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  1. Sports

The NFL draft is over. So, now what do we watch?

Coming off a live-sports high can be difficult. We have a few suggestions that might help.

You’re probably still coming down from the high.

After more than a month without live sports, the NFL draft gave you three days of entertainment and a welcome respite from thoughts about the coronavirus. If you watched more of the draft than in past years, you probably weren’t alone.

But now’s the part where things return to normal. Well, what passes for normal these days, anyway. When we realize we’re still in the midst of a worldwide pandemic and quarantined at home.

The sports staff of The Tampa Bay Times understands. In fact, we’re in the same position. To help satisfy your need 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:


24/7 College Football, HBO, recommended by sports reporter Mari Faiello

  • Calling all Gators fans: If you haven’t checked out HBO’s “24/7 College Football” limited series, now is the time to do so. You’ll get an inside look at how Florida prepared for weekly contests throughout the 2019 season, specifically the third home game against Towson. Enjoy scenic views of Florida’s campus and a drop-in from the Head Ball Coach himself, Steve Spurrier.

MLB The Show online video game tournament, FS1 and ESPN, recommended by Rays reporter Marc Topkin

  • Looking for fresh baseball action? This is about as close as you can get. Playoff rounds from the players’ MLB The Show online video game tournament — with Rays pitcher Blake Snell among the eight finalists — will be on TV this weekend. The exact schedule is still to be set, but check FS1 and ESPN 2 on Friday night and Saturday, with the best-of-five championship set for Sunday on ESPN.

Road to the Cup, 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 victories from each round on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays through May 16.

Vintage Rays Games, 95.3-FM WDAE, recommended by Rays writer Marc Topkin

  • Watching old Rays games on TV — from last season and some classics from franchise history — has helped fill the void. But why not try something different, and check out the Rays replays on the radio? Listen to the familiar voices of Andy Freed, Neil Solondz and Dave Wills, and let your mind explore the scene they create with their words. Games are replayed Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays at noon on 95.3-FM WDAE. They’re also available through the iHeartRadio app. This week, you can relive games against the Blue Jays, Orioles and Royals.

Bad Boys, ESPN+ on demand, recommended by pro sports enterprise reporter Ed Encina

  • If you watched Sunday’s episodes of The Last Dance, you saw how much Michael Jordan and the Bulls disdained those Detroit Pistons teams of the late ’80s and early ’90s. Get a closer look at the “Bad Boys” in this 30 for 30 ESPN documentary and ponder how much that team would get away with in today’s NBA.

This Week in Baseball," YouTube, recommended by sports columnist John Romano

  • It’s always been fascinating to me to watch history unfold in real time. In other words, to watch the buildup when you already know the outcome. So I’ll sometimes search for sports highlights preceding a momentous event. In this case, I found a telecast of Mel Allen’s This Week in Baseball from Sept. 12, 1978, on YouTube. It’s three weeks before the Red Sox and Yankees have their infamous one-game playoff at Fenway Park. During this episode, New York arrives in Fenway on Sept. 7 trailing Boston by four games. The Yankees win all four games in the series, outscoring the Sox 42-9, and move into a first-place tie. Highlights? Gold Glove right fielder Dwight Evans dropping a fly ball, Lou Piniella legging out a triple, and Reggie Jackson with the most vapid and cliche-ridden interview ever.


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, 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]


Miss Mary Reporting by Sue Macy," recommended by Lightning reporter Diana C. Nearhos

  • Here’s one for the kids. This picture book tells the story of Mary Garber, a pioneer for female sports journalists. She had to wear a press pass that read “women and children not admitted,” while she covered Notre Dame football.

The Cost of These Dreams: Sports Stories and Other Serious Business,recommended by sports reporter Mari Faiello

  • If you asked who my favorite sportswriter was growing up, I’d easily say it’s Wright Thompson. I’ve bookmarked 15 of his stories on my laptop for easy reference when I’m looking for a burst of inspiration or when I’m in the mood for a longer read. And now, you can bookmark some of his best ones, too, with this book. I won’t spoil anything for you, but his piece on Tiger Woods has to be one of the best, no matter your opinion on the professional golfer. Don’t believe me? See for yourself here.

Pistol: The Life of Pete Maravich," recommended by colleges reporter Joey Knight

  • Between fresh episodes of The Last Dance, hoops fans can easily lose themselves in this well-researched biography of a tormented basketball savant who was a generation ahead of his time. While effectively capturing the BeatleMania-style madness of Pistol Pete’s record-breaking LSU career, this book is at its best when examining his troubling family life and complex relationship with his dad/coach, Press (who ran a basketball camp in Clearwater).

Sports on the Air

Monday, April 27

  • LSU vs, Alabama, 11 a.m. SEC Network
  • 2008: Chicago White Sox vs. Tampa Bay Rays, noon, Fox Sports Sun
  • Detail: 2020 Draft Special, 2 p.m., SEC Network
  • Peyton’s Places: The Origins of Fantasy Football (Episode 7), 7 p.m., ESPN
  • Peyton’s Places: The Birth of the Ball (Episode 12), 7:30 p.m., ESPN
  • 2019: College Basketball — Big Ten Tournament, Championship: Nebraska vs. Ohio State, 9 p.m., BTN
  • Tennis “2002 French Open: Women’s Final: Serena Williams vs. Venus Williams," 10:30 p.m., NBCSN

Tuesday, April 28

  • Minnesota Twins vs. Tampa Bay Rays, noon, Fox Sports Sun
  • #HockeyatHome “Gretzky & Ovi," 5 p.m. NBCSN
  • On This Date “2016: Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Washington Capitals," 6 p.m., NBCSN
  • 2004: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Montreal Canadiens (Eastern Conference semifinals Game 1), 6 p.m., Fox Sports Sun
  • The Best of WWE — John Cena’s Best WrestleMania Matches, 7 p.m., FS1
  • NHL Hockey “1974: Boston Bruins at Philadelphia Flyers," 7 p.m., NBCSN
  • 2003: Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees, 7 p.m., ESPN
  • The Undefeated Presents Unapologetic: The Black Female Athlete, 8:30 p.m., ESPN2
  • 2004: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Montreal Canadiens (Eastern Conference semifinals Game 2), 8:30 p.m., Fox Sports Sun
  • 2019: College Softball — Big Ten Tournament Championship: Michigan vs. Minnesota, 9 p.m., BTN
  • The Undefeated In-Depth: Serena Williams with Common, 9 p.m., ESPN2
  • Big Ten Elite — 1997 Michigan Football, 11 p.m., BTN
  • Inside the Lightning — The Originals, 11 p.m., Fox Sports Sun

Wednesday, April 29

  • Rays All-Access — Mike Zunino, 11:30 a.m., Fox Sports Sun
  • Eye on the Gators: Swimming, 5 p.m., Fox Sports Florida
  • Rays All-Access — Tampa Bay Rowdies, 5:30 p.m., Fox Sports Sun
  • SportsCenter Special: My Wish, 6 p.m., ESPN2
  • Rays All-Access 2020 — Austin Meadows, 6 p.m., Fox Sports Sun
  • NHL Live, 7 p.m., NBCSN
  • 2004 NBA Finals Game 5: Los Angeles Lakers vs. Detroit Pistons, 7 p.m., ESPN
  • SportsCenter Special: 2016 My Wish, 7 p.m., ESPN2
  • 2014 NBA Finals Game 5: Miami Heat vs. San Antonio Spurs, 9:30 p.m., ESPN

Thursday, April 30

  • Football: No. 6 LSU vs. No. 9 Texas, 11 a.m., SEC Network
  • Tampa Bay Rays at Detroit Tigers, noon, Fox Sports Sun
  • American Ninja Warrior, 2 p.m., NBCSN
  • NHL Top 10, 6 p.m., NBCSN
  • 2016: Michigan vs. Ohio State, 7 p.m., ESPN
  • 2004: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Montreal Canadiens (Eastern Conference semifinals Game 3), 8 p.m., Fox Sports Sun
  • Women’s College Gymnastics — Big Ten Championship, 8 p.m., Big Ten Network
  • Inside the Lightning — The Medal of Honor, 10 p.m., Fox Sports Sun
  • Alabama vs. Florida (WCWS Finals Game 2), 10 p.m., SEC Network

Friday, May 1

  • The Dan Patrick Show, 9 a.m., NBCSN
  • Baseball from the Beginning Tampa Bay — Florida / Grapefruit League — Teams and Towns Part 2, 6 p.m., Fox Sports Sun
  • Baseball from the Beginning Tampa Bay — Florida / Grapefruit League — Teams and Towns, 6:30 p.m., Fox Sports Sun
  • This Week in Baseball: September 10, 1986, 6:30 p.m., FS1
  • E60 Alex Smith - Project 11, 7:30 p.m., ESPN
  • 1997: GREATEST GAMES: Super Bowl XXXI New England Patriots vs Green Bay Packers, 7 p.m., FS1
  • Hey Rookie: Welcome to the NFL, 8 p.m., ESPN
  • P.K. Subban’s All-Star Special, 8 p.m., NBCSN
  • E:60 Profile: Mike Evans, 9:30 p.m., ESPN

Saturday, May 2

  • E:60 Pictures: Hilinski’s Hope, 10 a.m., SEC Network
  • Inside the Lightning — Andy’s Induction, noon, Fox Sports Sun
  • 2019 Death Diving World Championship, 1 p.m., ESPN
  • Baseball: Florida vs. Ole Miss, 2 p.m., SEC Network
  • ESPN Original Documentaries, 4 p.m., ESPN
  • 2004: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Montreal Canadiens (Eastern Conference semifinals Game 4), 7:30 p.m., Fox Sports Sun
  • College Football: “1975: Ohio State vs. USC,” 8 p.m., NBCSN
  • E:60 Pictures — Drew Bledsoe: Better With Age, 9 p.m., ESPN2

Sunday, May 3

  • SEC Storied: Lolo Jones, 8 a.m., SEC Network
  • American Ninja Warrior “Venice Finals,” noon, NBCSN
  • EA SPORTS Madden NFL 20 Bowl, 1 p.m., ESPN
  • World Axe Throwing League: 2020 Canadian Open, 5 p.m., ESPN2
  • The Last Dance - Episode 5, 9 p.m., ESPN
  • The Last Dance - Episode 5 (Profanity Free), 9 p.m., ESPN2
  • The Last Dance - Episode 6, 10 p.m., ESPN
  • The Last Dance - Episode 6 (Profanity Free), 10 p.m., ESPN2

Contact Mari Faiello at Follow @faiello_mari.