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  1. Sports

We’ve danced our ‘Last Dance.’ Now what?

NASCAR returned Sunday without fans. Here’s a list of things that can help pass the time until more live sports return.

We’ve officially danced our “Last Dance.” We’re also done reliving that championship feeling from 16 years ago.

Still, we’re a long way from sitting rinkside at a Lightning game, behind home plate at a Rays game, at midfield at a Rowdies match or on the 50-yard line at a Bucs game.

Will live sports ever come back?

Related: Udonis Haslem: Be careful with NBA restart

The sports staff of The Tampa Bay Times understands how you’re feeling. So, to help satisfy your craving, 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

The Way Back, YouTube and Amazon Prime Video, recommended by sports trending and outdoors reporter Mari Faiello

  • Say what you will about Ben Affleck, but his newest film is a good one (when the kids are away). His character, Jack Cunningham, battles alcoholism while getting wrapped up coaching the basketball team at his former Christian high school. The language might be a little strong for young ears, but the storyline here is a bit stronger.

NASCAR, FS1, recommended by college sports reporter Matt Baker

  • After racing Sunday for the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the Cup Series is back at Darlington Raceway at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. It’s worth watching because 1.) it’s actual live sports, 2.) it’s a rare weeknight Cup race and 3.) there will be interesting wrinkles to how drivers and teams handle two races on the same track in four days, under different green-flag conditions.

Little House on the Prairie 'Fight Team Fight’ (Season 7, Episode 4), Amazon Prime, recommended by college sports reporter Joey Knight

  • Guilty pleasure meets grand farce in this episode from the G-rated 1970s TV drama (available on Amazon Prime) set on the 1870s frontier. A Rutgers football hero retires to Walnut Grove and — to the delight of the townsfolk — takes over the sleepy village’s fledgling football team. Problem is, he rules with an iron fist, running some of the farm boys off and even trying to convince the teacher at the one-room schoolhouse to ease up on the homework. When Albert Ingalls suffers cracked ribs in a game, the coach keeps him in. This dude is Bear Bryant in bootstraps, and it’s hilarious (wonder if Albert entered the transfer portal).
Related: All Spanish league soccer teams cleared to start group training

Podcasts

Tampa Bay Rays Podcast, recommended by Rays reporter Marc Topkin

  • Radio pre-/post-game host Neil Solondz has been doing some really interesting podcasts with key players from Rays history, including Dan Johnson, James Shields and J.P. Howell, and his comforting interview style has gotten them to open up. You can find the interviews, along with those from current players, at raysbaseball.com/podcast. There are also video clips on the @RaysRadio Twitter account.

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 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

Loose Balls, by Terry Pluto, recommended by college sports reporter Matt Baker

  • Growing up in Indiana, I heard plenty of great stories about the American Basketball Association from my dad. This book has tons of them. They’re fascinating, hard to believe and often hilarious. It’s written in a breezy manner, too, which makes it a nice, easy-to-read distraction from everything else.

24: Life Stories and Lessons from the Say Hey Kid,by Willie Mays and John Shea, recommended by Rays beat reporter Marc Topkin

  • San Francisco Chronicle writer John Shea worked with Willie Mays and interviewed more than 200 others, from Hall-of-Fame baseball players to former presidents, to craft 24 chapters of stories, anecdotes and some never-before shared details of Mays’ life.

Sports on the Air

Monday, May 18

  • NHL Hat-Trick Trivia, 5 p.m., NBC Sports
  • PBA Bowling — U.S. Open, 5 p.m., FS2
  • NHL Hockey “2016: Tampa Bay Lightning at Pittsburgh Penguins,” 5:30 p.m., NBC Sports
  • 2017: Clemson vs. Alabama (Championship), 7 p.m., ACCN
  • Peyton’s Places: The Evolution of Coaching (Episode 23), 7 p.m., ESPN
  • The Last Dance — Episodes 7 through 10, starts at 7 p.m., ESPN2
  • Tennis “2003 Wimbledon Women’s Final: Serena Williams vs. Venus Williams,” 7 p.m., NBC Sports
  • Peyton’s Places: The Lombardi Trophy (Episode 9), 7:30 p.m., ESPN2
  • Tennis “1980 Wimbledon Men’s Final: Bjorn Borg vs. John McEnroe,” 9:30 p.m., NBC Sports
Related: NASCAR’s return gives sports fans reason to cheer, even if no one can hear: column

Tuesday, May 19

  • All Access with Miami Women’s Basketball, 10:30 a.m., ACCN
  • NCAA Men’s Basketball: All Access with Carolina Basketball Ep. 6, 11:30 a.m., ACCN
  • The Journey: Big Ten Football — Ohio State, 11:30 a.m., BTN
  • The Big Ten’s Best — Rose Bowls, noon, BTN
  • NCAA Men’s Basketball: ACC Traditions: Duke, 3:30 p.m., ACCN
  • The 600: History of NASCAR’s Toughest Race, 6 p.m., FS1
  • Greatest Games — 2014 MLS: Portland Timbers vs. Seattle Sounders FC, 6 p.m., FS2
  • NCAA Football: Saturdays in the South — Part 6: 1990-1999, 7 p.m., SEC Network
  • Tennis “2008 Wimbledon, Men’s Final: Roger Federer vs. Andy Roddick," 7 p.m., NBC Sports
  • ESPN Films Presents: The Class That Saved Coach K, 8 p.m., ACCN
  • NCAA Baseball: Florida vs. Texas (Game 2) (College World Series), 9 p.m., ESPNU

Wednesday, May 20

  • NCAA Baseball: No. 6 Georgia vs. No. 23 Ole Miss (Semifinal No. 1), noon, SEC Network
  • KBO League: LG Twins vs. Samsung Lions, 2 p.m., ESPN2
  • NASCAR Race Classic — 1994 Coke 600, 4 p.m., FS1
  • NCAA Men’s Basketball: 1996: Duke vs. Maryland, 6 p.m., ACCN
  • SEC Rewind: 1997 Auburn vs. Tennessee, 8 p.m., SEC Network

Thursday, May 21

  • College Football 150 — The American Game, 9 a.m.m ESPNU
  • Football: 2016 CFP: Alabama vs. Clemson, 10 a.m., ESPNU
  • KBO League: NC Dinos vs. Doosan Bears, 1 p.m., ESPN2
  • NHL Hockey “2019: Tampa Bay Lightning at Columbus Blue Jackets,” 6 p.m., NBC Sports
  • College Football “1992: Notre Dame vs. Penn State," 7 p.m., NBC Sports
  • NCAA Baseball: Vanderbilt vs. Virginia (CWS Finals Game 3), 7 p.m., SEC Network
  • The Last Dance — Episodes 7 through 10, starts at 7 p.m., ESPN2
  • NCAA Softball: Florida vs. LSU, 9 p.m., ESPNU

Friday, May 22

  • KBO League: KT Wiz vs. LG Twins, 2 p.m., ESPN2
  • Horses: FOX Sports Saturday at the Races, 4:30 p.m., FS2
  • Football Now — #Quarantine Q&A, 6:30 p.m., FS1
  • Greatest Games: NFL — NFC Championship: Dallas Cowboys at San Fransisco 49ers, 7 p.m., FS1
  • MLB Baseball “1998 World Series, Game 1: Oakland A’s at Los Angeles Dodgers,” 7 p.m., NBC Sports
  • Ice Hockey: Miracle, 8 p.m., ESPN
  • MLB Baseball “1986 World Series, Game 6: Boston Red Sox at New York Mets,” 9:30 p.m., NBC Sports

Saturday, May 23

  • NCAA Women’s Basketball: Baylor Bears vs. UCONN Huskies, 10 a.m., ESPNU
  • E:60: Pro Football Stories, 9 a.m., ESPN2
  • All In: The Clemson Football Family Parts 1-4, starts at 10 a.m., ACCN
  • Premier League Classics, starts at 10 a.m., NBC Sports
  • NCAA Football: ACC Traditions: Clemson, noon, ACCN
  • American Ninja Warrior “USA vs. the World,” 1 p.m., NBC Sports
  • Monster Jam “Anaheim,” 2 p.m., NBC Sports
  • American Cornhole League: Cornhole, 3 p.m., ESPN
  • Greatest Games: MLB: 2005 World Series, Game 2: Houston Astros at Chicago White Sox, 6:30 p.m., FS1
  • The Story of Formula E, 9 p.m., FS2
  • NCAA Baseball: Vanderbilt vs. Virginia (CWS Finals Game 3) (College World Series), 9 p.m., SEC Network

Sunday, May 24

  • NCAA Baseball: Michigan vs. No. 2 Vanderbilt (CWS Finals Game 3) (College World Series), 9 a.m., ESPNU
  • Premier League Match of the Week, 10 a.m., NBC Sports
  • ESPORTS: F1 Esports Monaco Pro Exhibition, noon, ESPN2
  • The Best of This is SportsCenter: 25 Years and Counting, noon, ESPN
  • The Best of This is SportsCenter: The Superstars, 1 p.m., ESPN
  • The Best of This is SportsCenter: Mascot Mayhem, 2 p.m., ESPN
  • NCAA Baseball: Clemson vs. Florida State (Championship), 2 p.m., ACCN
  • Auto Racing: Formula One, 2:30 p.m., ESPN2
  • DRL Drone Racing “2020 SIM Racing Cup: Level 2," 3 p.m., NBC Sports
  • The Last Dance — Episode 9, 7 p.m., ESPN
  • The Last Dance — Episode 10, 8 p.m., ESPN
  • SEC Rewind: 2002 Georgia vs. South Carolina, 8 p.m., SEC Network
  • NCAA Men’s Basketball: North Carolina vs. Miami (FL) (Championship) (ACC Men’s Tournament), 8 p.m., ACCN
  • 30 for 30: Lance Part 1, 9 p.m., ESPN and ESPN2
  • X Games: World of X: Tampa Pro 2020, 11:30 p.m., ESPN2

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

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