Back in 1940 a book was posthumously published from the typewriter of novelist Thomas Wolfe. Since then its title has been used as an episode of Battlestar Galactica (the remake), a video by DJ Shadow and even a headline for a column about the 2010 Republican gubernatorial primary in Texas.
The late Mr. Wolfe probably never thought his “You can’t go home again,” from an October Fair manuscript, would be quoted in so many ways although it still takes on a certain negativity when used. However, it should be pointed out that “can’t” is not an absolute and I am fortunate enough to prove that by returning as the Tampa Bay Sports Examiner.
Some around these parts might want to suggest I stay away a little longer because Tampa Bay has done quite nicely in my absence. For instance:
- The Buccaneers have a winning record (8-6) through 14 games even though the most optimistic prognosticator said reaching .500 would be tantamount to a miracle. This is Christmas after all and the Pewter Pirates can do no worse than break-even. One more win and Raheem Morris gets a few more votes for Coach of the Year and two more might put them in the playoffs. Anyone missing John Gruden right about now?
- The Lightning has reemerged as a playoff contender even after the old ownership, a.k.a. Tweedle Dumb and Tweedle Dumber, single-handedly tried to return the franchise to its inglorious past. Hockey fans are already petitioning Pope Benedict XIV to consider new owner Jeff Vinik and GM Steve Yzerman for sainthood. Do you believe in (Christmas) miracles? YES!
- The Rays are coming off their second playoff appearance in three seasons and despite all the doom-and-gloomers saying the bad old days are just around the corner, they might want to look at the Yankees who got the Bronx cheer from the likes of Cliff Lee and Carl Crawford. The Red Sox might have already clinched the A.L. East but that Wild Card looks very open to me even though the Bay Bunch still have time to fill their bullpen stocking.
- And who would have thought that Tampa Bay would have the second most anticipated bowl game behind Oregon and Auburn for the National Championship? Sure there are some pretty decent games leading up to that showdown in Phoenix but the Outback Bowl on New Year’s Day will likely set all sorts of records for attendance, viewership and media coverage. Urban Meyer brings his Florida Gators to town in what will be his final game at the school. The 45-year old will take on ageless Joe Paterno, who some think is 145 but will be 84 the day of the game, and his Nittany Lions of Penn State. Each has a pair of national titles.
Christmas came a bit early for me – personally – because I feel I am back where I belong. I originally left to pursue an opportunity that would allow me to work for a team and while I did learn a lot about FIBA basketball following a series of games against what is considered Mexico’s best team in Cancun, Cozumel and Chetumal, I never expected how much down time would follow. The team never got past the exhibition phase and after some time I took up my editor’s offer to return to foamcage.com although I was not sure where I would fit in. It didn’t take long for the pieces to fall into place.
My good friend in life, and here at foamcage.com, Althea Pashman, offered to go back to covering our seasonal teams – the Lightning, Storm and Rays – permitting me to not only return but in my original title of Tampa Bay Sports Examiner. We were always kicking around the idea of coming back and when I finally decided the time was right Althea made my editor’s job easy.
So as we wind down 2010, I would like to extend belated Chanukah wishes, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa and a very healthy and happy new year to everyone who loves sports the way I do. I look forward to once again bring you the very best coverage from Tampa Bay and beyond, in 2011 and beyond.