covid cutouts

Fennelly- Stop the Seasons, I Want to Get Off

August 21, 2020

By: Martin Fennelly

TAMPA, Fla. – Can we just stop right now? I want to get off.

Today, August 21.

Enough with the rest of the baseball season, what there is of it. Enough with the hockey playoffs, or what’s left of them. Enough with actually playing actual games in an NFL season.

Tampa Bay rules the world!

Why take a chance on things getting worse?

Just look.

The Rays have jumped to a lead in the AL Easy after sweeping the Yankees in New York. The Lightning just got some playoffs payback in brushing aside Columbus in five games.

And Tom Brady is staying hydrated, dropping dimes at Bucs training camp.

Do we really want to mess with all that?

Will it ever get better than this?

This feels good.

Better than good.

The Yankees, who broke from the gate fast this COVID-shortened season, have been overwhelmed by Kevin Cash’s Rays, at the plate, on the mound, in the field, everywhere. The Rays have won six of seven games against mighty New York.

Stop the season now, today, before the game at Tropicana Field against the Buffalo Blue Jays.

Or before someone sneezes without a mask and the Rays are quarantined for two weeks.

The coronavirus is serious business. But the Rays are going about their business, them and their thousand-man pitching staff.

It doesn’t get any better than first place. Don’t look now, but there’s only a little more than half a season left.

Who is going to beat the Rays right now?

And who is going to beat the Lightning?

Well, yes, maybe the Bruins, who ruled the NHL regular season before flopping in round-robin play, but who are now resurgent as Tampa Bay’s probable next playoff opponent. Or maybe it will be the Islanders.

It sure as hell won’t be former Lightning coach John Tortorella and his Blue Jackets. The series was close, and it took two Brayden Point overtime goals, including the Game 5 series winner.

The Lightning has waited more than 450 days for a redemption tour, the great flop of 2019 burned into their brains, that ghastly sweep to Columbus, a record-breaking season reduced to rubble. This was step one on the road back.

Maybe that’s why Lightning coach Jon Cooper did a fist pump as he left the ice after handshakes all around after Game 5. You can talk about redemption all you want, all those close Lightning calls in the past, but this series needed to be won, and it was and then some.

It’s a long way to the Stanley Cup, and we have seen the Lightning implode all too often, sometimes late, sometimes early. Do they really have to keep playing? Yes, they do. This could all go away like that. Steven Stamkos is still out. What if someone else goes down, like Point or Nikita Kucherov or Victor Hedman? It could happen. Even that dazzling g pepper-pot third line of Yanni Gourde, Barclay Goodrow, and Blake Coleman wouldn’t be enough.

Can’t we just stop now and avoid possible misery?

I mean, take Brady and the Bucs. They are hard at work, and they look good. Brady is hitting his guys. Bucs receiver Mike Evans says Brady might make him a “living legend.” That’s the energy out of the Bucs.

The Bucs look so good that Brady might even be an afterthought, behind a defense that roared in the second half of last season and might just keep it up, from front to even back, with Shaq Barrett and Lavonte David leading the way in the middle.

The NFL season can’t start fast enough.

Actually, it can.

How many high-hopes Bucs teams have wound up in graveyards in franchise history. I’ve lost count. We haven’t even factored in COVID or Brady’s driver’s license, which reads 43 years old, no matter how much water he drinks. This could all go away in a flash. I don’t think it will, but, really, is there any better Bucs time than Bucs camp?

The Bucs have the season right where they want it: Still weeks away. Who needs reality? And who needs a Rays losing streak or a Lightning flop?

Think of where we are right now.

Tampa Bay is king. But shaky is the crown.

It couldn’t get any better than it is right now.

Something has to go wrong, right?


Do we really have to keep going?

Oh, well, I suppose we do, fingers crossed.

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