Best Of 2014

Best sports columnist

Last year CL was ahead of the curve in naming the Tampa Bay Times's Jones sportswriter of the year. This year he’s shown even more confidence and grown bolder with his opinions, condemning Tony Dungy for his comments about Michael Sam being a “distraction” — “It’s disappointing to even think this, but for the first time ever, I’m glad Tony Dungy is not an NFL coach” — and calling for the ouster of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in the wake of the Ray Rice mess: “It’s time for us to no longer excuse, tolerate or turn a blind eye to domestic violence.”

People & Politics

Best "I'm gonna miss that guy"

Don Zimmer was one of the few Yankee or Red Sox players that Rays fans adored, and that’s because the effervescent, super-cuddly “Zim Bear” spent 10 years on our side as a coach and advisor. Zim — who died in June at the age of 83 — got a touching tribute when Rays broadcaster Todd Kalas announced his death during a game against the Miami Marlins. “I felt like I was getting a gift every time we talked,” Kalas said as he choked back tears. “Really sad news.” Deadspin ran this video clip of his remarks.

Best beach

Runners-up: St. Pete Beach, Pass-A-Grille

Best beach town

Runners-up: St. Pete Beach, Treasure Island

Best bizarro local news story

Runners-up: Jill Kelley, Mystery Monkey

Best Bucs player

Runners-up: Vincent Jackson, Doug Martin

Judge Luis Garcia.
Judge Luis Garcia.

“This court concludes that a citizen’s right to marry is a fundamental right that belongs to the individual.” Those were the words of Judge Luis Garcia of the Monroe County Circuit Court, whose July ruling was the first in a slew of similar decisions by “activist judges” that may eventually wind up toppling the state’s anti-gay marriage amendment. Fun fact to rub in the face of John Stemberger Republicans: Garcia was appointed by Republican Governor Jeb Bush.

Best change in Tampa Bay since last year's Readers' Poll

Runners-up: Water Works Park, more breweries

Best city

Runners-up: Tampa, Clearwater

Best city park

Runners-up: Vinoy Park (St. Petersburg), Crescent Lake Park (St. Petersburg)