TAMPA, Fla. - John Romano has been a sports columnist at the Tampa Bay Times for the last 36 years. In that time he’s seen pro sports evolve in Tampa Bay.
“It’s been remarkable to watch this area grow," Romano said, “from the Buccaneers in '76 to the Lightning, to the Rays, even the Rowdies coming in the 70s and for a lot of those years this market was the laughingstock.”
Well, no one‘s laughing at the “Title City” now after last year when the Rays went to the World Series, the Bucs won the Super Bowl and the Lightning took home the Stanley Cup. John remembers when things change for the Bolts. He was there in 2004 when they won their first Stanley Cup.
“That 2004 Lightning Team may be my favorite of the bunch," Romano said, “Two years before, they were a losing team, the franchise was in disarray. They caught fire that year and that playoff run was as magical as anything we’ve seen around here.”
Now with the Lightning eyeing a second championship win, Romano can’t help but feel nostalgic.
“It’s moments like this that remind me of what it’s like for me to be a little kid. I’m an old guy now. I don’t get those feelings much anymore, but these teams give you a little spark of that.”