Florida sports teams playing in Sunshine State after Irma – NewsOK.com
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — There are many lingering problems all around Florida in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, including thousands still without power and the evacuation of nursing homes. Sports teams around the Sunshine State hope to take people’s minds off their problems, if only for a few hours, when they return to playing fields around the state.
There will be Major League Baseball, NFL and Top 25 college football games played in Tampa, Gainesville and Jacksonville this weekend.
The Buccaneers, Rays, Jaguars, No. 22 South Florida Bulls and 24th-ranked Florida Gators all host games after their seasons were disrupted by the massive storm.
“Playing this weekend is a chance for us to give something back, give all these people hurting a chance to smile and maybe get their mind off all the trouble around them,” said Jaguars defensive end Dante Fowler, who is from St. Petersburg and played collegiately at Florida.
USF gets things rolling Friday night with a nationally televised matchup against Illinois. Raymond James Stadium also hosts Florida A&M vs. Tennessee State on Saturday, and the Bucs wrap up a three games-in-three days lineup on their homefield when the Chicago Bears visit on Sunday.
“It’s good to be back,” Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston said. “A lot of people in this city are having some troubling times right now and it’s exciting that hopefully this team can be the giddy-up for people who were affected by the storm.”
Bradenton resident Greg Dalglish owns and operates a store in a mall that was shut down from Friday afternoon to Wednesday morning because of the storm.
“I think we’re fortunate that (the hurricane) wasn’t worse,” Dalglish said. “I think it will be a good thing to get the whole weather issue off people’s minds and get out and watch some