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 Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”
The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.