Professional soccer officially returned to Tampa Bay on May 8, when a crowd of more than 8,000 fans watched the Rowdies play their debut home game at Steinbrenner Field. Currently headed up by Scottish coach and retired professional footballer Paul Dalglish, the Rowdies are chest-trapping, banana-kicking, and head-butting their way back into the world of black-and-white-spotted balls. Watch them take on the Minnesota Stars, who are ably coached by Manny Logas and hungry to work their way up the 2010 standings. Sideline seats get frenetic fans close enough to observe the fantastic flairs of Division II soccer savants as they attempt to sneak the European pigskin between an opponent’s legs and through the goal zone. Since it's a Thursday game, fans can also take advantage of Thirsty Thursdays, featuring $1 beers from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
The USF Bulls play their home games in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' sleek Raymond James Stadium, home of the famous pirate ship harbored in Buccaneer Cove. Single-game tickets against Western Kentucky and Florida Atlantic provide a taste of the festive atmosphere present in collegiate ball. The season pass, which is good for all seven regular home games against teams such as Connecticut, Syracuse, and the Tuscaloosa Technical Institute of Poetry, lets fans fill the football-shaped void in their hearts over the course of the season.
XFC is a prominent mixed-martial-arts organization dedicated to finding the next generation of MMA superheroes through open tryouts so that these undiscovered fighters may one day climb into the bloodied center of a professional cage match. XFC XI: The Next Generation features four XFC Open Fighter Tryout winners as well as Micah Miller, Kim Couture, and many more. Watch as these skilled fighters vie for domination using techniques drawn from Brazilian jiujitsu, Muay Thai, boxing, wrestling, kickboxing, tae kwon do, and more.
The stitching that unites the iconic "N" and "Y" on each Yankees cap also threads together a legacy that stretches back more than a century. Cemented by 27 World Series titles, 40 American League pennants, and a total of 43 alumni in the Baseball Hall of Fame, that legacy has been built on winning, resulting in, among other legends, a batting lineup forever nicknamed "Murderer's Row" and a regular Joe transformed into a joltin' hero.
From 1923 to 2008, the team called the original Yankee Stadium—the "House That Ruth Built"—home, making it a daunting task indeed to move 85 years of tradition into a new park without erasing the tracks of history or disturbing the scoreboard's mysterious hieroglyphics. Yet today, the Bronx breezes waft the scent of polyester pinstripes up to the 50,287 blue seats peppering a new facility—christened, appropriately enough, with a world championship in 2009. Even with its up-to-date amenities, including a mammoth 101-foot-wide LED screen towering above center field, the current Yankee Stadium stands as a reminder of the past—especially in Monument Park, where fans can soak up the club's storied saga up until 45 minutes prior to each game.
If there’s one team to emulate in professional sports, it’s the New York Yankees and their 27 championships. Since becoming the Class A-Advanced affiliate of the big league Yankees in 1994, the Tampa Yankees have grown into a minor league clone of their MLB brethren—they’ve won five Florida State League titles, including back-to-back years in 2009-10.
Further strengthening the Yankee bond, the T-Yanks play all their home games at George M. Steinbrenner Field, the Spring Training facility of the Bronx Bombers. A scaled-down replica of Yankee Stadium, Steinbrenner Field is an 11,000-seat facility brimming with Yankee lore. The 31-acre complex even has a Monument Park, which honors the organization’s greatest players and beer vendors.
Named one of USA Today's Top Ten Skating Rinks in 2008, USA Skateplex sends eight-wheelers careening around a skating arena, competing in a full arcade, and snacking at concession stands. During public skate sessions, freewheelers strap on their own blades or a rental pair of old-school four-bangers and do the counter-clockwise coast to DJ hits. Pairs of floating friends can take a breather for intermittent soda and arcade breaks; groups of four get twice as many game tokens and a large cheese pizza to salten the deal.