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Tom Jones, Times Sports Columnist

Tom Jones

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.

Phone: (727) 893-8544

Email: tjones@tampabay.com

Radio talk show (620-AM, 95.3-FM): Listen live

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  1. Tom Jones' Two Cents: ABC's Indy 500 coverage is stellar again

    TV and Radio

    Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

    Best coverage

    ABC's coverage of Sunday's Indianapolis 500 was sensational.

    It's mostly meat-and-potatoes stuff. In other words, ABC doesn't break out all kinds of fancy graphics and glitzy tricks. But what it does give you — extraordinary camera work, skilled direction, astute commentary and plenty of hustle by all the above — makes for a special broadcast....

    Takuma Sato left, celebrates after winning the Indianapolis 500 as Helio Castroneves is a little late passing him. ABC’s coverage of the race is stellar throughout, with plenty of extras but no fake drama.
  2. Bucs WR DeSean Jackson knows only one direction: full speed ahead

    Sports

    TAMPA — DeSean Jackson is the "1."

    Actually, Jackson, the Bucs' latest weapon for quarterback Jameis Winston, with his blazing speed and game-changing splash plays, wears No. 11 in games.

    But in practice? He's the 1. That's what he was wearing this week at One Buc Place.

    Maybe he ran so fast that one of the 1s came off.

    "Keeps my youth," Jackson said. "Keeps the memories."...

    DeSean Jackson, a needed Bucs game-breaker who signed a $33.5 million deal, welcomes big expectations.
  3. Why the Lightning should trade Jonathan Drouin

    Lightning Strikes

    Trade him.

    The Lightning should trade Jonathan Drouin.

    Not because he's a bad kid, because he's not. And not because he isn't a good player, because he is.

    It just feels like trading Drouin might be the best move for the future of the Lightning, both long-term and short.

    No one is suggesting that the Lightning should just trade Drouin for the sake of trading him. This isn't addition by subtraction....

    Lightning wing Jonathan Drouin celebrates after beating Los Angeles Kings goalie Peter Budaj during the first period of Tuesday's win in Tampa. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
  4. Tom Jones: Rays made right move sending Blake Snell to minors

    The Heater

    tom jones' two cents

    ST. PETERSBURG

    The Rays took their team photo before Wednesday night's game against the Angels. One player who should have been there was not: pitcher Blake Snell.

    In fact, Snell should have been on the mound Wednesday night. It was his turn in the rotation. Instead, the Rays started Erasmo Ramirez. That's because Snell was shipped down to Triple-A Durham a week-and-a-half ago....

    Blake Snell’s struggles on the mound were only one of the reasons the Rays sent him to the minors; some other red flags existed. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]
  5. NFL rewards Tampa Bay's track record, preparation with another Super Bowl

    Bucs

    Tampa Bay got lucky on Tuesday.

    We are getting a Super Bowl. We are getting a Super Bowl that we weren't supposed to get. We're getting a Super Bowl that we once were told we wouldn't get.

    Then came good luck.

    But you know what they say about good luck. It's when opportunity meets preparation.

    The opportunity came along, and Tampa Bay sure was prepared.

    Pass out the cigars, pass out the pats on the back. There are plenty of people who deserve credit....

     Bucs owner Malcolm Glazer (left) and son Edward Glazer celebrate the Bucs win and their upcoming trip to San Diego and the Super Bowl.  

[Bill Serne | Times]
  6. Jones: We all know LeBron James is the real NBA MVP

    TV and Radio

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

    Best player

    Who is the NBA's most valuable player? We can make legitimate cases for the three players who are official finalists.

    Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook had the league's first triple double for a season since Oscar Robertson in 1961-62, and after the offseason departure of Kevin Durant, he pretty much single-handedly carried the Thunder into the playoffs....

    BOSTON, MA - MAY 19:  LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers reacts in the first half against the Boston Celtics during Game Two of the 2017 NBA Eastern Conference Finals at TD Garden on May 19, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) 700050320
  7. Jones: Always Dreaming is reason to keep dreaming about another Triple Crown winner

    Horseracing

    For nearly four decades, winning horse racing's Triple Crown had turned into the impossible dream.

    We went 37 years — from Affirmed in 1978 to American Pharoah in 2015 — without a horse collecting the three crown jewels of the sport. But when American Pharoah snapped the drought, did we suddenly forget how hard of an accomplishment this is?

    Has the Triple Crown lost its luster?...

    BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 15: Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming is bathed after training for the upcoming Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 15, 2017 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) 700016060
  8. Jones: My nominee for best story of the week

    Human Interest

    The best story I read this week was called 88 Keys.

    The author is in second grade.

    It's the story of a little boy who plays piano, a piano given to him by his 86-year-old neighbor, Ms. Cappy. She used to play every morning, but she became sick and had to move to Texas, where her daughter could take care of her. So she gave the piano, made in 1886, to the little boy. He took lessons and even played in a big competition in Jacksonville....

    Front cover of Cross Creek Chronicle, Spring 2017 issue
  9. Why it's getting harder to defend Danica Patrick

    Auto racing

    Full disclosure: I like Danica Patrick.

    Ever since she joined NASCAR six seasons ago, I've pulled for her to win. Partly because it would be great for the sport and partly to shut up the chauvinists who still don't believe a woman should be driving with men.

    In a sport that is losing big personalities — Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart are retired and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is about to be — Patrick has everything NASCAR needs to have a superstar lift the sport up onto her shoulders....

    TALLADEGA, AL - MAY 07:  Ricky Stenhouse Jr., driver of the #17 Fifth Third Bank Ford, poses with his girlfriend, Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 Aspen Dental Ford, in Victory Lane after winning the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on May 7, 2017 in Talladega, Alabama.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) 700044844
  10. Jones: ESPN's new Sunday morning show could be among its best ever

    TV and Radio

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

    ESPN's new Sunday morning show, E:60, made its debut, and there aren't enough words to praise just how good it was.

    If future weeks can match Sunday's show, then ESPN will have perhaps the best show it has ever produced. That might seem like hyperbole, but it truly was a remarkable show, and it was heartening to witness a commitment to telling compelling stories, especially in the wake of recent massive layoffs at the network....

    Twitter
  11. Jones: Tapping the brakes on the Bucs bandwagon

    Bucs

    It isn't clear when exactly it happened.

    Maybe it was when the Bucs signed the prize free agent of the offseason, DeSean Jackson.

    Maybe it was when HBO's Hard Knocks picked the Bucs to be this season's featured team.

    Maybe it was when the Bucs had Alabama tight end O.J. Howard fall into their laps in the draft.

    But somewhere along the way, the Bucs became the cool kids in town....

    Tackle Gerald McCoy is one of two elite players on the Bucs’ defense. The pickings are slim after that.
  12. Tom Jones: Don't stand for NFL teams not signing Colin Kaepernick

    Bucs

    This is a story about a quarterback. A pretty good quarterback, or so his resume would suggest.

    He led a team to a Super Bowl. He has been to two conference championship games. He has started 58 games in the NFL. He has completed nearly 60 percent of his passes and has thrown twice as many touchdown passes (72) as interceptions (30). And if need be, he's a heck of a runner.

    He has done all this and he's still not 30 years old....

    San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) waits with teammates to take the field before a football game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on Sunday, Oct. 23, 2016.
  13. 'Big Dog’ Steve Duemig, battling cancer, set to return to radio show on Monday

    Blog

    Steve Duemig, long-time afternoon drive host on WDAE 620-AM, is scheduled to return Monday after missing the past three months with a brain tumor. The station tweeted out Thursday that Duemig, known as the “Big Dog”, will return to his usual 3 p.m. time slot on Monday.

    RELATED: Jones: Radio personality 'Big Dog’ Steve Duemig, battling cancer, hopes to bark again...

    Steve Duemig is scheduled to return to his radio show Monday after missing the past three months with a brain tumor. [Photo by Edward Linsmier]
  14. Jones: Radio personality 'Big Dog' Steve Duemig, battling cancer, hopes to bark again

    TV and Radio

    He has made a living fighting with Tampa Bay sports fans. Now he is in the fight of his life.

    For Steve Duemig, the longtime afternoon drive host at WDAE 620-AM and the dean of sports-talk radio in Tampa Bay, this isn't about some caller in St. Pete or Brandon, arguing about what's wrong with the Rays or how many games the Bucs are going to win.

    This is the most formidable opponent of all....

    Steve Duemig, right, speaks with former Bucs fullback Mike Alstott, left, during a broadcast from Harpo's in Carrollwood  in 1999. [Times files]
  15. Tom Jones' Two Cents: Sad to see ESPN's 'Sports Reporters' come to an end

    Sports

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

    Saddest goodbye

    I've been doing this weekend-in-review column for the past 10 years. Though I have no official numbers, I'm fairly certain that no show has been quoted more often in it than ESPN's Sports Reporters. That's because each week, someone on the show says something smart or funny or shocking or a combination that needed to be repeated here. Plus, it was a part of my Sunday morning routine for nearly 30 years....

    Quarterbacks Tony Romo, left, and Jay Cutler move from the field to the broadcast booth.