My sports staff -- all of a dedicated three right now -- just pulled off a really amazing week. Sure, they had plenty of help from the rest of the newsroom. But Sports Editor Alan Bellittera and sports writers John Lembo and Ryan Boyd deserve a standing ovation.
The stars somehow aligned for the Perfect Storm of Sports. Consider all the "extras" of last week, on top of the typical local load of coverage:
-- The Lincoln Memorial High School 40th reunion, centered around the historic sports teams of its years. Ryan led the coverage.
-- The Pittsburgh Pirates picked last week to unveil the identity of our town's new minor league team: the Bradenton Marauders. Ryan led the coverage.
-- The Herald produced its annual Golf Guide, published on Friday. Alan came in before and stayed after producing the daily sports section to work on that.
-- And the Manatee 'Canes went on the Road to Orlando. Guess who? John, Ryan and Alan, with a major assist from Vin Mannix, led the coverage.
They had stories for 1A and Sports every day last week. They followed the 'Canes to Orlando, blogging through the awful first half, then the promising second half, and then turned stories after the "Oh,So Close" finish.
They got back around 2 a.m. Saturday. Yesterday afternoon, a bleary-eyed Lembo was at it again, writing this story for the wrapup. And at 7:24 p.m., he was still emailing in results from the Sarasota Wrestling Classic, with Braden River's Trevor Barnes leading his team to tie for second. And Alan was on the receiving end to make sure the results were published.
I'm glad we're on the same team.