John Romano, Sports Columnist

John Romano

Sports Columnist

Finding the right career can be hit-and-miss. In my case, it was swing-and-miss. When Major League Baseball scouts declined to watch me play, or even acknowledge my existence, journalism seemed like a plausible fallback plan. I started covering prep sports for St. Petersburg's Evening Independent as an 18 year old college freshman, and have worked for newspapers ever since. I have a daughter in college, a son in high school and a wife in charge. And I still can't hit the curveball.

Not long ago, the Rays bullpen looked like a disaster. Now it just may carry them to October

Catcher Travis d'Arnaud congratulates closer Emilio Pagan after he picked up his sixth save in two weeks during a game in San Diego on Aug. 13. GREGORY BULL  | AP Photo
John Romano: The late-inning specialists have been nearly unhittable for three weeks, striking out practically half the batters they’ve seen while going 7-0.

Throughout 13 innings and 24 K’s, Rays pitchers give a performance for the ages

Mike Brosseau celebrates his walkoff single with catcher Travis d'Arnaud in Tampa Bay's 1-0, 13-inning victory against the Tigers that featured a team-record 24 strikeouts by Rays pitchers. OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times
John Romano: Six Tampa Bay hurlers hold the Tigers to three hits, no walks and no runs in a 1-0 victory that looks like a box score masterpiece.

By all means, give Jason Licht a new contract. (Just keep a pink slip handy.)

His previous relationship with coach Bruce Arians (right) is the one justification to keep Jason Licht on as general manager of the Bucs. And if Arians doesn't produce, there is no reason for Licht to stay.
John Romano: His performance does not warrant a reward, but the Bucs GM gets a reprieve because of his ties to Jameis Winston and Bruce Arians.

Is this what a good Bucs defense looks like? It’s been so long, it’s hard to recall.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers free safety Jordan Whitehead (31), linebacker Devin White (45) and outside linebacker Deone Bucannon (23) celebrate Whitehead's tackle during the first quarter of the preseason game against the Miami Dolphins on August 16, 2019 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. MONICA HERNDON   |   Times
John Romano: The Bucs got a solid outing from their defensive starters on Friday night, but they still have a long way to go before they’ll frighten NFL offenses.

Good news: Arians is talking about you. Bad news: He doesn’t sound happy.

A hamstring injury has left rookie receiver Scotty Miller (10) as an observer for the past week at Bucs training camp. Miller missed the preseason opener in Pittsburgh and is not expected to play against the Dolphins on Friday night. DIRK SHADD   |   Times
John Romano: Bucs rookie receiver Scotty Miller is trying to return from a hamstring injury and reclaim his spot as one of the darlings of Bucs training camp.