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  1. Sports

What to watch when there are no live sports on TV

Check out our staff’s weekly recommendations for sports viewing, listening and reading options.

It’s been almost five weeks since we were able to watch live sports on television. Man, time flies when you’re having fun. Or ...not.

The sports staff of The Tampa Bay Times understands. In fact we’re in the same position. To help satisfy your craving for sports, we’re compiling weekly lists of what we’re watching, streaming, recording on our DVRs (assuming you still have one), listening to and reading.

Here are some of our recommendations for the week:

Movies/Television/Radio

First Devil Rays baseball game, on Fox Sports Sun, recommended by Rays reporter Marc Topkin

  • History comes to life, kind of: The first-ever game in Devil Rays history, March 31, 1998, against the Tigers at a packed Tropicana Field, will be shown Monday to kick off Fox Sports Sun’s series of classic games from franchise history. Wilson Alvarez will throw the first pitch, Dave Martinez will get the first hit and Wade Boggs will hit the first home run. We’ll let you enjoy the rest as it happens. Air times at noon, 7 p.m. and midnight.
Wilson Alvarez delivers the first pitch in the first-ever Devils Rays game on March 31, 1998. The inaugural game was played at Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida. [Times Photo by Johnathan Newton] [NEWTON, JONATHAN | St. Petersburg Times]

Road to the Cup, on Fox Sports Sun, recommended by Lightning reporter Diana C. Nearhos

  • Are the details of the Lightning’s 2004 Stanley Cup run a little foggy after 16 years? Fox Sports Sun is airing the first two rounds — victories over the Islanders and Canadiens — each Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday through May 2. The conference final and Stanley Cup final will follow, but the schedule has not yet been announced.

Wade Boggs’ historic swing, on Fox Sports Sun, recommended by Rays baseball reporter Marc Topkin

  • Wade Boggs spent most of his stellar career with the Red Sox and Yankees, but he came home and signed with the expansion Tampa Bay Devil Rays for the crowing individual achievement, his 3,000th hit. Relive the drama — and there was plenty — of that historic Aug. 7, 1999 game as part of Fox Sports Sun’s re-airing of classic games from franchise history. Shows Wednesday at noon, 7 pm and midnight.

The Brady 6, on ESPN+ on demand, recommended by pro sports enterprise reporter Eduardo A. Encina

  • Since this week is the NFL draft and we’re eager to digest anything related to Tom Brady, this seems like a fitting watch. The special — which is clearly a little older because Brady is donning some serious lettuce in the sit-down interviews — dissects the six quarterbacks that were taken ahead of Brady in the 2000 draft. Even the most astute football fan might have a tough time naming all six, because most of their careers were footnotes. It’s a reminder that nothing is guaranteed in the draft — especially when it comes to quarterbacks — and we get a little glimpse of the chip that Brady entered the league with after being drafted in the sixth round with the 199th overall pick.

Invincible, stream it for free on Disney+, recommended by sports reporter Mari Faiello

  • Grab the kids and the popcorn and sit down to watch Invincible, the 2006 Disney classic telling the story of Vince Papale, a bartender who goes to an open tryout for the Philadelphia Eagles. There’s no glass slipper, but this is a great Cinderella story. Plus, it includes Mark Wahlberg, so you know you’re in for a laugh or two.

Seabiscuit, on Amazon Prime, recommended by sports columnist John Romano

  • Eighty years ago this month, Seabiscuit retired from racing. (Not content to putter around the barn, he sired more than 100 foals in his down time.) If you’ve never read Laura Hillenbrand’s book, Seabiscuit, or watched the 2003 movie adaptation, here’s your chance. The movie was basically Sylvester Stallone as a horse, but it was beautifully written and filmed and was nominated for seven Oscars. You can rent it for $3.99 in HD on Amazon Prime.

Jordan Rides the Bus, on ESPN+ on demand, recommended by pro sports enterprise reporter Eduardo A. Encina

  • Everyone’s talking about Michael after ESPN’s “The Last Dance” documentary, based on Jordan and the Bulls’ final season together in 1997-98. But because these episodes are only being released weekly, if you need your midweek Jordan fill, watch this 30 for 30 special on the time Jordan turned in his high tops for baseball cleats. Following the death of his father, Jordan left basketball to play baseball for the White Sox. He attends spring training in Sarasota and fills stadiums throughout the Southern League as a member of the Birmingham Barons. We all know Jordan wasn’t a great baseball player, but this takes a deeper look at how he carried the determination that made him a hoops icon over onto the diamond.

Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez, on Netflix, recommended by college football reporter Matt Baker

  • If you followed the murder cases involving the former Gator and onetime Tom Brady teammate closely, the only new details come from Hernandez’s eye-opening phone calls from prison. But if you didn’t, this provides a comprehensive look at one of the most fascinating sports stories of the century.
Tim Tebow, right, and Aaron Hernandez were close when both were stars at Florida; Tebow hosted Hernandez during his UF visit.

Podcasts

SportsDay Tampa Bay, recommended by Bucs reporter and host Rick Stroud

  • SportsDay Tampa Bay is a daily podcast (Monday-Friday) produced by The Tampa Bay Times that focuses on the Bucs, Rays, Lightning, USF, college sports, motorsports, golf and other local and national sports news. Hosted by Times writer and Bucs reporter Rick Stroud and producer Steve Versnick, it’s fun, smart sports talk when you want it. We also have regular guests that include many of our Tampa Bay Times beat reporters, who take you behind the scenes of their latest stories, as well as area sports personalities, players, coaches and general managers. You can interact with us on Twitter at @SportsDayTB, and we will answer your questions in our weekly mailbag segment. It’s available on iTunes, Tampabay.com or wherever you get your podcasts.
SportsDay Tampa Bay is a daily podcast (Monday-Friday) produced by The Tampa Bay Times that focuses on the Bucs, Rays, Lightning, USF, college sports, motorsports, golf and other local and national sports news of the day. The weekday show is hosted by Bucs reporter Rick Stroud. [Tampa Bay Times]

Books

Dream Team by Jack McCallum, recommended by Lightning reporter Diana C. Nearhos

  • So you watched the first episode of ESPN’s The Last Dance and now you have MJ on the mind? Check out this book. The subtitle says it all: How Michael, Magic, Larry, Charles, and the Greatest Team of All Time Conquered the World and Changed the Game of Basketball Forever.

Road Swing by Steve Rushin, recommended by college football reporter Matt Baker

  • One thing we all need more of right now: laughter. And one thing we all wish we could do more right now: travel. This combines the two, as Rushin chronicles his comical road trip through America (and American sports).
Related: Last week's staff recommendations

Sports on the Air

Monday, April 20

  • Peyton’s Places: The Art of the Quarterback (Episode 28), 7 p.m. on ESPN
  • A Perfect Storm: The 1979 Daytona 500, 7 p.m. on FS1
  • NFL Matchup: Draft Special (Episode 1), 7:30 p.m. on ESPN2
  • Return to Beijing: 10th Anniversary “Michael Phelps," 8:30 p.m. on NBCSports
  • Return to Beijing: 10th Anniversary “Women’s Beach Volleyball Final: USA vs. China," 10 p.m. on NBCSports
  • The Journey: Big 10 Football — Episode 2, 11 p.m. on BTN
  • All Access with Carolina Basketball Ep. 6, 11:30 p.m. on ACCN

Tuesday, April 21

  • Saturdays in the South — Part 1: 1869-1932, 6:30 a.m. on SEC Network
  • 2019: Rays vs. Toronto Blue Jays (originally aired May 27, 2019), noon on Fox Sports Sun
  • SEC Inside: SEC Championship, 2 p.m. on SEC Network
  • 1995: New York Yankees vs. Seattle Mariners, 7 p.m. on ESPN
  • NFL Matchup: Draft Special (Episode 2), 7 p.m. on ESPN2
  • Saturdays in the South — Part 2: 1933-1959, 7 p.m. on SEC Network
  • Return to Beijing: 10th Anniversary, 7 p.m. on NBCSports
  • 30 for 30: Survive And Advance, 7 p.m. on ACCN
  • 2004 Tampa Bay Lightning at New York Islanders (Stanley Cup Eastern Conference Quarterfinals Game 3), 8:30 p.m. on Fox Sports Sun
  • NASCAR Racing — 2007: Daytona 500, 8:30 p.m. on FS2

Wednesday, April 22

  • No. 3 Clemson vs. No. 1 LSU (College Football Playoff), 11 a.m. on SEC Network
  • All Access with Notre Dame Women’s Basketball, 11:30 a.m. on ACCN
  • 1999: Rays vs. Cleveland Indians (originally aired Aug. 7. 1999), noon and 7 p.m. on Fox Sports Sun
  • SEC Inside: CFP National Championship Special, 2 p.m. on SEC Network
  • The Great Brady Heist, 2 p.m. on FS2
  • NHL Hat-Trick Trivia, 5 p.m. on NBC Sports
  • ESPN Original Documentaries, 7 p.m. on ESPN2
  • NFL’s Greatest Games — Super Bowl XXXIII: Denver Broncos vs. Atlanta Falcons, 9 p.m. on FS1
  • Olympic Classics: Men’s Basketball, 9 p.m. on NBCSports
  • Los Angeles Lakers vs. Boston Celtics (Finals, Game 6), 9:30 p.m. on ESPN

Thursday, April 23

  • LSU vs. Alabama (Football), 11 a.m. on SEC Network
  • 2019: Rays vs. Toronto Blue Jays (originally aired May 28, 2019), noon on Fox Sports Sun
  • Greatest Games: NFL — NFC Championship: Minnesota Vikings vs. New Orleans Saints, 4 p.m. on FS1
  • #HockeyatHome “Gretzky & Ovi," 5 p.m. on NBCSports
  • On this Date “2014: Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Columbus Blue Jackets,” 6 p.m. on NBCSports
  • NFL Draft Countdown, 7 p.m. on ESPN
  • 2020 NFL Draft, 8 p.m. on ESPN
  • 2004 Tampa Bay Lightning at New York Islanders (Stanley Cup Eastern Conference Quarterfinals Game 4), 8 p.m. on Fox Sports Sun
  • Olympic Classics: Women’s Basketball, 10 p.m. on NBCSports
  • NBA: The Jump: Best of the Decade, 11 p.m. on ESPN2
Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender (35) Nikolai Khabibulin works to make a save against the New York Islanders during the third period at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. (4/16/04). [Tampa Bay Times | Dirk Shadd] [SHADD, DIRK | St. Petersburg Times]

Friday, April 24

  • NFL Draft Countdown, 6 p.m. on ESPN
  • 2020 NFL Draft (Rounds 2-3), 7 p.m. on ESPN
  • 2010: Rays vs. Detroit Tigers (originally aired July 26, 2010), 7 p.m. on Fox Sports Sun
  • 30 for 30: Believeland, 8 p.m. on ESPN2
  • Olympic Classics: Women’s Gymnastics, 8 p.m. on NBCSports

Saturday, April 25

  • Premier League Goals of the Season, 8 a.m. on NBCSports
  • 2020 NFL Draft (Rounds 4-7), Noon on ESPN
  • 1186 to Omaha: 2015 Virginia Baseball, 1 p.m. on ACCN
  • 2018: North Carolina vs. Virginia (Championship) (ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament), 6 p.m. on ACCN
  • UFC Unleashed: Redemptions, 7 p.m. on ESPN
  • 2004 Tampa Bay Lightning vs. New York Islanders (Stanley Cup Eastern Conference Quarterfinals Game 5), 7:30 p.m. on Fox Sports Sun
  • EA SPORTS Madden NFL 20 Last Chance Qualifier, 8 p.m. on ESPN2
  • Nebraska vs. LSU (NCAA Baseball Championship), 9 p.m. on SEC Network

Sunday, April 26

  • 2019: Rays vs. Toronto Blue Jays (originally aired May 29, 2019), noon and 4 p.m. on Fox Sports Sun
  • Orlando City SC vs. Atlanta United FC (MLS), 12:55 p.m. on ESPN
  • XFL Championship, 3 p.m. on ESPN
  • Baseball Tonight: Sunday Night Countdown, 6 p.m. on ESPN
  • The Last Dance - Episode 3, 9 p.m. on ESPN
  • The Last Dance - Episode 3 (Profanity Free), 9 p.m. on ESPN2
  • The Last Dance - Episode 4, 10 p.m. on ESPN
  • The Last Dance - Episode 4 (Profanity Free), 10 p.m. on ESPN2

Contact Mari Faiello at mfaiello@tampabay.com. Follow @faiello_mari.

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