Gary Shelton - 2/200 - SaintPetersBlog

Gary Shelton

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit

Rays lose their sixth of the last seven games after big error

The Tampa Bay Rays can’t wait to get home.

The Rays limped through the final game of their homestand, losing six of the seven games to ruin a good start. The Rays lost to the Boston Red Sox 4-2 Saturday with a familiar pattern: A good start, loose defense, a lost chance at a comeback and too many strikeouts.

Tampa Bay started out the season 5-2, but in six of the seven games since, the Rays have had at least 11 strikeouts.

The Rays made a key error in the second inning when second baseman Brad Miller dropped a throw from shortstop Tim Beckham that would have ended the inning. The Red Sox followed with two single and two walks and scored three times.

“I didn’t catch the ball,” Miller said. “It cost us three runs and ended up being the difference in the game.”

The Rays loaded the bases in the seventh inning with one out, but a strikeout by Miller and a flyout by Logan Morrison ended the threat. Five of the last six Rays’ batters struck out.

“Frustrating loss,” said Kevin Cash. “For us to have our best chance to win, we have to play clean baseball. You can go back to a couple of plays on this road trip that it just didn’t go our way. It’s very tough for us to overcome.”

Boston’s Andrew Benintendi had three hits for the Red Sox. Corey Dickerson, Kevin Kiermaier and Steven Souza Jr. all had two hits for Tampa Bay.

The Rays are now in fourth place in AL East. They play the Tigers tonight with Matt Andriese pitching agianst Michael Fulmer.

Tampa Bay Rays whiff again in 7-5 defeat by the Boston Red Sox

Once again, the Tampa Bay Rays are striking out on the road.


The Rays lost their fifth game in their last six tries Sunday, falling 7-5 to the Boston Red Sox. The Rays have also struck out at least 11 times in five of those six games.

It’s been a nagging problem for the Rays, who lead the major leagues in strikeouts with 139. This time, it was a particular challenge in the eighth inning, when Kevin Kiermaier singled and stole second with no one out, but Evan Longoria and Brad Miller both struck out, and Corey Dickerson fouled out.

The Rays scored three runs in the first off Drew Pomeranz, but the Red Sox took the lead with a two-run seventh on Mitch Moreland’s two-run single.

Alex Cobb started for the Rays and gave up four runs in five innings. Danny Farquhar took the loss.

Miller had a two-run triple, and Dickerson and Tim Beckham had homers.

The Rays wrap up their series against the Red Sox in a morning game at 11:05 a.m. today. Blake Snell of the Rays faces Steven Wright.

Rowdies lose first game of the season, 2-1, in trip to Louisville

The Tampa Bay Rowdies took to the road for the first time this season.

Unfortunately, they didn’t take Al Lang Stadium with them.

After three straight wins at home, the Rowdies fell 2-1 to Louisville Saturday night. Louisville, 3-0-1, took over first place in the USL’s Eastern Division. The Rowdies fell into a tie for third, one point out.

“It was a tough match, in a very tight pitch,” said Rowdies’ coach Stuart Campbell. “We knew it was going to be a physical match tonight and that’s exactly what happened. We controlled most of the second half and created several chances to equalize but ultimately we walk away with zero points.”

George Davis IV scored first for Louisville at the 22 minute mark. After receiving a pass from forward Luke Spencer, Davis had time to find space and rip a shot past goalkeeper Matt Pickens, who was playing in his first game. It was the first goal conceded by the Rowdies since joining the USL

Louisville increased its lead to 2-0 at the 87-minute mark.  A through ball by midfielder Paolo DelPiccolo led forward Cameron Lancaster free on goal. Lancaster chipped a helpless Pickens, making it 2-0 with just a few minutes left to play.

The Rowdies would get a goal in the 89th minute to make things interesting, but Martin Paterson’s first goal since joining the Rowdies wouldn’t be enough to earn a point on the road.

“Whenever you give up a goal early on, it changes the dynamic of a match,” said Campbell. “Being a goal down and chasing a match makes everything harder on the field.”

The Rowdies struggled to find the right rhythm to the game.

“It was tough to play tonight,” said midfielder Martin Vingaard. “I felt that the first half was very physical and it made it very difficult to string together passes going forward. Just as we would get into a flow, a foul would be called.”

The Rowdies now travel to Cincinnati for a midweek game on Wednesday.

“We need to turn the page and start thinking about Cincinnati,” said Campbell. “We need to take this loss and learn from it. It’s a quick turnaround with the game being on Wednesday, but that’s also a good thing for us. It’ll be a different game against Cincinnati and we’re looking forward to bouncing back on Wednesday.”

Rays lose pitcher Jake Odorizzi to hamstring injury in loss to Red Sox

The Tampa Bay Rays managed to scrape together a pretty good pitching game Saturday.

The hitting? Not so much.

The Rays dropped a 2-1 loss to the Boston Red Sox, falling back to even on the season. The Rays were forced to piece together the efforts of five pitchers after starter Jake Odorizzi left in the second inning with a tight hamstring.

Boston’s Chris Sale, meanwhile, was dominant. He struck out 12 in seven innings and allowed only three hits in getting the win.

The Red Sox scored the winning run in the seventh when they loaded the bases with two singles and a walk off of Tommy Hunter. Xavier Cedeno came in and got a ground ball, but it was slow off the bat and rookie Daniel Robertson had to go to first.

“I loved the efficiency,” said Rays’ manager Kevin Cash. “When you lose your pitcher in the second inning, our bullpen had to be efficient and lengthen themselves out. I was impressed with their performances.”

Odorizzi will go on the 10-day disabled list. His roster spot will be taken by Chase Whitley.

Mitch Moreland hit a home in the second for Boston. Evan Longoria’s single tied it in the third.

The Rays play against the Red Sox today at 1:05 p.m. Alex Cobb pitches against Drew Pomeranz.

5 things to watch for as the Tampa Bay Rowdies take on Louisville City FC

5 things to ponder about the Rowdies-Louiville game:

1. Does this show go on the road? After three straight home games – all victories – are the Tampa Bay Rowdies ready to play away from Al Lang Field? Louisville City FC is 2-0-1, right on the heels of the Rowdies. There are a lot of subtle differences to playing at home. Playing on the road is a different dynamic. The Rowdies need to win to keep pace with undefeated St. Louis.

2. Another clean sheet? If the Rowdies don’t give up a goal, the saying goes, they will never lose. Goalkeeper Akira Fitzgerald had a little more work last week against Ottawa, but he still walked away with his third clean sheet. Much of the reason for that has been the team defense in front of him. If the Rowdies play well on defense again, it’ll help. But Louiville has allowed only one goal (an own goal).

3. Do good guys wear black: Louisville will wear its third kit, an all-black number. Sounds villainous right?

4. Four in a row?: The Rowdies’ Georgi Hristov has scored three goals in three games, one with his right foot, one with his left foot and one on a header. Hristov led the Rowdies with 11 goals a year ago.

5. Luke’s no fluke: So far, newcomer Luke Boden – who spent the previous six seasons in Orlando – has been solid. He had the assist on last week’s goal, and he’s played a solid defense for the Rowdies. “I think Tampa (Bay) is a great team,” said Louisvile captain Paolo Delpiccolo. “They’ll win a lot of games  this year, but every game that we go into is an important one for us.”

Tampa Bay Rays take out their frustrations on Boston’s Red Sox

After spending the week getting beaten up in New York, any place else would have felt fine for the Tampa Bay Rays.

Even Boston.

The Rays, fresh off being swept by the Yankees, took their frustrations out on the Boston Red Sox Friday night in a 10-5 victory. Four different Rays hit home runs, led by Logan Morrison’s first career grand slam. Also homering were Shane Peterson, just up from the minors, Brad Miller, who hit his first homer of the season, and Steven Souza Jr. Miller had three hits.

Chris Archer, who lost 19 times a year ago, ran his record to 2-0, going 5 2/3 and giving up one earned run.

The Rays jumped on reigning Cy Young winner Rick Porcello, getting eight hits and eight earned runs in 4 2/3 innings. Porcello had gone at least five innings in 43 straight games.

The first big moment of the night was the two-run homer from Peterson, who was called up to replace the injured Mallex Smith.

“It was a pretty cool moment,” said manager Kevin Cash. “I’m really smart for putting him in the lineup. (laughs). No, I’m just happy for him.”

Archer had lost 11 in a row against the Red Sox.

The Rays play Boston again today as Jake Odorizzi faces Chris Sale.

Bucs’ Louis Murphy apologizes for loaded gun in his luggage

The reason that Louis Murphy had a loaded gun in his luggage?

He wasn’t going to be forced off of his United flight.

The reason that Murphy had a loaded gun?

When a man asks for extra peanuts, he wants them.

The reason that Murphy had a loaded pistol?

In case he signed with a team that used the shotgun, he was working up to it.

The world is yucking it up this week over Murphy, the former receiver of the Tampa Bay Bucs who was arrested for having a loaded Glock in his backpack as he went to the airport. Murphy, 29, says he forgot it was there. According to Murphy, he was hiding the gun from his daughter (hint: a better hiding place might be advisable.) and it slipped his mind that it was there.

It happens. Former Buc Hugh Greene was once arrested for having a gun in his luggage.

“I want to apologize to all my family, friends and fans,” Murphy said in a post on Instagram. “I hid my gun from my daughter in my book bag. A week later, I left to the airport rushing, I forgot I put it in my book bag. It was an honest mistake. Again, I sincerely apologize.”

Murphy played 17 games with the Bucs and caught 41 passes before being injured. He is currently a free agent.

Rays swept by New York Yankees; fall back to .500 for season

Suddenly, they look like the Rays you remember from last season.

The Tampa Bay Rays lost their third straight game Thursday night, getting swept by the New York Yankees and falling back to .500 on the season and dropping to fourth in the AL East.

This time, the Rays lost 3-2, striking out 15 times against the Yankees. Starting pitcher Luis Severino struck out 11.

Aaron Hicks hit two home runs and drove in all three runs for the Yankees. He had a two-run homer in the seventh off Xavier Cedeno for the winning runs.

Tampa Bay threatened to tie the game in the eighth, putting runners on first and third with no one out. But Dellin Betances got both Kevin Kiermaier and Evan Longoria to strike out looking and Brad Miller grounded out to end the threat.

“He’s one of a handful of pitchers you can totally understand his success,” said Rays’ manager Kevin Cash.

The Rays had trouble making contact the entire night. Kevin Kiermaier, Steven Souza Jr., Brad Miller and Daniel Robertson all struck out three times.

Tampa Bay starting pitcher Matt Andriese threw well, allowing only one earned run on five hits through six innings.

The Rays now travel to Boston for tonight’s game, which features Chris Archer against Rick Porcello.

Ex-Gator Caleb Brantley listed as a victim after being struck by a woman

University of Florida defensive tackle Caleb Brantley is listed as the victim in a police report after an altercation with a Gainesville woman.

Brantley said the woman, Chelsea Austin, struck him in the face. Austin admitted hitting Brantley, saying he had “disrespected” her. Brantley then pushed her away.

Brantley is listed as 6-3, 307. Austin is 5-4, 110 pounds. She had a cut on her lip, but left with friends. Brantley had no visible injuries.

Brantley was second team all-SEC this year.

Magic waited far too long to fire general manager Rob Hennigan

The question is not why the Orlando Magic fired general manager Rob Hennigan on Thursday.

The question was why they waited so long to do so.

Hennigan was a disaster, and his team was dysfunctional. His draft picks didn’t work out, and his free agents were worse. He didn’t get along with former coach Scott Skiles.

Meanwhile, the Magic ceased to become relevant and have no immediate hopes of becoming so. Orlando has lost at least 47 games in every season and had never made the playoffs under Hennigan.

“We appreciate Rob’s efforts to rebuild the team, but feel we have not made any discernible improvement over the last few years specifically,” team CEO Alex Martins said in a statement. “It’s time for different leadership in basketball operations. We certainly wish Rob and his family well.”

The Orlando Sentinel reported that the Magic have an interest in former player Grant Hill to work as president of basketball operations, but that it is unclear if Hill has an interest.

Under Hennigan, the Magic lacked stability. Free agents and draft picks have come and gone, as have coaches. There hasn’t been an all-star since Dwight Howard. There have been no trips to the playoffs. In pro sports, fans have to have something to believe in: the star player, the coach, the future.

Meanwhile, the team was 132-278 (.322) during his tenure.

Hennigan didn’t run out of trust Thursday.

He ran out long ago.

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