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First the Lightning, Now the Rays?

October 17, 2020, 11:53 PM ET [12 Comments]
Michael Stuart
Tampa Bay Lightning Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Only weeks after the Tampa Bay Lightning captured the Stanley Cup, the Tampa Bay Rays clinched their spot in the 2020 World Series with a 4-2 Game 7 win over the Houston Astros in the American League Championship Series. While this is ordinarily a hockey blog, the Lightning’s utter silence provides us with a moment to acknowledge what a spectacular run the Tampa sports market is on right now.

If the Rays are able to get the job done against either the Atlanta Braves or Los Angeles Dodgers, Tampa will join elite company in the crowd of multiple-big-four-sport-championships-in-a-single-year cities. The Red Sox and Patriots delivered for Boston as recently as 2018, but Wikipedia shows it to be an incredibly rare feat. In fact, the NHL + MLB combination hasn’t occurred since 1933 in New York, if Wikipedia’s sourcing is accurate. For the Rays specifically, this World Series appearance also represents an opportunity at redemption, having lost their only appearance in the showcase back in 2008.

Between the Lightning’s championship success, the Rays’ trip to the World Series, and Tom Brady joining the Buccaneers, there are few markets that can compete with all that Tampa has going on right now. It’s a special, special time to be a sports fan either in the market or supportive of the market. Let's enjoy it.

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In Lightning-related news, Erik Erlendsson of LightningInsider.com has a spectacular piece up over at his site about Steven Stamkos and his journey to the Stanley Cup. His return to the ice and goal in the Final were already impressive on the surface, and become unfathomably so with the context described in Erik’s piece.

Everyone knew about the injury, but almost no one knew about the personal heartbreak that came with Stamkos' wife suffering a miscarriage at 21 weeks during the team’s first-round series. When Victor Hedman suggested that Stamkos was battling through things that few could imagine, it wasn’t an exaggeration.

The bottom line: Stamkos’ role in the Lightning’s Stanley Cup victory will go down in history as significant, memorable, and meaningful in so many ways. He's punched Number-91's ticket to the rafters at Amalie Arena.

As always, thanks for reading.
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