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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. 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....

    Charles Barkley wants you to watch the NHL playoffs.
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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, kisses 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
  5. 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....

    QB Dak Prescott points skyward in tribute to his late mother during a Mississippi State game. ESPN’s new Sunday show, E:60, debuted with a story about their relationship.
  6. 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....

    Tight end O.J. Howard from University of Alabama, selected by the Buccaneers in the first round of the NFL draft, laughs at a joke that head coach Dirk Koetter didn't find as funny at a press conference at One Buc Place in Tampa, Fla., on Friday, April 28, 2017. The Buccaneers selected Howard with the 19th overall pick.
  7. 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....

    In August, Colin Kaepernick wore a shirt showing Fidel Castro meeting with Malcolm X. [Ben Margot | Associated Press]
  8. '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]
  9. 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, the dean of sports-talk radio in Tampa Bay, almost died when a brain tumor hit in February.
  10. 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....

    2016 SUMMER OLYMPIC GAMES -- Pictured: Bob Costas, Primetime Host -- (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC)
  11. The fight Dick Vitale will never surrender

    College

    The very first Dick Vitale Gala wasn't really a gala.

    It was a gathering, 150 or so people crammed into Vitale's home in Lakewood Ranch back in 2005.

    He did it as a favor to Nick Valvano, the brother of late N.C. State basketball coach Jim Valvano. Nick was running the V Foundation for Cancer Research. Maybe Dickie V could have a few influential friends over the house, raise awareness, maybe raise a few bucks....

    Lightning CEO Steve Griggs and Dick Vitale talk to Jeff Vinik during the Dinner. The Tampa Bay Lightning hosts the Community Heroes Celebration Dinner at the T. Pepin Hospitality Centre in Tampa. [Sunday, March 10, 2016] [Photo Luis Santana | Times]
  12. Jones: Explaining the NFL's real pot problem to Roger Goodell

    Bucs

    NFL commissioner Roger Goodell made a fool of himself again this week.

    The commish, he of the $34 million annual salary, was asked on ESPN's Mike & Mike radio show if he was willing to consider allowing players to use marijuana for medical reasons, especially pain relief.

    Here's what Goodell said:

    "You're ingesting smoke, so that's not usually a very positive thing that people would say. It does have addictive nature. There are a lot of compounds in marijuana that may not be healthy for the players long term. All of those things have to be considered."...

    NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says that players having a visible platform for their viewpoints, but with that comes responsibility to use those platforms properly.  [Associated Press]
  13. Frank Deford, one of America's all-time great sportswriters and commentators, is retiring

    Blog

    Frank Deford, certainly on the short list of the greatest American sportswriters and commentators who has ever lived, is retiring from his job at NPR.

    "Yes, this is my swansong, my farewell, my last hurrah. Adieu, adios, arrivederci, auf wiedersehen," Deford said.

    For the past 37 years, Deford has voiced 1,656 commentaries for public broadcasting and he used his final one to say goodbye....

    President Barack Obama laughs with Frank Deford as he awards him the National Humanities Medal during a ceremony in the East Room of White House in Washington in 2012.
  14. 'The best player I ever saw' returns to the Trop Wednesday

    Sports

    Who is the best baseball player you ever saw?

    Your answer likely depends on your age. Older generations will say Willie Mays or Mickey Mantle. More recent generations will say Ken Griffey Jr. or Barry Bonds. Today's generation might say Mike Trout.

    My vote might surprise you. He will be at Tropicana Field tonight: Ichiro Suzuki.

    The best player I ever saw.

    Someone out there agrees with me....

    Miami Marlins' Ichiro Suzuki stands for the Japanese national anthem after a pregame ceremony honoring his 3,000th career hit before a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Sunday, April 30, 2017, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky) FLLS105
  15. Jones' Two Cents: ESPN layoffs, Colts' draft mockery and more

    TV and Radio

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

    The sports world was rocked last week when ESPN laid off nearly 100 employees, most of them writers, reporters and analysts. The list included Ed Werder, Danny Kanell, Jay Crawford and Trent Dilfer.

    There are plenty of places on the Internet if you're interested in detailed stories about ESPN's financial situation and how it got to the point where it decided it needed layoffs. But I'm going to use this space to address a few other aspects of the ESPN story....

    NBC’s Eddie Olczyk, left, and Doc Emrick are right on the mark.