Marlins will soon play in 'a spaceship that just landed'

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Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria recently spoke to the New York Times about the team’s new 37,000-seat, retractable-roof ballpark that opens in 2012 and it sounds like his background as an art dealer will play a big factor in the design:

The city of Miami is a new, electric city, so it called for something contemporary. I wanted the stadium in a place where it would be a piece of sculpture. I wanted people to go to a ballgame to use their eyes and be in a facility that’s not just another retro stadium. Color is very important. The stadium will be bathed by light.



There’s nothing wrong with retro, but it’s time to move ahead into the 21st century. … I’m interested in the sculptural experience, glass, marble, colored bricks, stones, wood. There’s no stadium that’s out there that approximates it because it will be so white and with primary colors all around. It sort of looks like a spaceship that just landed, something different, something people can call their own.

I’m in agreement with Loria that “retro” has now become this era’s cookie-cutter ballpark design choice, but on the other hand I’m not sure that anyone really needs to watch baseball games in “a spaceship that just landed.” Loria also noted that the team is preparing to change uniforms as they enter the new ballpark, because until now the Marlins’ look has revolved around teal and “teal is a color for the ’90s.”

Evan Longoria: ‘I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base’

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The Rays were busy over the weekend, trading starter Jake Odorizzi to the Twins, designating All-Star outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment, and then picking up C.J. Cron in a deal with the Angels. The Rays saved about $4 million — Odorizzi’s $6.3 million less Cron’s $2.3 million salary — and picked up a prospect. They’re still on the hook for Dickerson’s $5.95 million salary until they can find a trade partner, which seems likely.

Those are some head-scratching moves if you’re a Rays fan or a member of the Rays. Dickerson hit .282/.325/.490 with 27 home runs, 62 RBI, and 84 runs scored in 629 plate appearances last season, part of which resulted in his first trip to the All-Star Game. Designating him for assignment is strictly a financial move, assuming he can be traded. The Rays are currently operating with a payroll below $70 million. This comes just a week and a half after Rays ownership proposed the public footing most of the bill for the club’s new stadium. And the Rays had traded third baseman Evan Longoria — then the face of the franchise — to the Giants earlier this offseason.

Longoria expressed sympathy for Rays fans for having to put up with this. Via Andrew Baggarly, Longoria said of the curious Dickerson move, “I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base. … I’m not going to take too many shots but it’s pretty obvious that guy is a valuable player and didn’t deserve to be DFAd. Corey was our best player last year.”

Longoria isn’t quite on the money there. By WAR, Dickerson ranked fifth among position players on the team, according to Baseball Reference. FanGraphs is also in agreement. Still, it’s indisputable that Dickerson, who turns 29 years old this May, more than pulled his weight. The Rays do not have a surfeit of starting outfielders, so it wasn’t like they were making room for other capable players. Mallex Smith, who put up a .684 OPS in 282 PA last year, is slated to start in left field at the moment. Designating Dickerson for assignment, as well as trading Longoria and Odorizzi, were simply cost-cutting decisions.

The Rays’ M.O. has been part of the problem leading to the current stagnant free agent market (sans Eric Hosmer‘s eight-year deal on Saturday). Teams like the Rays, Phillies, Reds, and Tigers have been explicitly putting out non-competitive teams in order to facilitate a rebuilding process. Longoria is right to express sympathy for Rays fans, who see their favorite team worsening a roster that went 80-82 last year. The Rays haven’t finished at .500 or above since 2013 and doesn’t figure to halt the streak this year.