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Martin Fennelly, Times Sports Columnist

Martin Fennelly

Martin Fennelly is a sports columnist for the Tampa Bay Times. He was born in New York City, raised on Long Island and was sitting in the bleachers at Yankee Stadium, minding his own business, when Reggie Jackson hit three home runs in one night to beat the Dodgers in the 1977 World Series. Prior to joining the Times, he worked as a columnist for the Tampa Tribune, St. Louis Sun and Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Martin graduated from the University of Albany, where he studied history, and attended the University of Missouri Graduate School of Journalism. He lives in Lutz with his wife, Siobhan, their children, Conor and Norah, and, at present, five cats.

Phone: (727) 893-8495

  1. Tino Martinez thinks Derek Jeter has what it takes to run Marlins


    The sale of the Miami Marlins to Derek Jeter and his partners (a guy named Michael Jordan is also chipping in) awaits approval by Major League Baseball. But Jeter’s friend, former teammate  and fellow Tampa resident Tino Martinez never doubted Jeter would pull this off.

    “I’m not surprised,” said Martinez, who played on four world champions with Jeter on the New York Yankees. “Even late in his career, he talked about wanting to own a team one day and run a team. He meant it. He wanted to get involved. I know it’s a long road to get to here, trying to get this thing nailed down....

    Former New York Yankees player Derek Jeter waves to fans during a ceremony retiring his number at Yankee Stadium in New York. The Miami Marlins signed an agreement to sell the team to a group featuring Derek Jeter, a person familiar with the deal said Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017.
  2. Tim Tebow came into their life, and never left


    There are a lot of stories about Tim Tebow connecting with people during his life, Tebow inspiring them and Tebow being inspired.

    And a lot of times, when they meet, they stay met.

    And pay it forward.

    Which brings us to Boomer and Kelly.

    Boomer is 15. Kelly is 27.

    "Tim still inspires me," Boomer said. "We stay in touch."

    "Timmy means so much in my life," Kelly said....

    Boomer Hornbeck, who now lives in Naples, Fla., and Tim Tebow first met in 2009. Hornbeck, who has cerebral palsy, has since dedicated his life to helping others and is a motivational speaker. PHOTO PROVIDED
  3. The legacy of Tim Tebow's baseball summer


    CLEARWATER — It was about three weeks ago. A Saturday night. I sat behind home plate at a Charlotte Stone Crabs game at Charlotte Sports Park. There was a professional baseball scout sitting just behind me with a speed gun in his hand. He had seen the whole thing.

    Tim Tebow walked over from the St. Lucie Mets on-deck circle during the seventh inning of a game to shake hands with 10-year-old Seth Bosch, who had been calling to Tebow. They touched hands through the backstop. Seth, who is from Punta Gorda, has high-functioning autism. He walked away crying. Tebow walked to the plate and hit a home run. Seth's mother, Ileanna, filmed the encounter and the home run. The video would go viral....

    Tim Tebow and Jillian Joyce of Lutz, Fla., share a moment before Joyce sang "God Bless America," on Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017 at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa before the St. Lucie Mets game against the Tampa Yankees. PHOTO PROVIDED.
  4. Fennelly: A Tim Tebow birthday gift of perspective


    There is a statue of him in front of the football stadium in Gainesville, next to fellow Florida Heisman Trophy winners Steve Spurrier and Danny Wuerffel. And there on a plaque are the words he spoke, a promise he made nine years ago.

    Tim Tebow turned 30 on Monday. Where does the time go? Ten years ago, Tebow won the Heisman. He was a Gator from 2006 to 2009, part of two national champions, and not even that begins to tell his story. If his shadow hangs over campus, it's a shining one....

    Tim Tebow exceeded his already high expectations at Florida, where he won a Heisman Trophy and led two national champions.
  5. Ten for Tebow: Ten of Tim Tebow's greatest Florida moments


    Tim Tebow's Florida career produced many memorable moments. Here are 10 of them, in chronological order. We'll leave ranking them to you.

    AP photo...

    Tim Tebow waits for teammates to begin baseball practice following a press conference at Steinbrenner Field Tampa, Fla. on Thursday, August 10, 2017. CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times
  6. Fennelly: An apology to Roberto Aguayo


    The other day, writing about the Bucs waiving kicker Roberto Aguayo, I began this way:


    It thought it was funny and meant no harm. It sounded like Aguayo’s last name, which happens to end in ‘o.’

    But it was Times reader Gerry Hilt of Seminole, who is far more eloquent than I am, who pointed something out:

    I know we live in a time when political correctness seems to border on the ridiculous at times. However, I think your use of the made-up word ‘Goodbye-o’ was a little insensitive. I'm not sure if it was intended to be funny or clever, but it was neither....

    Roberto Aguayo, pictured during an OTA in May at One Buc Place.
  7. Fennelly: What Rays' 'Homestand of Shame' revealed

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Is this any way to run a playoff chase?

    To play so badly at home that you actually want to leave town?

    What a putrid performance by the Rays.

    They departed the 2-7 Homestand of Shame for Toronto on Sunday night. They had their offense in a carry-on container, it being less than 3.4 fluid ounces.

    They left town 59-60, under .500 for the first time in more than two months....

    Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria (11) strikes out swinging to end the game between the Cleveland Indians and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, August 13, 2017. The Cleveland Indians beat the Tampa Bay Rays 4-3. WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times
  8. Fennelly: Cutting Aguayo gives Bucs chance for decent night's sleep


    TAMPA — Goodbye-o.

    Bucs coach Dirk Koetter was asked who was in the room with Roberto Aguayo when he was released by the Bucs on Saturday morning.

    "Me, Jason and Hard Knocks ," Koetter said.

    Koetter and Bucs GM Jason Licht put Aguayo out of his misery Saturday and waived him after the opening credits of another disaster movie. They did it the name of the season that can still be. Wise move....

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicker Roberto Aguayo participates in an "open OTA practice" at One Buc Place, the team's training facility, in Tampa, Fla., on Thursday, May 25, 2017.
  9. Tim Tebow: The difference between Tebow and 'Timmy'


    The Tim Tebow Tour continues tonight when Tebow and the St. Lucie Mets again play the Tampa Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field. As part of All Things Tebow, the Times spoke with Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen, who was Florida’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach from 2005-08, a stretch which included two national championships and Tebow’s 2007 Heisman Trophy season....

    In this April 2008 file photo, Florida quarterback Tim Tebow watches the end of the Florida spring game with offensive coordinator Dan Mullen and coach Urban Meyer.
  10. Fennelly: It's a feel-great meet and greet for Tim Tebow in Tampa


    TAMPA — Eli Fishman, a sports reporter and writer for Eli Fishman Sports, a New Jersey-based sports web site, stood in the press box at George M. Steinbrenner Field on Thursday. Like the rest of us, he was waiting for Tebow.

    Unlike the rest of us, Eli is 13 years old. He started his web site two years ago and his YouTube channel three years ago and got his braces last year. Eli has blond hair, rosy cheeks and is visiting his grandmother in Clearwater, He spent Thursday morning at the New York Yankees minor-league facility on Himes Avenue, interviewing Gulf Coast League players and coaches....

    Tim Tebow delivers positive thoughts at Steinbrenner Field, saying he wants “to bring out the best in people.’’
  11. Urban Meyer: Why is Tim Tebow 'bad for baseball'?


    Eight Days of Tebow – Tim Tebow's baseball swing through Tampa Bay _ is underway. To mark the occasion, the Times spoke with Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer, who led Florida to national championships in 2006 and 2008. Meyer recruited Tebow out of high school and the two will be forever linked by more than those championships or Tebow's 2007 Heisman Trophy. Meyer, who calls Tebow, "The most impactful player ever to play at the University of Florida," talked baseball, football and all things Tebow. Meyer played minor-league baseball in the Atlanta Braves system, 1982-83....

     Tim Tebow (15) and coach Urban Meyer, shown here before a Florida-Tennessee game on Sept. 19, 2009, spent "a minimum of eight hours a day together" during Tebow's Florida career, Meyer said. [WILLIE J. ALLEN JR., Times]
  12. Rays playing zombie baseball at worst time



    Despite piling up two runs, the Rays fell again to the Red Sox on Wednesday night.

    At least we can now drop that winning the AL East nonsense.

    At the worst possible time – as if there is ever a good time – the Rays are rolling out zombie baseball.

    The night after flailing against Chris Sale, the Rays made 2016 Cy Young winner Rick Porcello look like, well, 2016 Cy Young winner Rick Porcello. Adeiny Hechevarria and Brad Miller did manage solo home runs, but that was all the Rays had to show for the four-hit barrage they leveled at Boston....

    Logan Morrison looks away after fouling out in the fourth inning of Wednesday's game.
  13. Video: Tim Tebow leaves on-deck circle to greet autistic boy, then hits home run


    You can't make this stuff up.

    Also, there's video.

    RELATED: Tebowmania headed to Tampa Bay

    Tim Tebow and Seth Bosch had never met until July 29 at Charlotte Sports Park, where Tebow, playing minor-league baseball for the St. Lucie Mets, was going against the Charlotte Stone Crabs. Tebow and his team will be in Tampa and Clearwater for eight games beginning Thursday night....

    [Ileanna Bosch/Facebook]
  14. Go figure, or try to figure, AL wild card chase



    Rays fans, here are some important Tropicana Field tips:

    Think about bringing your own food.

    Think about bringing six sets of eyes.

    This might be a moot point if the Rays never hit again, but the art of scoreboard watching has become a mind-numbing brain buster in baseball’s Land of The Second Wild Card. Leave it to the muddled, mutt-filled American League, home of the 103-team playoff chase, where it’s impossible to be out of it even if you try. It’s profoundly confusing....

    “It will weed itself out,” Rays slugger Logan Morrison said.
  15. Wade Boggs happily returns to the Trop


    ST. PETERSBURG — Baseball Hall of Famer and 3,000-hit man Wade Boggs, who retired as a Ray after the 1999 season, is back at Tropicana Field for this two-game series against the Red Sox. Boggs, 59 and Tampa’s own, is serving as a Red Sox TV analyst for NESN. He knows his way around the Trop.

    “I’m at home,” Boggs said. “I’ve got those two seats in the outfield and 12 on the wall.”...

    Wade Boggs, pictured following his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005, is serving as a Red Sox TV analyst for NESN.