Sometimes You Just Need to Catch Up on What’s Going On…

TAMPA, MAY 23, 2018 – In case you haven’t noticed, 2018 is flying by… heck, we’re nearly done with May and I haven’t even eaten all of my Holiday meat and cheese from the Mall’s gift packs from Christmas yet.  Guess I need to get a move on.

This time of year is unique in that it is the confluence of all major sports in the United States, as basketball and hockey are nearing their finals; baseball has gotten into its ‘swing’… no more snow-games to worry about now, and the All-Star break is a little over a month away… and believe it or not, football has started their first OTAs for upcoming season.

Sure, we can throw in soccer and lacrosse and the WNBA if you want to include them as well… why not? That means there’s quite a lot going on for you… Mr. and Mrs. SPORTS FAN!!

Tonight will be Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals in the NHL, as your Lightning hope to commit ‘Capital-punishment’ on their foes from D.C.  The Lightning have the best Game 7 playoff record for NHL teams at 5-2, while the Caps have the worst record in the league in those games.  Anything can happen in a Game 7 though, as the Vegas Golden Knights await the winner for the Stanley Cup Finals.

The Knights are cruising… an EXPANSION TEAM unlike any other and have been the surprise of the league this year.  In fact, IF the Knights win the Stanley Cup, they will be the FIRST Expansion Team to win their league’s title in a MAJOR U.S. sport… with these caveats.  Of course, when a league starts ALL teams are ‘expansion teams,’ so that is considered… and we’ll also take note of the Tampa Bay Rowdies, who were MLS Champions in their maiden year of 1975… and would never win another championship.


While we’re talking about Vegas, is it any wonder Raiders’ fan have a persecution complex against them? It’s like Joe Pesci screaming at them… the NFL always [expletive] you.  Why do I say this? The Raiders’ brand new stadium will be ready in 2020 in time for a Super Bowl, as most new stadiums get the big event usually within two if not four years (at most) of its inception.

For the Raiders (and Vegas), the EARLIEST they would host a Super Bowl would be 2025, as Super Bowls through 2022 have already been awarded, and purportedly the Lombardi dance for 2023 and 2024 are expected to be given to Arizona and New Orleans, respectively.  Somewhere above (or below if you’re negative) Al Davis is gathering up some “muscle” to make things happen… probably just a ‘little conversation’ with the commissioner…


Onwards to football on the field… as the Bucs opened up their OTAs yesterday with some ‘Disney Action’ slated for their first-round draft pick Vita Vea of Washington.  In what is ‘Rite of Passage’ in the NFL, rookies have to perform some tasks assigned by their elder-statesmen teammates, and woe is the rookie who doesn’t partake positively.

At a news conference after the day’s practice, Pro Bowl Defensive Lineman Gerald McCoy stated Vea would be made to talk to McCoy’s kids… in character… as Maui from the Disney cartoon movie Moana.  Vea DEFINITELY resembles the cartoon character more than the Maui voice-dubbing Duane Johnson, although ‘The Rock’ I’m sure is quite happy he doesn’t have to make a living in the trenches anymore.

Speaking of ‘the trenches’ of the defensive line, newly acquired Jason Pierre Paul didn’t partake of the ‘voluntary’ practice, and along with veteran cornerback Brent Grimes, decided their attendance wasn’t necessary.  We’ll see if this small act of indifference hurts in team building, as the Bucs need all the ‘positive waves’ to go their way to get out of the NFC South cellar.

All of the NFL’s 32 teams started their OTAs this week (with teams who have had coaching changes allowed to have a ‘rookie camp’ last week to get a jump on getting their new team and new coaching staff to ‘gel’ for this upcoming season).  For those keeping track, it’s only 105 days until the ‘Opening Thursday Night’ kickoff of the 2018 regular season with the Eagles hosting the Falcons.


Before you make it to the pros, you pay your dues in college.  I find it amusing that many ‘sports fans’ still don’t give fair due to the football programs in the state of Florida, opting to say the California schools or the institutions in Texas produce better athletes in comparison.

To that I say … Bull!! And speaking of the Bulls, they delivered two of their former players (Deadrin Senat and Marquez Valdes-Scantling) to the Falcons and Packers, respectively, while their rivals across I-4 at UCF sent four to the pros, including 1st Round selection cornerback Mike Hughes to Minnesota and linebacker Shaquem Griffin, who garnered a tremendous amount of camera time from the Combine to Draft Weekend, going to play with his twin again in Seattle.

The Gators sent five to the NFL via the draft, including 1st Round selection Taven Bryan instate to the Jags, while the ‘Noles sent six including 1st Round defensive back Derwin James to the L.A. Chargers as their conference foes in Miami added six to the instate tally.  Even FIU had a quarterback drafted by the Seahawks.

Florida colleges sent a very respectable 24 to the NFL via the draft… and that doesn’t count a myriad of free-agent signees, to include studs like kicker Joel Pinero from UF who’ll hope to ease the pain as Raiders’ fans remember former-Florida State legend Sebastian Janikowski no longer kicks for Oakland.


Finally, if it’s late May, LeBron James must be making his plans for the NBA Finals, as the Akron Dynamo makes his home on the televisions of the nation in June each year.  LeBron has been in the Finals eight times, including the last seven years (2010-2017).  In fact, the last year LeBron WASN’T in the Finals, he would shortly entice TV audiences with his pronouncement of ‘bringing his talents to South Beach.’

This year’s travails for James are a bit more intensive, as the Cavs have had a slightly bumpy ride so far in 2018.  They’ve made their way back to the Eastern Conference Finals yet again, only to come up against a buzz saw in Boston who dispatched them unceremoniously on their Boston home court.  It wasn’t until the Cavs went home and the rest of LeBron’s teammates woke up to support him.  Since then, Cleveland has tied up the series 2-2 and is headed back to Boston, where the Celts have yet to lose at home this post season.  If the Celtics can hold ‘home court,’ LeBron may have to make golf plans a few weeks early, but we’ll have to wait and see how this contest fares at the end.

Meanwhile, the Rockets hope to end the Warriors’ bid to repeat as Champions, but it looks like Stephon Curry has finally found his three-point stroke in time.  Will the Cavs again play the Warriors? Will the Rockets come back after being drubbed by over 40points in the Bay?

Come back next time… when these questions will be answered.

Jay “Captain Jack” Levy, BCP Contributor