Scenes from the Winter Meetings: Elephants? OK, elephants.

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It’s been a strange first day of the Winter Meetings for me. The Hilton Anatole here in Dallas is larger than some European countries, and getting from place to another is a major undertaking. There’s also stuff like this all over the place:

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There’s a matching elephant just out of the frame on the left.  I don’t know either. It goes with the giant atrium. Everything is bigger in Texas.

Also, this morning was on a panel for the Sports Management World Wide Career Conference. Joining me was ESPN’s Jayson Stark and Biz of Baseball’s Maury Brown. Here’s us. We’re cute.  The topic: the new collective bargaining agreement and its implications.

Stark noted a couple of times that this or that issue wasn’t totally settled yet even though the agreement is done.  It sort of dawned on me as he was talking that there are many, many such things and that in a lot of ways this CBA is literally half-baked.  It’s almost as if the union and the league are so comfortable with each other and have such a clear mandate from their constituencies (i.e. the owners and players) that they sort of took a “don’t worry, we’ll figure it out” approach.  It’s just worrisome.

There haven’t been any signings or deals since the Reyes thing last night, but much continues to go on down here. Several managers are going to walk in here in a little while and let us ask them questions. As per tradition, I plan on asking them if they would like Hideki Matsui in their lineup.

More later.

Rob Manfred says Tampa Bay must pick up pace on new stadium

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred wants Tampa Bay to work a little quicker on getting the Rays a new ballpark.

Rays Principal Owner Stuart Sternberg has been working for nearly a decade to get a new stadium for the club and signed a three-year agreement with the City of St. Petersburg early in 2016 to search for a site in the Tampa Bay area. Manfred wants that search to pick up some steam.

“I think it’s fair to say we want the process to take on a better pace moving forward,” Manfred said Wednesday night at Tropicana Field, home of the Rays since their first season in 1998.

The Rays were averaging 15,815 fans per game before Wednesday night’s contest against the Toronto Blue Jays. That is just over half the major league average of 30,470. Tropicana Field and its location have been almost universally blamed as the reason for the poor attendance.

“I’ve been pretty clear that they need a new facility here, a major league quality facility in an A-plus location,” Manfred said. “It is time to move that decision to the front burner here in Tampa.”

The matter of how a stadium would be financed has been tabled until a site is determined, but Sternberg continued to express confidence in the Tampa Bay market.

“I’ve had the opportunity to bail on it many times over the years,” he said. “I won’t say this is a slam dunk, it’s certainly not. But I think we can do something that’ll at least double our attendance. That’s a lot to ask for.”

Manfred said Major League Baseball “doesn’t have a firm timetable” for what steps to take if the Rays fail to get an agreement to build a new stadium in the Tampa Bay area, but but added that “it is a topic of discussion in the industry, the lack of progress.”

More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

Robinson Cano leaves game with hamstring tightness

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Bad news for the Mariners this evening: Robinson Cano left Seattle’s game against the Atlanta Braves with tightness in his left hamstring.

Cano walked off the field after legging out a double — his second of the game — in the third inning. He pulled up as he approached second base and walked off the field, accompanied by a trainer. There was no immediate word on the severity of the injury. The Mariners have a day off Thursday before opening a series at the Yankees on Friday night, so they have some time to evaluate him.

Cano is hitting .277/.377/.460 with 19 homers and 78 RBI on the year.