Island Visitor: Time for a sports title trifecta?

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By John Morton

We’re No. 1!
As you know, it’s a common Siesta Key rallying cry when it comes to our white-sand beach. But it has also become something you hear shouted throughout our sports bars, from Gilligan’s to the Sniki Tiki to Turtle’s Bar & Grill.
Yes, Sarasota is part of the Tampa Bay market, home to across-the-board sports success never-before seen in these parts. “Champ”-a Bay is what we’re now called.
The Lightning recently hoisted its second-straight Stanley Cup, the Buccaneers raised the Lombardi Trophy in February, and the Rays won last year’s American League pennant. However, they narrowly lost in the World Series.
Had the Rays finished the job, Tampa would have become only the second U.S. city in history to capture three major sports titles in the same season.
The other is Detroit in 1935-36, as the Tigers, Lions and Red Wings were crowned champions.
Something tells me you’re not about to change your plans and head to the beaches of Lake Huron and Lake Erie in tribute of this fun fact.
No city has won four titles in the same year. Philadelphia had the best chance in 1980, as the Phillies won the World Series. Its other teams (Sixers, Flyers and Eagles) would all lose in their respective finals, however.
Back to Siesta Key. In case you do get a bit of beach burnout here, or suffer a cloudy forecast during your stay, consider heading an hour-and-change northbound to catch some of the sports action.
In September, the Bucs host the Cowboys and Falcons at Raymond James Stadium. The scene is literally a blast, provided you like cannons.
Don’t worry, they’re not lethal. We leave that to Tom Brady’s arm.
Tropicana Field may not offer the same exciting atmosphere but it is a domed stadium, so no need to fear the dreaded rainout. The Red Sox, Twins, Tigers, Blue Jays, and Marlins are on the Rays’ September home slate.
Meanwhile, the drive to St. Petersburg on the Sunshine Skyway Bridge is a treat as you travel 430 feet above Tampa Bay.
Finally, preseason Lightning hockey at Amalie Arena takes place Sept. 30. The place is full of electricity, thanks to some shockingly cool special effects. And no doubt the Stanley Cup will be on display in the lobby.
Could this be the year we match Detroit’s record? The Lightning have set the stage with its title, the Rays are sitting solid in the postseason race, and the Bucs return their whole team.
Before you think that’s selfish, please note that this market was long considered a sports graveyard. The losing went on for decades.
So, feel free to join in our fair-weather fandom while you’re here. We promise to be good sports about it.

John Morton
Author: John Morton

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