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John Romano - Sports Columnist

Sports Columnist

Finding the right career can be hit-and-miss. In my case, it was swing-and-miss. When Major League Baseball scouts declined to watch me play, or even acknowledge my existence, journalism seemed like a plausible fallback plan. I started covering prep sports for St. Petersburg's Evening Independent as an 18 year old college freshman, and have worked for newspapers ever since. I have a daughter in college, a son in high school and a wife in charge. And I still can't hit the curveball.

  1. Bobby Bowden is carried triumphantly on the shoulders of his players after Florida State beat West Virginia, 33-21, in the Gator Bowl at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium in 2010.
  2. Steven Stamkos took the Lightning on a victory lap around Amalie Arena after winning the Stanley Cup. For some of those players, unfortunately, it will be the last moments in a Lightning jersey.
  3. Nikita Kucherov, and his can of Bud Light, did postgame press conference after the Lightning clinched the Stanley Cup with a 1-0 victory against Montreal in Game 5 on July 7, 2021.
  4. Lighting players celebrate their 1-0 victory over the Montreal Canadiens to win the Stanley Cup on Wednesday at Amalie Arena.
  5. Los Lightning celebran su victoria de 1-0 sobre los Montreal Canadiens al ganar la Copa Stanley el miércoles en Amalie Arena.
  6. This is the Steven Stamkos we want to see in Game 5 against the Canadiens. With the puck in the net, and his arms in the air. Just like in Game 5 against the Islanders in the third round of the NHL playoffs.
  7. Do these fans look worried about a Game 5 at Amalie Arena? The Lightning drew more than 16,000 to downtown Tampa on Monday night to watch Game 4 on TV, so Wednesday night's Game 5 should be rocking.
  8. Head coach Jon Cooper celebrates the Lightning's victory over the Islanders in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup semifinal series. Among coaches with at least 410 games in their career, Cooper’s points percentage of .647 is second only to the legendary Scotty Bowman.
  9. Having Steven Stamkos available the entire postseason in 2021 against goaltenders such as Montreal's Carey Price has made the Lightning an even better team than they were while winning the Stanley Cup in 2020.
  10. First lesson in winning hockey? Playing like a team. From left, Victor Hedman, Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point and Anthony Cirelli celebrate Hedman's power play goal in Tampa Bay's 5-3 victory in Game 3 Friday night.
  11. Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) makes a left pad save on Montreal Canadiens right wing Tyler Toffoli (73) during the third period of Game 2 Wednesday at Amalie Arena.
  12. Lightning center Blake Coleman (20) celebrates his goal while down along with center Anthony Cirelli (71) after beating Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) to score during second-period action in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup final.
  13. Jan Rutta and Victor Hedman (77) get between goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy and Montreal's Shea Weber and Brendan Gallagher during Tampa Bay's 5-1 victory in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup final Monday night.
  14. Canadiens right wing Brendan Gallagher (bottom, left wing Phillip Danault (24), Lightning defenseman David Savard and center Blake Coleman scuffle in the third period during Game 1 of the Stanley Cup final.
  15. Goaltenders Andrei Vasilevskiy, left, of the Lightning and Carey Price, right, of the Canadiens will meet in the Stanley Cup final. [DIRK SHADD | Times; AP Photo/John Locher]
  16. Lightning owner Jeff Vinik celebrated last season's Stanley Cup championship with Nikita Kucherov at Raymond James Stadium after the team returned from the playoff bubble in Canada.
  17. Montreal Canadiens center Nick Suzuki celebrates his open-net goal during Game 5 of their semifinal series against the Vegas Golden Knights Tuesday in Las Vegas.
  18. Lightning owner Jeff Vinik had to wait to lift the Stanley Cup until captain Steven Stamkos and the rest of the team brought it back home to Tampa last season postseason. Because of a wedding commitment before Game 6, Vinik may miss another celebration this year.
  19. General manager Julien BriseBois oversaw the reinvention of the the Lightning's culture with a series of strategic moves following the 2019 postseason collapse.
  20. Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy celebrates along with defenseman Mikhail Sergachev as the Lightning beat the New York Islanders in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup semifinals.
  21. Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov (86) goes down hard after a hit by New York Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield (24) during the first period of Game 6 Wednesday at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y.
  22. Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Wander Franco (5) hits a three-run home run tying the game 5-5 against the Boston Red Sox at Tropicana Field in the fifth inning Field in St. Petersburg on Tuesday June 22, 2021.
  23. Rays fans have been following Wander Franco's progress since he was signed to a $3.85 million contract as a 16-year-old in 2017. So far, he hasn't done anything to disappoint.