John Romano, Sports Columnist

John Romano

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.

Music was in his soul, sax was at the ready for Rays games

Max Pierre plays the saxophone outside Tropicana Field on June 26, 2018. (MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE | Times)
Max Pierre was an ever-present figure at baseball games for close to two decades. He died Jan. 5.

Why Fred McGriff’s Hall of Fame hopes are looking up

Former Devil Ray Fred McGriff, right, shakes hands with ex-teammate Tino Martinez, left, after throwing the ceremonial first pitch during the game against the Seattle Mariners on June 9, 2018, at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla.  McGriff's hopes of reaching the Baseball Hall of Fame have taken an interesting twist. MONICA HERNDON   |   Times
The Jefferson High star and former Devil Ray’s hopes of reaching Cooperstown are no longer in the hands of baseball writers, and that’s a good thing.

How Manny Machado and Bryce Harper help the Rays in the short term, and really hurt down the road

Manny Machado, left, and Bryce Harper, right. [AP photos]
Why what's happening with Machado, Harper and baseball's 2019 free-agent market will hurt the Rays in the long run.

The Bruce Arians hire is wonderful, shrewd, exciting — so long as …..

Greg Schiano, left, shakes hands with Bruce Arians, right, after the Arizona Cardinals' 13-10 victory at Raymond James Stadium on Sept. 29, 2013, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco)
If you believe Jameis Winston will be a star and the Bucs are closer to contention than they appear, Bruce Arians makes perfect sense for Tampa Bay.

Dabo Swinney, Nick Saban are title-game foes, pals on island time

Alabama coach Nick Saban, right, and Clemson coach Dabo Swinney have a moment together before the College Football Playoff championship game Monday in Santa Clara, Calif. [Associated Press]
The Clemson and Alabama coaches have summer homes among the rich and famous on Boca Grande, south of Sarasota.