The Rays are number one!

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No, not in the AL East! In terms of critical violations of health codes at its concession outlets in their home stadium!

ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” reviewed health department inspection reports
for food and beverage outlets at all 107 North American arenas and
stadiums that were home to Major League Baseball, National Football
League, National Hockey League and National Basketball Association teams
in 2009. At 30 of the venues (28 percent), more than half of the
concession stands or restaurants had been cited for at least one
“critical” or “major” health violation . . . At Tropicana Field — home of the Tampa Bay Rays — every one of the
stadium’s 47 food and drink outlets inspected incurred a critical
violation during inspections within the past year, according to Florida
inspection reports.

Not that the Rays are the only ones doing poorly in this regard. The story has a nice interactive map showing just how terrible every ballpark, stadium and arena is doing in all four major sports. I note a very large number of violations in Florida, though that could just as easily be a function of more stringent inspections in Florida than a difference in actual problems. When you look at stuff like this you’re bound to find differences in how things get reported.

And while the details in this kind of report don’t make me feel all that good, I’ve read enough books over the years that lead me to believe that we really don’t want to hear the details about anyplace we eat.

Hot dogs on me, everyone!

Jake Diekman will miss at least half of the 2017 season

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 9: Jake Diekman #41 of the Texas Rangers works against the Toronto Blue Jays in the sixth inning during game three of the American League Division Series at Rogers Centre on October 9, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
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Rangers reliever Jake Diekman will have surgery on January 25 to help alleviate ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease. As a result, the lefty will miss at least half of the 2017 regular season, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. Diekman was diagnosed with the illness when he was 11 years old. He has brought awareness to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America with a “Gut It Out” campaign.

Diekman, who turns 30 years old on Saturday, finished the 2016 campaign with a 3.40 ERA and a 59/26 K/BB ratio in 53 innings. He came to the Rangers from the Phillies in the Cole Hamels trade on July 31, 2015.

The Rangers and Diekman avoided arbitration last Friday, agreeing to a $2.55 million salary for the 2017 season.

The Blue Jays and Bautista have reached a one year deal

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 19:  Jose Bautista #19 of the Toronto Blue Jays looks on during batting practice prior to game five of the American League Championship Series against the Cleveland Indians at Rogers Centre on October 19, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
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It’s been on the verge of happening for a few days now, but now it’s official: the Toronto Blue Jays and Jose Bautista have reached a one-year deal with a mutual option. The deal is pending physical. An announcement making the deal official is expected later in week.

The exact financial figures have not been disclosed, but Jon Heyman reports that it will be in excess of the $17.2 million Bautista turned down when he turned down the Jays’ qualifying offer.

Bautista had a tough 2016, hitting .234/.366/.452 with 22 home runs and 69 RBI, and some clubs likely considered a long-term deal for the 36-year-old too risky, this leading to the relative lack of reported interest in Bautista by other clubs. But back-to-back ALCS appearances by the Jays and the success and popularity Bautista has experienced in Toronto make his re-signing there a pretty sensible move for all involved.