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S is for Sports: Rays, Bucs, Bolts, Rowdies — they're baaack!

For the last several weeks, we’ve been teasing the content of this year’s A to Z Issue, a celebration of people and businesses who have been successfully riding the turbulent waves of change and offering service and hope to the community at large. The print edition is now arriving in local mailboxes, but if you can’t wait for the hard copy, here’s the digital version — and meanwhile, welcome to the letter “S”:

The long hiatus is coming to an end, pro sports fans. Of course, we may not be able to attend games in person, but we can rev up our devices and watch as Tampa Bay’s teams return to action.

Rays: The 60-day schedule began July 24-26 with a series win against the Blue Jays, followed by a 14-5 corker against the Braves, with Rays hitters delivering an 8-run 4th inning and pitchers breaking a club record with 19 strikeouts. The Braves series continues through Thursday, and then it’s on to the Orioles. But stay tuned; the coronavirus outbreak among the Miami Marlins is causing some to wonder whether the MLB season is already a goner.

Buccaneers: Players are scheduled to report to camp today, July 28. A shortened pre-season follows, and then the Bucs kick off the regular season on Sept. 13 with a game against Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints. And oh, by the way: Did you hear that Tom Brady’s our new quarterback? And that Jameis Winston went to the Saints? Oh, you did. Right. I guess it was in the news. 

Lightning: Playoffs are to begin in the two hub cities, Edmonton and Toronto, on Aug. 1, with the Lightning playing an exhibition game against the panthers on July 29 and opening the round robin on Aug. 3 against the Caps.

 Rowdies: The team resumed play July 11 against Atlanta United at Al Lang Stadium. 

As for pro basketball, you’ll be able to take in all the action just by driving up I-4 to Orlando for the NBA restart, which is slated for July 30 at the Walt Disney World Resort, or by heading down to Bradenton’s IMG Academy for the WNBA season. 

Next: T is for Travel: Safer staycations and great rates for Floridians