Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney is hosting a fund raiser in downtown Tampa, Florida on Thursday and decided to kill some time by taking in the Red Sox vs. Rays game Wednesday night at Tropicana Field.
The former Massachusetts governor and self-proclaimed Red Sox fan told reporters that he didn’t want any political questions for the evening, but that he’d be happy to “talk some baseball.”
So the reporters and Romney did talk baseball, and while doing so revealed that the 64-year-old Republican knows next to nothing about the current state of the sport. At least, he never watches it.
Romney was asked for his thoughts about Tropicana Field, an indoor stadium in St. Petersburg that the Rays have called home since 1998, over 12 years. His response, via Marc Topkin of the St. Pete Times:
“It’s cool – I had no idea,” Romney said. “I thought I was going to be in sweltering heat, but instead it’s cool, and a responsive and warm crowd.”
Romney “had no idea” that the Rays, who share a division with his beloved Red Sox, played in a dome.
Now, he’s a busy guy. Running a whole state is surely a demanding job and a presidential campaign must require a torturous schedule. But the Red Sox and Rays will meet 19 times this season and nine of those meetings will take place at The Trop. The Red Sox, in fact, have played over 100 games at Tropicana Field since its opening. And yet Romney didn’t know that the Rays have a dome.
Could it be that a politician is telling people that he’s one thing (an avid Red Sox supporter) and actually is not? What an outrage. What an uncommon occurrence. Be kind to each other in the comments.
The Cardinals have officially signed outfielder Dexter Fowler to a five-year, $82.5 million contract. Fowler will also get a full no-trade clause.
The Cardinals gave Fowler a bigger deal than many speculated he’d get, as some reports predicted he’d get something in the $52-72 million range. His skills, however — he’s a fantastic leadoff hitter who plays a premium defensive position — definitely earned him some major dough. Fowler hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 homers, 48 RBI and 13 steals over 125 games in 2016 for the World Series champion Cubs.
For the Cardinals, this will allow Matt Carpenter to move down to the middle of the batting order and will shift Randal Grichuk to left field. It also takes a prime piece from the Cardinals’ biggest rival. For their part, earlier this offseason the Cubs signed former Cardinal center fielder Jon Jay. So that’s fun.
The Cardinals have always emphasized building from within. In the 2016-17 offseason, however, they may end up being one of the bigger free agent buyers. At least according to some informed speculation.
St. Louis is already in agreement with Dexter Fowler. But Derrick Goold and Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch write today that the Cardinals “could become more aggressive than previously believed,” with Mark Trumbo and Edwin Encarnacion as “possible pursuits.” Worth noting that separate reports alleged some interest on the part of the Cards front office in free agent third baseman Justin Turner.
The Cardinals are already losing their first round pick due to the Fowler signing, so any other top free agent won’t cost them more than the money he’s owed. And as far as money goes, the Cardinals have a great deal of it, despite being a small market team. They have a billion dollar TV deal coming online and Matt Holliday and Jaime Garcia are off the payroll now. Spending big on a free agent or three would not cripple them or anything.
Encarnacion or Trumbo would be first baseman, which wold fly in the face of the Cards’ move of Matt Carpenter to first base (and, at least as far as Encarnacion goes, would fly in the face of good defense). Getting either of them would push Carpenter back to second, displacing Kolten Wong, or over to third, displacing Jhonny Peralta. If you’re going to do that, I’d say that Turner would make more sense, but what do I know?
Either way, the Cardinals may be entering a pretty interesting phase of their offseason now. And an unfamiliar one as, quite possibly, the top free agent buyer on the market.