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April 15, 2001
Missed opportunities cost Mutiny 2-1
[Times photo: Toni L. Sandys]
Tampa Bay's offensive production falls off in homeopening loss to Columbus.
Gary Shelton
Expecting a McKay surprise
By now, we know all there is to know about Jeff Backus.

More boom, less bust
The Bucs want to improve their track record in the draft when choosing offensive players.

Dungy's philosophy -- best available player
TAMPA -- All the draftniks working for the alphabet cartel of dot.coms -- ESPN, CNN/SI, CBS and FOX -- are in agreement -- the Bucs will draft Michigan offensive tackle Jeff Backus with the 21st overall pick.

Vick needs to be strong to handle this week
The next six days may be the longest of Michael Vick's young life.

NFL briefs
Steelers could lose backup RB to Patriots

NFL draft 2001
San Diego Chargers

Off-the-field adjustment not easy
Draftees must learn whom to trust and whom not to, be it friends, family members or agents.

Devil Rays
Vaughn fed up with same old losing Rays
The slugger unloads after too-familiar pitching and defensive breakdowns lead to a 6-5 loss to the Orioles.

Castilla simmers after benching
BALTIMORE -- After a day of reflection, Vinny Castilla was no more understanding of the Rays' decision to bench him in favor of Aubrey Huff and was feeling more like he was made the fall guy for their poor start.

Huff doesn't signal rush to get younger
BALTIMORE -- With the team off to a slow start, with enthusiasm at home already waning, the decision to promote Aubrey Huff and bench Vinny Castilla would seem to be the Rays' initial step toward the future, the first sign of things, and prospects, to come.

Rays tales
ONE OF THE KING'S MEN: Reliever Rusty Meacham grew up in Florida and usually favors country music, especially songs by his buddy Kenny Chesney, but his true love is Elvis Presley music.

Today's game: Rays at Orioles, 1:35 p.m.
WHERE: Camden Yards

Seattle gets its chance to gloat
Alex Rodriguez returns to Seattle on Monday. Any minute now, Mariners fans are expected to act heartbroken.

Baseball this week on TV

Baseball briefs
Fernandez forced into 2nd retirement

Kaleo, Bowden power Storm
Seven TD passes and 240 combined return yards break Florida 63-41.

It is worth paying to see Rays
Why show up for the next (Rays) home game, Gary Shelton asks? Because we're baseball fans and Devil Rays fans. We want the team to do well.

Mizell mailbag
Appreciation offered for Woods support

Miller has no NBA complaints
Former Florida standout Mike Miller has had a memorable rookie season with the Orlando Magic. Hours before Thursday's 101-77 win over the 76ers, Miller talked about his first year in the pros, NBA referees, memorable moments, snakes, reality TV and spying.

Tortorella has his checklist ready
John Tortorella will keep a watchful eye on the Lightning's players this summer.

NHL briefs
Oilers hit Stars hard in win

Captain's corner
Now it gets exciting. It's tournament time and there's something special about competing with some of the best kingfish anglers in the country.

Et cetera
Highs and lows

Week in sports

Times wins state awards
St. Petersburg Times staff writers Antonya English, Darrell Fry and Roger Mills captured first place for Best Enterprise/Investigative reporting and John Romano finished first for Best Sports Event story in the 2000 Florida Sports Writers Association awards contest.

Golf briefs
Singh puts himself in contention

Sports briefs
Scrappy Coetzer gets notable win

Horse racing briefs
Congaree takes Wood Memorial

Panther just loves to play
TAMPA -- Very little comes between Tyler Azzarelli and his true love.

Busy Panther has a lot going for her
TAMPA -- Everything came together for Lauren Companioni this year.

Rams finally win their tourney
HUDSON -- Marlyn Bavetta coached Ridgewood to a state title in 1992 and nine of the past 11 Sunshine Athletic Conference titles. But Saturday, her replacement achieved something Bavetta never did.

Results count starting now
Let the real season begin.

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