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Martin Fennelly, Times Sports Columnist

Martin Fennelly

Martin Fennelly is a sports columnist for the Tampa Bay Times. He was born in New York City, raised on Long Island and was sitting in the bleachers at Yankee Stadium, minding his own business, when Reggie Jackson hit three home runs in one night to beat the Dodgers in the 1977 World Series. Prior to joining the Times, he worked as a columnist for the Tampa Tribune, St. Louis Sun and Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Martin graduated from the University of Albany, where he studied history, and attended the University of Missouri Graduate School of Journalism. He lives in Lutz with his wife, Siobhan, their children, Conor and Norah, and, at present, five cats.

Phone: (727) 893-8495

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  1. Fennelly: No all-stars are more deserving than the Lightning's Fab Four

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — The host with the most.

    The NHL All-Star Game is headed our way, and so is the Fab Four.

    "Fab Four, eh," Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman said, smiling.

    You heard me.

    It has been a Lightning season thus far, so it makes absolute sense that the best team in hockey gets to dominate the show, with four selections on the Atlantic Division roster.

    The Fab Four will be all over this game — Hedman, Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos and Andrei Vasilevskiy. Or maybe they won't. Hedman went down with an apparent knee injury in Thursday's game against Calgary. It didn't look good. There wasn't much smiling. A troubling moment....

  2. Fennelly: No all-stars are more deserving than the Lightning's Fab Four

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — The host with the most.

    The NHL All-Star Game is headed our way, and so is the Fab Four.

    "Fab Four, eh," Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman said, smiling.

    You heard me.

    It has been a Lightning season thus far, so it makes absolute sense that the best team in hockey gets to dominate the show, with four selections on the Atlantic Division roster.

    The Fab Four will be all over this game — Hedman, Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos and Andrei Vasilevskiy. Or maybe they won't. Hedman went down with an apparent knee injury in Thursday's game against Calgary. It didn't look good. There wasn't much smiling. A troubling moment....

  3. Fennelly: The Lightning's Stanley Cup hopes are riding on this

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — The Lightning had a remarkable first half of the season. Nikita Kucherov is poised to lead the league in scoring and win league MVP. Steven Stamkos is all the way back from injury. Victor Hedman is on his game. Brayden Point has established his star. Tyler Johnson looks like it's the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs again.

    It will still take the goaltender.

    It will take Andrei Vasilevskiy....

  4. Jameis Winston vs. Marcus Mariota: Advantage Mariota

    Bucs

    If they held a draft today for NFL playoff quarterbacks, I'm trading down and taking Marcus Mariota.

    Sorry, Jameis.

    Must be present to collect prize.

    Last Saturday, Mariota threw a pass that he caught himself to make a touchdown. Yeah, there was that. And he threw the winning score. He even risked his skeletal structure to throw a block that helped seal the victory. He and his team won a playoff game....

  5. Fennelly: SEC bias? Haters need to zip it

    College

  6. Fennelly: Somehow, Bucs defy drought-ending trend

    Bucs

    The NFL playoffs begin today. For all the problems the league has, the playoffs are not one of them. I'll take the NFL playoffs over the college football playoffs. It's the best football going.

    You know how I know it's the best football going?

    The Bucs aren't part of it.

    Droughts are out. The Jacksonville Jaguars are in the playoffs for the first time since 2007 — the last time the Bucs made the postseason. The Tennessee Titans are back in the playoffs for the first time in eight years. Los Angeles is about to host its first NFL playoff game in 40 years, courtesy of 31-year-old head coach Sean McVay and his Rams being back in the postseason for the first time in 13 years. And the Buffalo Bills are back for the first time in 17 years, which was the longest drought in professional sports....

  7. A Bucs life: The pain of these NFL Playoffs

    Bucs

    The NFL playoffs begin Saturday. For all the problems the league has, the playoffs are not one of them. I'll take the NFL playoffs over the college football playoffs. It's the best football going.

    You know how I know it's the best football going?

    The Bucs aren't part of it.

    Droughts are out. The Jacksonville Jaguars are in the playoffs for the first time since 2007 — the last time the Bucs made the postseason. The Tennessee Titans are back in the playoffs for the first time in eight years. Los Angeles is about to host its first NFL playoff game in 40 years, courtesy of 31-year-old head coach Sean McVay and his Rams being back in the postseason for the first time in 13 years. And the Buffalo Bills are back for the first time in 17 years, which was the longest drought in professional sports....

  8. Why Jon Gruden, (aka Jonny Vegas) will haunt the Bucs

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Bucs fans' nightmares comes in many forms, shapes and sizes. History haunts them from afar. Misery is a high roller. The franchise's sins always seem right around the corner.

    And here comes Jonny Vegas.

    Jon Gruden is reportedly coming out of hiding, if you can call Monday Night Football hiding, to again become head coach of the Oakland Raiders, who will move to Las Vegas for the 2020 NFL season....

  9. Fennelly: Our bowl is the bloomin' best at being benign

    College

    TAMPA — You know you're at a bowl game when you enter the stadium and there are hundreds of school girls in brightly colored T-shirts practicing dancing to a Beach Boys song.

    Let's see that happen in North Korea.

    You know you're at our bowl game, the Outback Bowl, when the coin toss is watched by a man dressed as an enormous bloomin' onion.

    The main course, Michigan and South Carolina, did its best on a cold, cloudy afternoon at Raymond James Stadium. At halftime, with Michigan up 9-3, we took a secret vote to pick our favorite field goal. But we eventually were treated to a 26-19 comeback win from South Carolina and head coach Will Muschamp....

  10. Bucs-Saints report card: Koetter's crew didn't quit after the season was lost

    Bucs

    Yes, it's hard to call five wins instead of four a miracle.

    But it sufficed Sunday.

    The Bucs showed a lot of heart and a lot of gumption in a game New Orleans thought it needed. The Bucs played as if they were trying to save Dirk Koetter's job, though they didn't need to.

    And they were rewarded, out of nowhere, with a 31-24 win when Jameis Quarterback led the Bucs down the field and hit godsend Chris Godwin for the winning touchdown with nine seconds left. The defense, so bad all season, showed some grit against Drew Brees and the Saints. That the Bucs lost the fifth pick in the NFL draft in the process seemed to matter little as they celebrated....

  11. Fennelly: Countdown starts now for Dirk Koetter to fix the Bucs' mess

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Not one car horn honked, not one pot or pan was banged. And today, exhilarated by the return of coach Dirk Koetter as Bucs coach next season, Jameis Winston and his teammates will go out and lose to the playoff-bound Saints. What says wait 'til next year like 4-12?

    Maybe it was something as simple as the owners, the Von Trapped Family, coming to their senses to realize they can't fire coaches more than they shoot off those ridiculous cannons....

  12. Will Muschamp shows it can be great ... to be ... an ex-Florida Gator

    College

    TAMPA — Will Muschamp, on the rebound, is in his second season as coach at South Carolina. He isn't the biggest name in coaching in his state. That's Dabo Swinney at defending national champion Clemson. Muschamp wasn't even the biggest coaching name at Thursday's Outback Bowl news conference, following Jim Harbaugh, though Muschamp's 8-4 record this season is identical to Harbaugh's at Michigan....

  13. Steve Yzerman, GM extraordinaire, has Lightning humming at top

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA —Thursday, the Montreal Canadiens will be at Amalie Arena, Jonathan Drouin included.

    The reunion.

    The man upstairs will be watching.

    No, the other man upstairs.

    We're talking about the general manager's box atop the arena and the private general manager inside it: Lightning GM Steve Yzerman, who, quietly as ever, has put together the best team in hockey, with the wins to prove it....

  14. Why Charlie Strong is still coaching USF

    College

    TAMPA —Went to USF practice the other day. The Bulls were preparing for a return to the Birmingham Bowl, where Saturday they will meet Texas Tech. I think I'll start my watch party with pigs in a blanket.

    Anyway, the Bulls are getting ready. So is their head coach.

    Charlie Strong.

    "A lot of coaches have left," USF sophomore receiver Darnell Salomon said. "I'm glad he's staying with us."...

  15. Other top trades in Tampa Bay sports history

    The Heater

    1978: The Bucs trade the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft to the Houston Oilers, who select Earl Campbell. In return, the Bucs receive Houston's first-round pick, which they use to select Doug Williams, who led the Bucs to the 1979 NFC title game, and another pick from Houston to choose eventual Pro Bowl tight end Jimmie Giles. Two Ring of Honor inductees for … a Hall of Famer.

    2000: The Bucs give up two first-round draft picks to acquire New York Jets receiver Keyshawn Johnson. Johnson signs an eight-year, $56 million contract extension to make him the highest paid receiver in the NFL....