Month: May 2018

Shaquem Griffin Is Feel Good Story of the Draft

It is not typically ordinary for a 5th round draft pick to steal the show, but then again: Shaquem Griffin is no ordinary talent. When the Seattle Seahawks drafted the St. Petersburg, Florida native with the 141st overall pick they weren’t just getting a high energy linebacker from the University of Central Florida: they were getting an inspiration to kids with physical disabilities everywhere.

Griffin, of course, only has one full hand. But he has never let that stop him in pursuit of his dreams of becoming a professional football player. And now — he’s achieved it. Make no mistake, Shaquem Griffin definitely has the chance to produce year in and year out at the National Football League level, look no further for examples of this than his blazing fast 40 yard dash time of 4.38. To make things even greater for the pride of UCF, he will be joining his twin brother Shaquill Griffin on the Seattle Seahawks roster. The Griffin twins are an inspiration not just to families in the Tampa and St. Petersburg areas but for young kids across the country who have dealt with any sort of adversity on the way to achieving their dreams.

Both Griffin brothers on the defensive side of the ball for Seattle will not just be a feel good story, they’ll make an intimidating duo for opposing offenses with their blazing speed and ability to hit and wrap up opposing ball carriers. It seems as if Seattle is going through a tad bit of a rebuild phase, so adding young men like Shaquem and Shaquill who will bring fans into the seat and excite them with their chemistry and high flying action are surely exactly what the Seattle front office will be trying to replicate across the field.

There is no way around it, most of the country is rooting for Shaquem Griffin’s success on the football field. Of course, that will mean a great deal of pressure on the young man’s shoulders. But the good news is he has been dealing with adversity and challenges his entire life, this should be nothing new for the linebacker.

Lightning Bolts in Tampa Bay Aimed at the Stanley Cup

In a city where the average year-round temperature is above 80 degrees, one might not expect to find an ice hockey team, but that is exactly what you will find in Tampa, Florida. The Tampa Bay Lightning Bolts are not just an ice-hockey team, but they are playing against the Boston Bruins in the second round of the playoffs for the Stanley Cup.

Fans thundered after the Bolts won the first round series against the New Jersey Devils. The Bolts now face the Boston Bruins in the Second-Round.

The Bolts started the series with a disappointing 6-2 loss to the Bruins in the first game. There was concern from the start since the Bolts have only won 10 out of 57 games against the Bruins in the past. They found their aggressive edge, turned things around and won in games 2 and 3. Fans are hopeful as the Lightning are set to face the Bruins in Game 4 on Friday, May 4, 2018.

During an interview, Jon Cooper, head coach of the Bolts said one of the biggest assets of the team is their ability to skate. Cooper further described the Bolts by saying, “I guess, use the word relentless. That’s what they’ve been. And, there’s been no quit in them. They don’t give up on plays, and it’s been really effective for us.” Cooper also acknowledged that this is not a time to stop and relish in their victories.

The Tampa Bay community has come together to support their team. For Friday night’s game, there will be watch parties at the Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. Friday night’s event will take place from 4-10 p.m. The starting time for the game is at 7 p.m. The public can expect plenty of family-friendly activities, food, live music, and beer for the adults.

In session 2003-04, the Bolts won the Stanley Cup championship. Fans are looking forward to seeing their team win to continue the series and have another opportunity to bring home the Cup.

Tampa Bay Bucs’ Lavonte David Excited About Bringing His College Teammate And Friend To Town

The NFL draft has concluded and the season is still months away, but for the Tampa Bay Bucs the optimism is pretty high right now. It’s high not only because they picked a big high-ranking defensive tackle to strengthen the middle of that defensive front, but also because linebacker and defensive captain Lavonte David will once again be playing with his old college teammate, Jason Pierre-Paul. The Tampa Bay Times caught up with David during spring conditioning workouts to get his take on what it would be like having Pierre-Paul now playing in Tampa and he was absolutely thrilled with it. The way David described it was that he and Pierre-Paul were always in sync and that the defensive end’s long arms allowed him to shove offensive linemen right out of the way and wreak havoc on the QB.

The Bucs have their work cut out for them as they come into the 2018 season, and their hope is to get back to what they failed to do last year which was build on their 2016 season. They surprised the NFL in 2016 when they finished 9-7 and second in the NFL South under first-rate Head Coach Dirk Koetter, but they failed to meet expectations in 2017 when they dropped to last in their division with a 5-11 record. The offense had its share of problems contributing to that with injuries that included quarterback Jameis Winston for several weeks, and the suspension of runningback Doug Martin who is no longer with the team. But David points the finger at himself and the defense.

The Bucs ranked last in 2017 in two main categories which were sacks and passing yards allowed. In David’s words, those results were “embarrassing” and there is now a sense of urgency with his teammates to get better in all of that. The confidence that they can do that certainly has risen since the arrival of Pierre-Paul who David played with at both a Kansas junior college and the University of South Florida before the defensive end was drafted in 2010 by the New York Giants. He now enters his 9th season in the league.

Buccaneers Investigate Threat Made By Angry Fan Toward GM

NFL pundits are high on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after what most consider is an impressive performance in the 2018 NFL Draft. Team security is on high alert, however, after a disgruntled fan in Florida posted threats via Twitter that was directed toward General Manager Jason Licht.

Licht acknowledged that he had been made aware of the Tweet made by the irate fan but declined to give any further comment on the matter.

The angry fan was upset with the team’s decision to trade down in the first round from the 7th position in the draft to the 12th and draft to then select Vita Vea, a defensive tackle that played at the University of Washington. The fan felt that the team should have used the number seven pick to secure the services of safety Derwin James who played in the state for the Florida State Seminoles. James would be drafted by the Los Angeles Chargers with the 17th pick in the first round of the draft.

The fan, Mike Rogers, took to Twitter shortly after the Buccaneers used the 53rd pick in the second round of the draft to select the defensive back, M.J. Rodgers. One tweet from Rodgers caught the attention of authorities when he used an image from the 1990 movie King Of New York that showed a drug dealer murdering a police officer in New York City. Rogers posted a caption above the image suggesting that it depicted what would happen when he “sees Jason Licht.”

Rogers reached out to the Tampa Bay Times to explain himself and was apologetic about sending the Tweet. He went on to explain that he was just caught up in the moment and having fun before saying that in no way was the Tweet a serious threat to Licht.

The Twitter account of Rogers has been suspended but the Naples, Florida man, who now lives in the city of Houston is hoping that no legal action is to be taken against him. He says that he has been a Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Florida State Seminole fan since the 1980’s. “I’m not a psychopath,” Was Rogers simple analysis of himself and his actions.

Better Than Expected Start for the Rays:

A record of 13-15 may not sound all that great . . . unless you’re the Tampa Bay Rays. Considering the way they looked before the start of the season, being two games under .500 little over a month into the season is quite the accomplishment.

In 2017, the Rays ended the season 80-82 in third place in the American League East Division. Soon after that began a major roster shakeup. Gone were Corey Dickerson, Steven Souza, Jr., Logan Morrison, Tommy Hunter, Lucas Duda, Jake Odorizzi, Alex Cobb, and the face of the franchise, Evan Longoria. Manager Kevin Cash announced his plan to use his bullpen every fifth day instead of a dedicated starting pitcher. Most fans and analysts looked at 2018 as a rebuilding year for Tampa Bay, with the team destined for a last place finish.

But rebuilding might be going a bit more quickly for the Rays. Along with a 13-15 record after one month of play, they rattled off an eight-game winning streak, which included taking two of three games from one of the hottest teams in the league, the Boston Red Sox. So Tampa Bay does not appear to be the pushover many expected.

One reason for this pretty decent start is the offense. Seven of the nine everyday players are hitting better than .260, with Joey Wendle and Mallex Smith both batting over .300. Even at .178, Carlos Gomez can be dangerous, as demonstrated by his four home runs. Two newcomers have led the way for the Rays offense, Denard Span (.266, 3 HR, 21 RBIs) and C.J. Cron (.269, 7 HR, 19 RBIs). Your text to link…

Pitching has been good enough to get Tampa Bay its current record, but certainly needs to get better if they want to give other teams headaches. While Blake Snell is 4-1 with a 2.52 ERA, many others in the starting rotation and bullpen have ERAs above 4.00. This includes Chris Archer, who is 2-2 with a 6.05 ERA.

Talos Energy gambles on Mexico’s Energy Industry

Lately, the old NAFTA trade deal, or North American Free Trade Agreement, has been getting some new press as of late. Recently, Donald Trump has proposed that Canada and Mexico engage in talks to renegotiate the NAFTA deal. Donald Trump has discussed many different plans that he had in mind for trade between neighboring countries, including imposing 10% and 25% tariffs on aluminum and steel, in addition to a whole host of other proposals that he had made in regards to restructuring America’s trade economy.Even though other minerals and metals have been discussed as having levies and tariffs imposed upon them, one industry that has been left out of the discussion, perhaps deliberately, is energy.

In fact, energy companies do not see any reason for the NAFTA trade deal to be renegotiated. Presently, the United States receives oil from Canada, while selling its natural gas to Mexico, and many experts feel that this is a delicate balance that should not be altered with a new trade deal. Canada is the US’s number one oil importer. and those in charge do not want to see this be disrupted for any reason in the foreseeable future. However, despite the entrenched order, Mexico itself is making inroads into the energy sector. Mexico has been pursuing private investment into its energy industry, and they have received funding from companies such as Talos Energy.

Talos Energy, a Houston Texas based energy company, has been putting massive amounts of capital into Mexico’s oil industry, foreseeing a time when Mexico will have to depend on itself mostly for oil production. In the midst of all this, there will still be talks of renegotiating NAFTA, and many experts say that there is a high chance that there will be changes made to the original deal at some point in the future. In fact, all this new investment in oil and energy could prove to make geopolitics in this region more difficult. And yet, production in the oil and energy industry is what is keeping friendly relations between these three countries together. Learn More.

USF Athletic Director Mark Harlan Gets Extension

In what surely was a vote of confidence for Mark Harlan (Athletic Director of the University of South Florida Bulls) he was given an extension that will take his contract all the way in to the year of 2021. It is hard to argue with the extension as Harlan as been instrumental in many ways both on the playing fields and in bringing newfound energy to the Bulls program. Consider the women’s basketball team at USF, who had yet another successful season finishing a very respectable 26-8 as well as notching a 13-3 conference record.

However, oftentimes at major college athletic programs the Athletic Director is judged primarily on their football acumen. Well, Harlan surely delivered in that regard. He brought in highly regarded coach Charlie Strong to coach the Bulls and in Strong’s first season the Bulls finished 10-2 and won their bowl game. Hiring Strong to replace Willie Taggart (who now resides at Florida State) was impressive enough, but fans and Harlan are likely expecting the Bulls to take an even further leap forward this season and it is certainly hard not to feel optimism. The Bulls football team opens up the season against Elon (an FCS opponent) at home before taking on the Yellow Jackets of Georgia Teach the following week in their first real test of the season.

It’s hard to point to an area where University of South Florida athletics has regressed under Harlan — and that above all else is likely the reason he got this extension. As fans, we are constantly calling for revolutionary change and fast improvements — but the nature of college athletics is that it takes time to institute a proper system, and so far it seems Mark Harlan has checked every box in that regard. Additionally as a cherry on top the USF athletes have been improving their marks off the field in the classroom as well — proving that academic success can be couple with on the field excellence.

While it’s impossible to say for certain what the direction of USF athletics will be in the future, all indications have this program trending upwards — and fans should be excited!

Understanding How to Bet on MLB Baseball

Betting on Major League Baseball often is considered more of a challenge compared to other major North American sports.

A bettor isn’t only focusing on which two teams are matching up, but are also interested in the projected starting pitchers. As a result, MLB odds have a bit more information to decipher because both teams’ starting pitcher will also be listed. Even if a team is weak, if the squad has its top pitcher going and the other team does not, then the betting may still favor the first team.

That is only the start of a complicated betting line when it comes to baseball odds. However, Major League Baseball offers a variety of ways to bet on a league contest. A person can bet on which wins straight up or they can bet on the run differential. Alternatively, a bettor can bet on the total number of runs scored. However, a bettor can also include the pitchers in the bet just in case the projecting pitching match-up doesn’t materialize.

It can be more challenging for casual bettors because the pitching match-up is actually more important than the actual team match-up itself. However, smarter bettors understand this and keep an eye on this.

After the team names and the projected starters come several numbers. Across the visiting team and visiting pitcher line, the actual betting number comes across such as +120 or -130. If there is a plus sign before the numbers, then that team and pitcher are the betting underdogs. A +120 means a return of $120 on a $100 bet. A -130 would mean that a bettor would need to bet $130 in order to win another $100.

There will be other parts of a line on baseball odds such as 7 over -120 and 7 under +110. The seven is projected total run projection set by the line. If the game finishes with seven total runs, then all bets involving total runs scored gets refunded. If more than seven runs are scored at a -120, then a bettor must bet $120 in order to win $100. The total payout would be $220, but the first $120 is actually the original bet. The winning margin is the $100.

A good source to bet on MLB games and find baseball odds would be Covers.com. They generally list all MLB games and are up to date with their pitcher projections. This makes them consistent and reliable and all you have to worry about is understand how the baseball betting lines work and go from there.

Denard Span Chugs Out Inside The Park Homerun

The inside the park homerun is widely considered one of (if not THE) most exciting play in a baseball game. The thing is, these inside the park homeruns are usually reserved for young guys with plenty of energy and the ability to get a few lucky hops on a ball they hit. Well, 34 year old Denard Span threw that playbook out the window in a 12-6 win against the Boston Red Sox.

The film of the hit is well worth watching. The center fielder makes an awful play on a well-hit ball, and Span wasted no time getting on his horse rounding the bases in a season-best record of less than 16 seconds. Span has always been known to steal a base or two, topping out with a season best of 31 in 2014 — but now that he is a bit older it was refreshing to see the Rays’ elder statesman still be able to leg out an incredible play like that. While it was only his third homerun of the year thus far, Denard has been playing the pivotal role of leader on a Tampa Bay Rays team that desperately lacks veterans and relies heavily on young players. If nothing else, now Span will hold some bragging rights over his younger teammates and proof that he’s still got it on the diamond.

Meanwhile, Span’s .379 OBP is a career high — certainly a promising sign for the Rays who picked up Span in a controversial trade this offseason. One thing you’ve got to love about Span is the excitement and energy he brings to the ball club, and that coupled with his leadership abilities make him the type of guy that teams (even rebuilding ones like the Tampa Bay Rays) can never get enough of. Perhaps other MLB squads will be calling the Tampa Bay front office asking about Span come trade deadline time, but my gut is telling me the Rays will not be keen to part with Denard as he is quickly becoming a fan favorite, despite this being his first season with the team.

Bucs Late Round Picks Cause Some Excitement

While the focal point of many observers attention on the NFL Draft is usually quarterbacks and first round draft choices, it is often in the latter-rounds where teams are made into champions or chumps. This year, the Bucs front office brought in an electric group to hopefully help rejuvenate a Tampa Bay roster that finished an extremely middling 5-11 last season.

In the “hit or miss” category is the Bucs second round pick: Ronald Jones II. His blazing fast 40 yard dash of 4.65 seconds has got to have fans of the Bucs drooling. His speed, matched with his catching ability out of the backfield may be the exact type of complement developing quarterback Jameis Winston needs to help alleviate some of the pressure that’s constantly on him. If you’re the type of person who needs to see to believe, don’t take my word for it: watch his tape.

The Bucs used their latter second round pick to help shore up a depleted secondary that was one of the weakest units on the team last year by selecting Carlton Davis out of Auburn. Davis is a solid, low-bust potential type of prospect that NFL teams can never have enough of. Additionally, Tampa Bay added Jordan Whitehead in the fourth round which feels like a total steal for a player with his sheer athleticism. While Whitehead will need to stop searching for “the big play” and focus on consistency, he may be one of those latter round prospects that other teams around the league will regret not choosing for years to come. If nothing else, Whitehead played a variety of positions in college (at Pittsburgh) and will be able to be a plug-and-play guy for a Bucs secondary unit that I’ve already mentioned needs all the help they can get.

Finally, the Tampa Bay front office used their last pick by taking a flier on Jack Cichy a linebacker out of the University of Wisconsin. Cichy has struggled with injuries throughout his career, which is the main reason he dropped all the way into the sixth round. But, if he stays healthy and can play at full speed he may develop into a solid starter for the Bucs.

All in all, it’s way too early to say just what this Bucs draft will have entailed. But even in the latter rounds the fans of Tampa Bay should be crossing their fingers.