LAKEWOOD RANCH, Fla. (WWSB) - Dick Vitale, a legend in the sports broadcasting world who lives in Lakewood Ranch, is beyond excited the Tampa Bay Rays are in the World Series. He tells ABC 7 he has been a season ticket holder for the rays for 21 years, with seats right down the the home team dugout at Tropicana Field. In a Facetime interview with ABC 7 anchor Bill Logan, Vitale shared his excitement for all the Tampa Bay teams - from the World series bound Rays to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with new quarterback Tom Brady, to the Stanley cup winning Tampa Bay Lightning. Vitale says this is a golden time to be here on the Gulf Coast rooting for the home teams.
“Sports has a way, even if you are not a fan, to get excited about a team,” Vitale said from his home in Lakewood Ranch. “Can you imagine? Title town USA. Tampa Bay Area. Unbelievable! We could go for a trifecta! We could go for the World Series, the Stanley Cup, and the Super Bowl!”
The Super Bowl is scheduled to happen in Tampa in February, so Vitale agrees that would be the cherry on top.
The 2020 World Series gets underway tonight in Texas with the Tampa Bay Rays taking on the Los Angeles Dodgers. All games in the best of 7 series will be played at Globe Life Field in Arlington, which is the brand new stadium for the Texas Rangers. Because of social distancing restrictions brought on by the pandemic, attendance will be limited to 11,000 fans. And Vitale says he will be watching and rooting for Tampa to bring home another national sports title, just like the Lightning did with the Stanley Cup.
“I think its a great emotional story, and I think it creates a lot of excitement," said Vitale. “To watch the Lightning, after having a great year last year, and then being embarrassed losing 4 straight in the playoffs first round - and then come back a year later and win the title!"
Vitale also shared how that win was especially sweet since his friend is the Lightning’s head coach.
"I was so happy for Jon Cooper because Jon and I have become good friends. We do a lot of events for kids battling cancer,” said Vitale.
Vitale shared his latest passion project, a new book he has written called “The Lost Season” which is a look at what the 2020 National Championship could have been, which he hopes will help raise money for kids with cancer. Copies of the book can be ordered from his website.