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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. Meet the Tampa attorney who took charge at Augusta Monday

    Golf

    AUGUSTA, Ga. — The new Chairman of the Augusta National Golf Club, and with it the Masters, wears a 42-long jacket, including his green one that never leaves the premises.

    Monday was the first day on the job for Fred Ridley, 65, a highly successful Tampa lawyer and equally successful husband and father of three grown daughters. Those last two things matter the most.

    Last week, Ridley was giving a visitor a tour of his office at America's most famous golf club, home to the world's most iconic golf tournament....

    Jack Nicklaus and Fred Ridley walk up the 17th fairway during the first round of the 1976 Masters, when Ridley played the tournament as the reigning U.S. Amateur champion and Nicklaus was the defending Masters champ. On Monday, Ridley, a Tampa attorney, assumed his duties as chairman of Augusta  National Golf Club. Photo courtesy of Augusta National Historic Imagery.
  2. Playoff baseball: Pay no attention to the sleeping child

    Blog

    It's the usual postseason routine.

    Sometime tonight, very late tonight, Fox Sports cameras will search the stands at Yankee Stadium and find a sleeping child in his seat, or slumped against a parent’s shoulder as the Yankees and Houston Astros battle on in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series.

    And the announcer will make a snappy comment.

    And I will throw something. Again....

    We are raising an entire generation of baseball fans – losing them, really – with criminally late start times and pathologically slow game pace.
  3. Fennelly: Who needs curses?

    Blog

    Who needs curses when you playing lousy all by yourselves?

    Jameis Winston says he and his aching shoulder will be back soon.

    Bucs fans can put their hearts back in their chests.

    The Ryan Fitzpatrick Curse in on hold for now. What curse? Winston leaving Sunday’s game does not yet qualify.

    Still, I told him to wear garlic around his neck!

    If Fitzpatrick starts Sunday at Buffalo, have at it. And check to see that Niagara Falls isn’t running in the opposite direction. Then, I’m telling you, that Fitzpatrick, he has powers....

    Gerald McCoy is seen on the bench during the second half of the Bucs' loss to the Cardinals.
  4. There's a path to a New Year's Day bowl for USF

    Blog

    It’s a pretty clear track.

    USF now has a path to a New Year’s Six Bowl. And that would make it a transcendent season for Charlie Strong and his now 16th-ranked Bulls.

    If USF wins out, hello to that elusive conference title. The Bulls have been chasing that since the program began.

    If USF wins out, hello Peach Bowl, or Fiesta Bowl, whichever. I think.

    Hello to tangible progress....

    USF defensive end Greg Reaves (41) celebrates a sack of Cincinnati Bearcats quarterback Ross Trail (12) during the second half.
  5. Fennelly: USF has to win every game, then pray

    College

    TAMPA — This time is was 33-3 over Cincinnati.

    Uninspired at times, USF still moved to 6-0. Make it 11 wins in a row dating to last season, the longest streak in school history, and the longest active streak in the nation. Make it 23 straight games of 30 or more points, tying the record for the longest such streak in the history of the Associated Press poll.

    "It's great that we're 6-0." USF coach Charlie Strong said. "But it wasn't good enough. We can play better. … We haven't arrived yet."...

    South Florida Bulls fans dance during a timeout at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on Saturday, October 14, 2017.
  6. Ten years ago, USF sat atop college football, almost

    College

    It is USF's version of Halley's Comet.

    Only it's never coming back around.

    Ten years ago Saturday, the USF football team, coached by Jim Leavitt, was ranked No. 2 in the first Bowl Championship Series rankings of the 2007 season.

    Really. It happened.

    It will never happen again....

    In this Sept. 28, 2007 file photo, USF head coach Jim Leavitt talks to him team in the fourth quarter of the 21-13 upset win over West Virginia. The victory helped USF climb to the No. 2 in the first BCS rankings that season. 

BRIAN CASSELLA | Times
  7. Readers weigh in on the anthem debate

    Blog

    A lot of readers felt strongly about a column I wrote earlier this week, praising athletes’ protests during the national anthem, but saying it’s time to move on to bigger and more meaningful work in the name of their causes.

    A brief sampling:

    Richard in Valrico writes:

    … Fans do not go to sporting events for their political value. The alt lefties behind this nonsense do not care about sports at all. It is all based upon the big lie of mass deaths at the hands of the police, starting in Ferguson, Mo. All they care about is destroying America. They despise football because it embodies very hard work, dedication and self-sacrifice....

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receivers Mike Evans (13) and DeSean Jackson (11) kneel during the national anthem before the game against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn., on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017.
  8. This Is What The Lightning Needed

    Blog

    It’s the start the Lightning needed.

    Have they given up a few too many chances and goals? Yes. Do they need to get better? Yes.

    But there is No way to not like the way this season has started. The Bolts have won three of four to start the season, and the last two have come over Washington and Pittsburgh. Problems?

    Thursday night at a rocking Amalie Arena, the Lightning beat the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins, 5-4, a rousing affair that had a lot of fast break to it. Great fun to watch....

  9. Pioneers of the puck: Flashback to the Lightning's first season (w/video)

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — It was 1992 and between periods at Expo Hall, the fairgrounds barn of a hockey rink for the expansion Tampa Bay Lightning, the first NHL team in Florida. Terry Crisp, the team's head coach, stood in the cramped dressing room (what wasn't cramped at the Hall?) and ripped his players for particularly lousy play. Five minutes into Crisp's eruption, the door swung open. A father and son, holding popcorn and a snow cone, walked into the room....

    Tampa hockey promoter Phil Esposito Warned politicians to support his 11th hour effort or St. Petersburg would get the hockey team. (12/2/1990)
  10. Anthem protests: Time for players to be bigger than Pence

    Bucs

    It's time for NFL players and other athletes to end their protests during the national anthem.

    They have made their point, peacefully. And well.

    That also goes for Lightning player J.T. Brown, who raised a fist during the anthem Saturday night to show support for those trying to bring awareness to inequality and police brutality.

    Brown said he received racist remarks and death threats on social media afterward....

    The Tampa Bay Lightning's J.T. Brown protests during the national anthem before the start of a game against the Florida Panthers at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla., on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017. (Matias J. Ocner/Miami Herald/TNS) 1212829
  11. Fennelly: With one pass, Miami-FSU is a rivalry again

    College

    TALLAHASSEE — Now that's how you end a losing streak.

    There were Miami Hurricanes dancing all over Florida State's football field at Doak Campbell Stadium early Saturday evening. Some did front flips. They were back.

    For the first time in forever, they owned the Seminoles.

    Miami coach Mark Richt stood at midfield, doing a TV interview. When he was done, he took a deep breath amid the bedlam all around him....

    Florida State Seminoles wide receiver Auden Tate (18) hauls in the 19 yard pass from quarterback James Blackman (1) for a first down in the fourth quarter of the game between the Florida State Seminoles and the Miami Hurricanes at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla. on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017. The Miami Hurricanes beat the Florida State Seminoles 24-20.
  12. Fennelly: Bucs' clock buffoonery cost them chance to win

    Bucs

    They should have spiked the football.

    Nick Folk is probably done as Bucs kicker. But just because he's the face of the 19-14 loss to the Patriots doesn't mean he's the only one to blame.

    Let's talk about coaching and lousy clock management.

    Back it up, before that last try to win it, that Jameis Winston pass to O.J. Howard that fell incomplete as time expired....

    Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter stands on the sidelines in the fourth quarter. [MONICA HERNDON | Times]
  13. Florida State-Miami: The game that made a rivalry

    College

    Thirty years ago, Bobby Bowden stared at the young faces surrounding him on the Florida State sideline at Doak Campbell Stadium. FSU and Miami had slugged it out for three hours. It was early evening. The FSU head coach had just sent the kicking team out to tie the game at 26-26 with 42 seconds left....

    Florida State coach Bobby Bowden walks through the crowd of Seminole fans after the dedication of a statue in his likeness (in the back) at Doak Campbell stadium in Tallahassee.   Sculptor of piece is W. Stanley "Sandy" Proctor. (Times archives)
  14. Bucs' clock buffoonery cost them chance to win

    Blog

    They should have spiked the football.

    Nick Folk is probably done as Bucs kicker. But just because he’s the face of the 19-14 loss to the Patriots doesn’t mean he’s the only one to blame.

    Let’s talk about coaching and lousy clock management.

    Back it up, before that last try to win it, that Jameis Winston pass to O.J. Howard that fell incomplete as time expired....

  15. Bucs-Patriots report card: Tom, can we get your autograph?

    Bucs

    There was royalty all over Raymond James Stadium on Thursday night. The guests of honor were New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick and the GOAT himself, Tom Brady. And Tony Dungy. And: Deion! And several Bucs Ring of Honor inductees on hand for the induction of the late Malcolm Glazer. The Bucs wore red. The Patriots wore white. Michael Irvin wore plaid. But Tom Petty music blared from the sound systems during a replay. How bad a night could it have been?...

    Doug Martin, in his first game back after a suspension, has 55 yards and a TD in the first half.