Mitt Romney, Red Sox fan, didn’t know the Rays have a dome

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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 Pirates are, not surprisingly, leaning against trading Andrew McCutchen

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Over the winter there was serious talk about the Pirates trading Andrew McCutchen to the Washington Nationals. His move to left field to allow Starling Marte to take over center further served to make McCutchen a less important part of the Pirates long term plans.

Then the season began, Marte got suspended for PEDs and, after a bumpy start, McCutchen caught fire. He hit .411/.505/.689 in June he has a .333/.444/.561 line in the month of July. For the year he’s now at .292/.384/.507 with 17 homers and 57 RBI. Even with Marte back on the roster, McCutchen is the Pirates’ center fielder. What’s more, the Pirates, after beginning the season slowly have righted the ship somewhat and are now only three games back in the NL Central.

All of which makes this, from Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, unsurprising:

That option is a quite reasonable $14.5 million, so it seems sorta crazy that they wouldn’t pick it up. Of course if they remain coy enough about it for now perhaps someone will bowl them over with an offer. Letting McCutchen walk seems insane. Unloading him for a hefty haul would, well, still be kinda crazy given how popular McCutchen is with the fan base, but not truly insane.

The Brewers are talking to the Tigers about Ian Kinsler, Justin Wilson

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The Brewers were rumored last week to have been “aggressive” in talks for Tigers reliever Justin Wilson. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports, however, that the talks are a bit more wide-ranging than that.

Crasnick says that the two clubs are also discussing Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler, potentially in a package deal with Wilson. Crasnick says that the Brewers “would love to have Kinsler,” but their main focus at the moment is pitching help. Of course, the Brewers current second baseman — Jonathan Villar — is hitting a meager .223/.285/.348 in 334 plate appearances.

Kinsler is having a down season for him — .237/.331/.400 — but he’s better than that and, of course, would represent an improvement. He’s under contract through the end of this year but he has a very affordable, $10 million club option for 2018. Wilson will be arbitration-eligible this offseason, so he’s still under team control as well. As such a Kinsler/Wilson package would likely cost the Brewers a high price, so you have to think they’d try to exhaust cheaper options before making such a deal.

The Brewers had been in first place in the NL Central since June 7, but the Cubs caught them yesterday. They’re in a virtual tie, with Chicago percentage points ahead. This should prove to be a very interesting week for the Brewers’ front office.