Mets fan arrested for trespassing … for moving to a better seat

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My friends and I call it “trading up.” You’ve done it before. Don’t lie.  A little late in a game. House only half full. You move down to better seats. No harm, no foul.

Unless you’re in Citi Field, where it’s a criminal trespassing beef. Via It’s Always Sunny in Detroit, we get this report from the Daily News:

Officer Eduardo Cornejo had a legit ticket to the Mets’ sad 6-3 drubbing by the Cincinnati Reds, but ballpark management confronted him once they realized he was stretched out in a seat better than the one he had purchased.

“He was in a section he wasn’t supposed to be,” Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said. “They asked him to leave. He wouldn’t. [A] supervisor asked him to leave. He wouldn’t. The uniformed police sergeant asked him to leave. He wouldn’t, and he was arrested as a result.”

Technically trespassing? Sure, if they asked him to leave and he wouldn’t. And of course I could get it if he was belligerent and they got him on a disorderly conduct. But really: calling the police on a guy for moving up seats? Why is anyone checking his tickets in the first place? According to the police report this was late in the game. On a night when the joint was officially half full, which meant by then it was probably way less than half full. Jeez, if that’s a crime I’d be in jail several times over.

And yeah, that’s “Officer Eduardo Cornejo” as in off duty cop. At least they’re not playing favorites.  That’s the most you can say here.

Evan Longoria: ‘I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base’

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The Rays were busy over the weekend, trading starter Jake Odorizzi to the Twins, designating All-Star outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment, and then picking up C.J. Cron in a deal with the Angels. The Rays saved about $4 million — Odorizzi’s $6.3 million less Cron’s $2.3 million salary — and picked up a prospect. They’re still on the hook for Dickerson’s $5.95 million salary until they can find a trade partner, which seems likely.

Those are some head-scratching moves if you’re a Rays fan or a member of the Rays. Dickerson hit .282/.325/.490 with 27 home runs, 62 RBI, and 84 runs scored in 629 plate appearances last season, part of which resulted in his first trip to the All-Star Game. Designating him for assignment is strictly a financial move, assuming he can be traded. The Rays are currently operating with a payroll below $70 million. This comes just a week and a half after Rays ownership proposed the public footing most of the bill for the club’s new stadium. And the Rays had traded third baseman Evan Longoria — then the face of the franchise — to the Giants earlier this offseason.

Longoria expressed sympathy for Rays fans for having to put up with this. Via Andrew Baggarly, Longoria said of the curious Dickerson move, “I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base. … I’m not going to take too many shots but it’s pretty obvious that guy is a valuable player and didn’t deserve to be DFAd. Corey was our best player last year.”

Longoria isn’t quite on the money there. By WAR, Dickerson ranked fifth among position players on the team, according to Baseball Reference. FanGraphs is also in agreement. Still, it’s indisputable that Dickerson, who turns 29 years old this May, more than pulled his weight. The Rays do not have a surfeit of starting outfielders, so it wasn’t like they were making room for other capable players. Mallex Smith, who put up a .684 OPS in 282 PA last year, is slated to start in left field at the moment. Designating Dickerson for assignment, as well as trading Longoria and Odorizzi, were simply cost-cutting decisions.

The Rays’ M.O. has been part of the problem leading to the current stagnant free agent market (sans Eric Hosmer‘s eight-year deal on Saturday). Teams like the Rays, Phillies, Reds, and Tigers have been explicitly putting out non-competitive teams in order to facilitate a rebuilding process. Longoria is right to express sympathy for Rays fans, who see their favorite team worsening a roster that went 80-82 last year. The Rays haven’t finished at .500 or above since 2013 and doesn’t figure to halt the streak this year.