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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. Hey kids, these are called ticket stubs. There was a time when you actually had to carry these around with you to get into ballgames and concerts. They're not as efficient as mobile apps, but they do have a certain sentimental value.
  2. Finishing at, or near, the bottom of MLB in attendance isn't even the biggest problem for the Rays. It's the huge gap between where the Rays are in attendance compared to the average team. Tampa Bay is roughly 92 percent below just an average MLB crowd. [Times files (2017)]
  3. He was the best player on some pretty bad Tampa Bay teams from 2001-06 before being dealt to Houston in the Ben Zobrist trade, but in his book "Baseball Junkie," Aubrey Huff has admitted he was not a particularly likable character.
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  5. Manager A.J. Hinch was one of two people suspended for a year by baseball and later fired by the Astros for the electronic sign-stealing saga. It seems somewhat unfair considering Hinch was merely aware of the situation while his players were active participants.
  6. It was that kind of game Saturday night. Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Robert Hagg (8) collides with Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) as defenseman Luke Schenn (2) comes to help out during the third period of Tampa Bay's 5-3 victory. JASON BEHNKEN | AP Photo
  7. Former Rays executive Chaim Bloom, left, listens as Ron Roenicke answers questions Tuesday after being named interim manager of the Boston Red Sox. Boston fired Alex Cora after his role in the Houston cheating scandal was revealed in the off-season and Bloom had to unexpectedly find a replacement.
  8. Get ready, Tampa Bay. WrestleMania 36 is just one of many cool events Tampa Bay is hosting over the next few months.
  9. Two of the more unique features to the XFL game between Tampa Bay and New York in MetLife Stadium on Sunday: The innovative kickoff alignment and the challenge of filling NFL stadiums.
  10. The 1979 Rams got to play a Super Bowl in Pasadena, right down the street from their own stadium, because the Bucs, with quarterback Doug Williams and coach John McKay, failed to score a point in the NFC Championship Game at Tampa Stadium.
  11. Raymond James Stadium will be filled on Feb. 7, 2021, for Super Bowl 55, but will the Bucs be on the field or in front of their televisions? Coming off a 7-9 season, the Bucs are nobody's darlings when it comes to preseason betting lines, but they may be closer to the big game than you think.
  12. Former Rays vice president Chaim Bloom made his first big deal as Red Sox GM on Wednesday by shedding the salaries of Mookie Betts and David Price in exchange for younger players. Boston fans may not be happy, but it's what ownership signed up for when raiding the Rays brain trust.
  13. That would be the Lombardi Trophy. And that would be Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid's reflection in it. Reid disposed of the title of the best coach to never win a Super Bowl when the Chiefs beat the 49ers 31-20 in Super Bowl 54.
  14. A statue of NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino stands outside Hard Rock Stadium Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020, in Miami Gardens, Fla., in preparation for the NFL Super Bowl 54 football game.
  15. If New England is willing to throw away a perfectly good, albeit used, Hall of Famer, then the Bucs should be interested. Just as long as they are aware of the potential drawbacks of turning a franchise over to a 43 year old quarterback. CHARLES KRUPA | AP Photo
  16. The St. Pete City Council asked Mayor Rick Kriseman for an update on the Rays stadium situation. Kriseman said he did not want to discuss details in public and, instead, offered to meet with individual council members to fill them in on six months of fruitless negotiations.
  17. For a while, Nick Anderson was nearly unhittable after the Rays acquired him from the Marlins in July. He ended up with 41 strikeouts in 21.1 innings for the Rays in 2019.
  18. Florida freshman Scottie Lewis tries to slow down Baylor guard Davion Mitchell during UF's 72-61 loss Saturday night. Gators coach Mike White would later describe the team's defensive effort as "soft'' and "immature."
  19. As Florida forward Keyontae Johnson helps defend, forward Kerry Blackshear steals the ball from Baylor guard Matthew Mayer during the first half, when the No. 1-ranked Bears took a 40-29 lead in Gainesville.
  20. With pitching coach Kyle Snyder keeping a close eye on him at Tropicana Field on Friday, Rays prospect Brent Honeywell continues his recovery from Tommy John surgery in 2018 and a fractured arm in 2019.
  21. Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Terrell Suggs (94) celebrates a sack of Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) during the second half of an NFL football game in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019.
  22. In this file photo, American League All-Star Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees acknowledges the crowd before his first at bat during the 85th MLB All-Star Game at Target Field on July 15, 2014 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
  23. San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch, center, is interviewed by Terry Bradshaw after the NFL NFC Championship football game against the Green Bay Packers Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020, in Santa Clara, Calif. The 49ers won 37-20 to advance to Super Bowl 54 against the Kansas City Chiefs. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
  24. He is a Yankee icon. One of baseball's greatest ambassadors. And soon, he will be a Hall of Famer. But did Jeter's reputation exceed his actual value on the field?