The Creative Loafing Best of the Bay awards are an annual summer event here in the Tampa Bay area. You've likely seen it being promoted here at Raw Charge in the past, or perhaps you've crossed it from editions of Creative Loafing Tampa Bay. We've made little mentions of it by way of Quick Strikes and in comments on Quick Strikes.
The nomination process for the 2016 Best of the Bay ran in June. Today, July 21st, the actual voting process begins for the 2016 awards. This also brings with it the news of the nominees finding out they were nominated for awards to begin with (well, as long as people tell them). Some of the noteworthy nominees on the People, Places and Politics ballot for those who are Tampa Bay Lightning fans...
- The Lightning is, of course, nominated as the Best Local Area Pro Sports team.
- Lightning head coach Jon Cooper is nominated as the Best Local Coach
- Our site, Raw Charge (as "RawCharge" - why do people type the version without a space between Raw and Charge?), is on the People, Places and Politics ballot as the "Best Local Area Blogger". That nomination itself is a little off as the honor should go to individual writers out there... That being said, we're still thankful to be on the ballot!
- Clark Brooks, who has long written for Raw Charge, appears on the ballot under the Best Local Sportswriter category as well as Best Local Blogger for his personal site, Ridiculously Inconsistent Trickle of Consciousness.
- Alexis Boucher, who writes blog posts for Lightning Shout, is also a nominee for Best Local Blogger.
- Tampa Bay Lightning franchise owner Jeff Vinik is nominated under Best Local Citizen.
While there are other noteworthy nominees (and not just Lightning related) in every category, I'd like to highlight one specific person on the ballot for Best Local Sportswriter. He's someone that many depended on for years and years for dependable, solid work covering the Tampa Bay Lightning for the Tampa Tribune. He lost his job due to the Tampa Bay Times purchase of the Tribune earlier this year: Beat writer Erik Erlendsson.
Erlendsson has been working independently (and mostly voluntarily) since the end of the Tribune. It's not just him from the Tribune who is on the ballot, Ira Kaufmann and Roy Cummings are also there, yet Erlendsson is relevant to Bolts much more. Besides the quality and dedication of the Lightning by Erlendsson in the Tribune, he's also been a very approachable character for fans by way of social media. He's taken a grand amount of time to explain things or remark - sometimes straight, sometimes humorously - about the club.
As a token of thanks and a sign of appreciation toward Erlendsson and his years of service covering the Lightning and Tampa Bay area sports, I make the request that those voting on the People, Places and Politics ballot in the 2016 Creative Loafing Best of the Bay poll vote for Erik Erlendsson as the Best Local Sportswriter.
The Best of the Bay poll for 2016 runs until August 16th, with winners revealed at the end of September. You can see the other ballot pages for Best of the Bay (and vote!) here: