Tuesday, July 17, 2018


Tom Jones, Times sports columnist

Tom Jones, Times sports columnist

Tom Jones writes columns and television/radio commentary for the Tampa Bay Times' Sports section. He has covered everything from high schools to colleges to professional sports since starting with the St. Petersburg Evening Independent in 1986. After the Independent, Tom worked at the Times (1987-91), the Tampa Tribune (1991-96), the Times again (1996-2000), the Minneapolis Star-Tribune (2000-03) and returned for his third stint at the Times in 2003. Though he has covered all sports, Tom is a hockey writer at heart. He covered the Tampa Bay Lightning from its first game in 1992 until moving to Minnesota to cover the Wild for three years. He returned to the Times again to cover the Lightning until taking over as writer and editor for Page Two in 2006. He lists Herb Brooks, Lou Piniella and Wayne Gretzky as the most interesting personalities he has covered and the 2002 Winter Olympics as the best event he has covered. Tom co-hosts a sports talk show weekday mornings from 6-9 on WDAE 620-AM, 95.3-FM. He previously hosted a weekly sports roundtable show on Bright House Sports Network. Radio talk show (620-AM, 95.3-FM): listen live

Here's our Mount Rushmore of Tampa Bay individual sports (from left): Brooke Bennett, Nicole Haislett, Brittany Lincicome and Winky Wright. [Times files]

Here’s our Mount Rushmore of Tampa Bay individual sports

Here's our Mount Rushmore of Tampa Bay individual sports:Brooke BennettPlant City's Brooke Bennett was a three-time Olympic gold medalist swimmer, winning a gold in the 1996 Atlanta Games and then two more in Sydney in...
Published: 07/13/18
Updated: 07/15/18
Here's our Mount Rushmore of Tampa Bay sports, illustrated in a sand sculpture rather than carved into granite (from left) Lee Roy Selmon, Warren Sapp, Marty St. Louis and Derrick Brooks. [Illustration by Luke Brookes]

Here’s the Mount Rushmore of Tampa Bay sports

If I say Mount Rushmore, what's the first thing that comes to mind?You might think of the sculpture carved into the granite face of the South Dakota mountains. The faces of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson,  Teddy Roosevelt and...
Published: 07/13/18
Updated: 07/14/18
The Lightning's Mount Rushmore (from left): Marty St. Louis, Vinny Lecavalier, Steven Stamkos, Brian Bradley. [Times files]

Here’s our Mount Rushmore for the Lightning

The Lightning just celebrated its 25th anniversary season — long enough to have a Mount Rushmore.Here it is:Marty St.
Published: 07/13/18
Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter talks to the media after mandatory mini camp on June 12, 2018 at One Buc Place in Tampa, Fla. MONICA HERNDON   |   Times

Staring through the Bucs abyss

Bucs training camp is now less than a month away, and it feels like dark clouds have gathered around One Buc Place.It happened suddenly.Just a few weeks ago, I wrote how it felt as if the Bucs were starting to take steps toward...
Published: 07/07/18
FILE - In this Nov. 17, 2017, file photo, Dale Earnhardt Jr. speaks with the media during a news conference before a NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Fla. Dale Earnhardt Jr. is ready to slide into the next phase of his NASCAR career, this time as a broadcaster. Earnhardt makes his anticipated debut in the NBC Sports booth this weekend at Chicagoland. (AP Photo/Terry Renna, File) NY168

What’s next for Dale Earnhardt Jr.

So Saturday night, we will turn on the Coke Zero Sugar 400 from Daytona and see Dale Earnhardt, Jr.But not behind the wheel.That's still weird for us, so it has got to be weird for him, right?"It's not weird at all, man,''...
Published: 07/05/18
Updated: 07/06/18
DIRK SHADD   |   Times  Tampa Bay General Manager Steve Yzerman addresses the media the day after their playoff run ended with a game 7 loss in the Eastern Conference Final at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Thursday, May 24, 2018.

Lightning’s summer might already be over, and that’s okay

So here we are, right in the middle one of the most jittery offseasons in Lightning history.Bet the boys can hardly sit still waiting for the start of next season. That's what happens when you come this close to getting to the Stanley...
Published: 07/03/18
Centerfielder Mallex Smith, right, is all smiles as he joins the Rays' celebration line after playing a key role in the 3-2 win over the Astros on Sunday, July 1, 2018. [MONICA HERNDON  |  Times]

Two Cents: Thrilling Rays, smart Lightning, smarter Bobby Bonilla

ST. PETERSBURG — Things that popped into my head while in the Tropicana Field press box Sunday watching the Rays and Astros.• What the Rays are doing is stunning. Absolutely stunning.Sunday's game might have been the...
Updated one month ago
LOREN ELLIOTT   |   TimesTampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) greets teammates at the door to the locker room before an NFL game between the New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017.

Why Jameis Winston won’t be able to outplay this

Twice in the past week, I've called upon the Bucs to get rid of Jameis Winston. His horrible actions in an Uber in March 2016 are just the most recent example of bad decision-making from a guy who seems incapable of making good...
Updated one month ago
Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter, left, speaks with quarterback Jameis Winston during last season's home game vs. Atlanta.  (MONICA HERNDON | Times)

Hey, Bucs, there’s no more benefit of the doubt with Jameis Winston

The National Football League could not have been clearer or more direct. It accused Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston of sexually...
Updated one month ago
DIRK SHADD   |   TimesFormer Tampa Bay Lightning player Marty St. Louis during a press conference before he drops the ceremonial first puck as the Lightning take on the Buffalo Sabres at the Amalie Arena in Tampa. St. Louis will have his number 26 retired during the jersey retirement ceremony Friday evening.

Marty St. Louis gets the call he deserves

Marty St. Louis was at his home in Connecticut on Tuesday afternoon. It was a little before 3 p.m. when his phone rang.
Updated one month ago