 2003. Though he has covered all sports, Tom is a hockey writer at heart. He covered the Tampa Bay Lightning from its first game in 1992 until moving to Minnesota to cover the Wild for three years. He returned to the Times again to cover the Lightning until taking over as writer and editor for Page Two in 2006. He lists Herb Brooks, Lou Piniella and Wayne Gretzky as the most interesting personalities he has covered and the 2002 Winter Olympics as the best event he has covered. Tom co-hosts a sports talk show weekday mornings from 6-9 on WDAE 620-AM, 95.3-FM. He previously hosted a weekly sports roundtable show on Bright House Sports Network.

Phone: (727) 893-8544


Radio talk show (620-AM, 95.3-FM): Listen live

  1. Jones: Bucs' silence on Miko Grimes may not be the best tactic


    Miko Grimes is the wife of new Bucs cornerback Brent Grimes and she has opinions. Lots and lots of opinions.

    About football. About life. About everything.

    Her comments are often vulgar, rude and crude. Her language is not safe for work.

    Much of what she says can be dismissed as the rants of a celebrity wannabe. Most of what she says is, and should be, ignored.

    Until she crosses the line and makes anti-Semitic remarks as she did on Twitter this week. Then it absolutely should not be ignored. Then it's everyone's responsibility to call her out, including fans, the media and, especially, the organization that employs her husband....

    Miko Grimes, wife of new Buc Brent Grimes, has lashed out at her husband's former team, the Dolphins. [Palm Beach Post (2014)]
  2. Tom Jones' Two Cents: ESPN should have kept John McEnroe out of Wimbledon men's final

    TV and Radio

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

    Biggest conflict

    I keep going back and forth on whether ESPN should have had tennis analyst John McEnroe (near left) call the Wimbledon men's final between Andy Murray and Milos Raonic (far left). No question that McEnroe is one of the best analysts in sports and any broadcast he is on is better than one he is not. But the problem here was a potential conflict of interest. McEnroe recently became an adviser/coach for Raonic....

    LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 10:  Andy Murray of Great Britain lifts the trophy following victory in the Men's Singles Final against Milos Raonic of Canada on day thirteen of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 10, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Andy Couldridge-Pool/Getty Images) 596729319
  3. 3 things that popped into Tom Jones' head

    The Heater

    1. It's it interesting — and pretty cool — that Cleveland has gone from one of the most depressing sports towns for the past 50 years to one of the most exciting in a matter of a month. The Indians might very well land the city a second world title come October.

    2. Who has had a more depressing summer so far: Oklahoma City, Miami or Tampa Bay?

    3. People are complaining that with Kevin Durant joining the Warriors only a handful of teams (at most) are capable of winning the NBA title. But hasn't the NBA, even back in the days of Bird and Magic, always been that way?...

    Cleveland Indians' Francisco Lindor watches his ball after hitting a sacrifice fly off Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Michael Fulmer in the third inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, July 6, 2016, in Cleveland. Chris Gimenez scored on the play. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak) OHTD103
  4. Jones: Who can blame athletes for skipping Olympics?


    When golfers Rory McIlroy and Jason Day pulled out of August's Olympics citing Zika virus concerns, they were blasted by those who believed they were using a weak excuse to avoid going to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

    But after hearing all the stories about how unhealthy and potentially unsafe Rio might be, who can blame McIlroy and Day for using any excuse to skip the Olympics? However, you have to feel bad for athletes who aren't comfortable with going but really have no choice because this might be their one and only chance to appear in an Olympics. These are athletes who don't compete in big-tickets sports such as golf or tennis but who have trained most of their lives to dive or bike or row. If they don't go to Rio, they might never fulfill a life-long dream....

    Rory McIlroy, of Northern Ireland, watches his tee shot on the ninth hole during the rain delayed second round of the U.S. Open golf championship at Oakmont Country Club, in Oakmont, Pa. The British Open is scheduled for July 14???‚??€œ17, 2016, at Royal Troon Golf Club in Ayrshire, Scotland.  (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File) NY212
  5. Tom Jones' media tidbits


    • Kevin Durant's decision to sign with Golden State was announced on The Players Tribune website. That day produced the highest traffic ever for the site with more than 5 million total content views. That's more than twice the previous record when Kobe Bryant announced his retirement. And check this out, according to Sports Business Daily, Monday, which was the Fourth of July and the day of Durant's announcment, "Players Tribune'' had the third most popular search on Google with more than 200,000 searches. The top two searches that day were "July 4'' and "Declaration of Independence.''...

    Oklahoma City Thunder's Kevin Durant watches during the closing minutes of the second half in Game 5 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals against the Golden State Warriors in Oakland, Calif. Durant and others are ready to decide their NBA futures, with free agency beginning Friday, July 1, 2016. Teams have more cap room than ever, meaning this could be one of the more highly anticipated periods in league history.  (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File) NY174
  6. Jones: Is Dwyane Wade Miami's greatest athlete ever?


    After Dwyane Wade left the Heat for the Bulls last week, ESPN's Israel Gutierrez suggested that Wade was the city of Miami's greatest athlete ever. Gutierrez grew up in Miami and has spent most of career in South Florida so he does have perspective. But my initial reaction to Wade being considered the top Miami star was doubt. There had to be someone else, right?

    Then I thought about it. Who has had a more accomplished career while in Miami? Wade is a three-time NBA champ, a 12-time All-Star, an MVP in both the NBA Finals and the All-Star Game and has a scoring title. Nobody can match that....

    Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade (3) shoots in front of Brooklyn Nets center Mason Plumlee (1) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Miami. Wade has been extended a two-year, $40 million contract offer to stay with the Miami Heat, a person with knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press on Monday, July 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File) NY151
  7. Jones: Baseball should slide back to its old rule

    The Heater

    Last week, Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo got into a postgame shouting match with umpire Jim Joyce after the Nats lost when Joyce called a game-ending double play because Washington's Jason Werth used an illegal slide. That same day, Rays manager Kevin Cash asked for a replay because the Angels' Albert Pujols didn't slide at second base on a potential double play when Tampa Bay second baseman Logan Forsythe made a throwing error....

    Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Albert Pujols (5) out at second as Tampa Bay Rays second baseman Logan Forsythe (11) misses the throw to first during the sixth inning of the game between the Los Angeles Angels and the Tampa Bay Rays in Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Thursday, July 7, 2016.
  8. Jones: Rays need a shakeup

    The Heater

    Fire Kevin Cash? Ax Matt Silverman? Trade Evan Longoria?

    Everything should be on the table for the Rays.

    Ship Chris Archer to the bullpen? Take Drew Smyly out of the rotation? Get rid of both catchers?

    Something to consider, for sure.

    No idea is too crazy, no suggestion is too outlandish.

    Hire an exorcist. Turn over the buffet table. Hold a players-only meeting. Hold a meeting to find new players. Then have a meeting with those players....

    Steven Souza Jr., striking out in Thursday’s loss to the Angels, was benched in a Tuesday loss for not hustling on a hit.
  9. Jones: Steven Stamkos and Kevin Durant both made the right choices

    Lightning Strikes

    He has spent the past eight seasons in one city, helping to turn an awful team into a really good one.

    He has taken his team to multiple conference finals. He made it once to the championship round, only to come up just a little short.

    Then he reached the end of his contract and had a decision to make.

    Stay with the fans who loved, supported and cheered him for all those years and deliver them a long-awaited title? Or break their hearts and chase a championship in another city?...

    Kevin Durant's stunning decision to leave Oklahoma City for Golden State only reminds us just how unusual it was for Steven Stamkos to stay in Tampa Bay.  [DIRK SHADD | Times; AP]
  10. Tom Jones' Two Cents: Rays broadcasters forced to walk a fine line

    TV and Radio

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

    Most difficult broadcast

    Man, it's getting harder and harder to watch Rays baseball, isn't it?

    It feels like no matter how the game starts, you just know it's going to end with a Rays loss. Watching the postgame show, as hosts Todd Kalas and Orestes Destrade try to find any sliver of positivity, has become awkwardly interesting. They can't beat up the Rays, but they can't treat the viewers like they're idiots, either. It's a fine, difficult line to walk, and they are doing the best they can....

    FILE - In this Sunday, May 29, 2016 file photo, Serbia's Viktor Troicki returns the ball to Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka during their fourth round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium, in Paris. Viktor Troicki let the chair umpire, and the rest of the world, know exactly how angry he was about a key call one point from the end of his five-set loss against Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain at Wimbledon on Thursday June 30, 2016. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena, File) LON119
  11. 3 things that popped into Tom Jones' head


    1. Timofey Mozgov rode the bench for the Cavs last season. He is 29 and has averaged 6.9 points and five rebounds in his six-year NBA career. Last week, he signed a four-year, $64 million deal with the Lakers. Clearly, I should have spent my youth working on my mid-range jumper and boxing people out instead of taping baseball cards to the spokes of my bike.

    2. He was never a fan favorite and often criticized for his play, but Lightning defenseman Matt Carle was nothing but a class act in Tampa Bay. He's a good man and you should wish the best for him....

    In this Wednesday, June 22, 2016 photo, Cleveland Cavaliers' Timofey Mozgov, from Russia, acknowledges the crowd during a rally in Cleveland. Russian center Mozgov has agreed to a four-year contract with the Los Angeles Lakers, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak) NY135
  12. Jones: Media tidbits on Steve Spurrier, Jeff Gordon and more

    TV and Radio

    Don't be surprised if former Gators and South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier ends up broadcasting on the SEC Network. No word on whether he will work the booth or the studio, but studio work seems his best fit.

    • Colin Cowherd, perhaps speaking out of school, said on his Fox Sports 1 radio show that he expects Max Kellerman to replace Skip Bayless on ESPN2's First Take. For what it's worth, Cowherd is close with Michelle Beadle, who works with Kellerman on ESPN's SportsNation. And to add a little more sizzle to the story, Cowherd said Beadle is ticked that Kellerman is leaving for First Take. Juicy stuff there....

    South Carolina head football coach Steve Spurrier speaks at a news conference to announce he is resigning on Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, at the University Of South Carolina, in Columbia, S.C.  Spurrier said he felt he needed to step down now because he doesn't believe there is accountability with players if they know the coach won't be back next year. He also said he was a recruiting liability. He had never had a losing season in 25 previous seasons coach at Duke (1987-89), Florida (1990-2001) or South Carolina, where he has been since 2005. (AP Photo/Richard Shiro) SCRS102
  13. Jones: Amid Coastal Carolina victory, heartbreak for Arizona's Cody Ramer


    Heartbreak kid

    Coastal Carolina winning the College World Series will go down as one of the best sports stories of the year. Little school. Never won a national championship in any sports. Cool story.

    But, in Coastal Carolina's victory, also comes one of the most heartbreaking sports stories of the year. And it just goes to show you how cruel sports can be.

    Coastal Carolina won the third and deciding game of the series against powerhouse Arizona, 4-3. Here's what happened that makes it so sad:...

    Arizona's Cody Ramer walks to the dugout after being called out against the Coastal Carolina on a double play in the fifth inning in Game 3 of the NCAA College World Series baseball finals in Omaha, Neb., Thursday, June 30, 2016. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik) NEPS115
  14. Jones: Steve Yzerman maintains his golden touch

    Lightning Strikes

    The Lightning's most valuable person doesn't even play. Not anymore.

    When he did, he was one of the best hockey players ever. But those days are over. He has traded his hockey sweater for a sports jacket, his stick and gloves for a spread sheet and a calculator.

    His impact on the game, however, is as strong as ever, as important as any wrist shot or slick pass. The Hall of Fame player is turning into a Hall of Fame general manager....

    Tampa Bay Lightning Vice President and General Manager, Steve Yzerman watches from high above the ice as the Lightning take on the Florida Panthers during first period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa last year. DIRK SHADD | Times [2015]
  15. Jones: Re-signing Steven Stamkos makes it a great day

    Lightning Strikes

    The greatest day in Tampa Bay Lightning history is June 7, 2004. That's the day the Lightning won the Stanley Cup.

    Wednesday now goes down as the second-best day in franchise history.

    He's staying.

    Call it Tampa Bay's "Miracle on Ice.'' Steven Stamkos isn't going anywhere.


    The Lightning's superstar, captain and leading goal-scorer stunned the hockey world Wednesday. Less than two days away from becoming perhaps the biggest free agent in NHL history, Stamkos decided that there's no place like home....

    Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) celebrates his goal while down on his knees beating Dallas Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen (32) for the first goal of the game during first period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Thursday evening (10/15/15).