TAMPA (WFLA) – It’s am amazing time to be a sports fan in the Tampa Bay area.
On Thursday, the Tampa Bay Lightning made it into the Stanley Cup Final for the third time in the team’s history, the Tampa Bay Rays clinched a spot in the playoffs for the second consecutive year and the Buccaneers have Tom Brady.
Lightning fans lined up to buy conference championship gear on Friday and even though they can’t be in Amalie Arena cheering on the Bolts like in past Stanley Cup Final runs this one is still special for many.
“It’s tough because it’s different than the 04 experience, but getting to see all of the players, getting to see Stammer there, seeing the Prince of Wales trophy, seeing them all touch it, being able to support them from a distance, safely, has been incredible,” said Lightning fan Crystal Schaberg.
“It’s thrilling. This is what everybody needs right now, especially in a pandemic when people are going through a lot of stress, this is what we need,” Melendez said.
At Tropicana Field, Rays fans also turned out to buy team gear to celebrate their playoff return.
“I think the Rays are in the top five American League teams for the most winning seasons since like 2008 and this is back to back playoff seasons and still have a chance to win the American League East, so it’s very exciting,” said Rays fan Tim Thomas.
At Raymond James Stadium on Friday, the Buccaneers joined in the fun by giving out promotional items to get their fans excited about the first home game of the season for the new Brady-led offense even if some fans are a tad pessimistic about the lack of fan attendance amid the pandemic.
“Bittersweet. Bitter because we can’t be there, sweet because we do have a good team,” said Anthony Cantu who like many fans is looking forward to seeing the games in person.