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The Martin Chronicles

All things sports and beyond.

Fennelly: Longtime Bucs fans, we want to hear from you

Jameis Winston is pressured by Chandler Jones during the Bucs' loss to the Cardinals Sunday in Glendale, Ariz.

LOREN ELLIOTT | Times

Jameis Winston is pressured by Chandler Jones during the Bucs' loss to the Cardinals Sunday in Glendale, Ariz.

Calling all Bucs fans! Calling all Bucs fans!

The season is five games old and we're already reached the Uh-Oh portion of the program. The Bucs, the Bucs of so much promise, are edging toward the abyss after the desert debacle.

Bucs fans, the most resilient fans in sports, have seen this before. Promise fading. Hopes dashed. A season heading the wrong way.

There's a little Captain Fear in all Bucs fans, who can turn on a dime and fear the worst. Jameis Winston's shoulder doesn't help.

Do you have your preparedness kits ready? The beach umbrellas? A good book to read? Something else for Sundays in case the season goes off the rails?

Bucs fans are always being tested. That's been their life the last 10 years or so, and the 25 years or so before the Super Bowl. They are the best at handling the worst.

We'd love to know, tried and true Bucs fans, old hands, who've seen it all, what's up right now.

Reach out to us and let us know. Email me at mfennelly@tampabay.com or call me at (813) 731-8029. If you email, just leave your first name and where you're from.

Let's talk! Thanks for reading.

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Fred Ridley on the Road to Augusta

Fred Ridley, looks on during the Green Jacket Ceremony during the final round of the 2017 Masters Tournament in April at Augusta National Golf Club.

Getty Images

Fred Ridley, looks on during the Green Jacket Ceremony during the final round of the 2017 Masters Tournament in April at Augusta National Golf Club.

Last week, I sat down with Fred Ridley, the new chairman of the Augusta National Golf Club, home of the Masters. Ridley, a lawyer who has resided in Tampa since 1981, was the 1975 U.S. Amateur champion and is the only Chairman to have played in the Masters. I wrote a long story on Ridley, but here are some of the other things he had to say during the half-hour interview in his office at Augusta National.

Q: Is this a dream come true, being named Augusta National Chairman?

“To me, it’s a treasure. Several of my well-meaning friends have said that Fred, this is great, you’ve really earned this. No, I didn’t earn this. It was given to me. I’m going to hold it as a recipient, as a guardian. My overarching goal in that role is to pass it on to the next chairman with this organization being even stronger and better than it is today.”

Q: Tell us about your parents, Claude and Ann. …

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Playoff baseball: Pay no attention to the sleeping child

We are raising an entire generation of baseball fans – losing them, really – with criminally late start times and pathologically slow game pace.

AP photo

We are raising an entire generation of baseball fans – losing them, really – with criminally late start times and pathologically slow game pace.

It's the usual postseason routine.

Sometime tonight, very late tonight, Fox Sports cameras will search the stands at Yankee Stadium and find a sleeping child in his seat, or slumped against a parent’s shoulder as the Yankees and Houston Astros battle on in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series.

And the announcer will make a snappy comment.

And I will throw something. Again.

It happened last Thursday night, well after midnight, toward the end of the fifth and deciding game of the National League Division Series, won by the Cubs, 9-8. Twelve pitching changes. Time of game: 4 hours, 37 minutes. End of game: 12:45 a.m.

The camera found a sleeping child.

The announcer said something like, “We’ll wake you up if there’s any more scoring.”

Spare us already.

Baseball and TV made this mess.

So, let’s just roll around in it, shall we?

Late playoff baseball is a pandemic. We are raising an entire generation of baseball fans – losing them, really – with criminally late start times and pathologically slow game pace.

But can we at least be spared the cheeky humor?

Shut up and call the games. Stop pointing out all the kids who slept through it.

Because it’s your fault.

 

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Fennelly: Who needs curses?

Gerald McCoy is seen on the bench during the second half of the Bucs' loss to the Cardinals.

LOREN ELLIOTT | Times

Gerald McCoy is seen on the bench during the second half of the Bucs' loss to the Cardinals.

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There's a path to a New Year's Day bowl for USF

USF defensive end Greg Reaves (41) celebrates a sack of Cincinnati Bearcats quarterback Ross Trail (12) during the second half.

OCTAVIO JONES | Times

USF defensive end Greg Reaves (41) celebrates a sack of Cincinnati Bearcats quarterback Ross Trail (12) during the second half.

It’s a pretty clear track.

USF now has a path to a New Year’s Six Bowl. And that would make it a transcendent season for Charlie Strong and his now 16th-ranked Bulls.

If USF wins out, hello to that elusive conference title. The Bulls have been chasing that since the program began.

If USF wins out, hello Peach Bowl, or Fiesta Bowl, whichever. I think.

Hello to tangible progress.

It’s in USF’s hands, too.

There will be obstacles, perhaps none more daunting than the regular season finale at still undefeated UCF. The Knights might still haunt the Bulls. The largest game in the history of the I-4 rivalry looms, though that’s not a very long list.

San Diego State lost to Boise State the other night. The Aztecs, with wins over Stanford and at Arizona State (which just bumped off No. 5 Washington), would clearly have led the Group of Five teams in the first College Football Playoff rankings.

Actually, they still might.

But I think a perfect USF might trump that.

Still, it’s all the more reason for USF to hope UCF is as good as it can be, as highly ranked as it can be, going into their game the day after Thanksgiving.

USF will have to be perfect.

Repeating: Perfect. …

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