St. Petersburg council rejects plan to let the Rays look at out-of-town stadium sites

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Earlier this week we wrote about this long shot bill to allow the Tampa Bay Rays to look outside of St. Petersburg for potential stadium cites. Well, forget it:

A proposal to let the Tampa Bay Rays examine stadium sites in Hillsborough County went nowhere Thursday. St. Petersburg City Council members even rejected a motion to have their attorney evaluate the proposal’s legal implications.

There is basically zero incentive for the city to give anything to the Rays, so it’s probably not too surprising.

The article goes on to report that Rays owner Stuart Sternberg will possibly speak to the St. Pete council soon. When he spoke to other regional bodies recently he went on about how Major League Baseball finds the Rays’ situation untenable and may contract them or something.  I hope someone on the council grills Sternberg on this and reveals just how empty a threat it is.*

UPDATE: That last sentence was probably unfair. I looked back at the historical back and forth about the Rays stadium situation. While many people have thrown contraction out there as a possibility — and while I continue to believe that such a possibility is ludicrous given  the logistics that would be involved in contraction — Sternberg himself has not threatened contraction.  He has noted MLB’s lack of confidence in St. Petereburg as a baseball market and, when pressed, once said that the franchise could be “vaporized,” but he has never used the threat of contraction when talking to St. Petereburg, Hillsborough County or other players in the game down there.

The Cubs live for another day, but death will come soon

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The Cubs had a nice night last night. Javier Baez finally broke his hitless streak with not one but two homers. Willson Contreras hit a nearly 500-foot homer. Jake Arrieta, possibly pitching for the last time as a Cub, dug down for a gutsy performance, pitching into the seventh inning, working around some walks to allow only one run while striking out nine.

After the game, Cubs players sounded hopeful notes about believing in themselves, taking them one game at a time, getting the series back to L.A. for a Game 6 and Game 7. They’re professional athletes who know better than any of us that to achieve a thing you have to believe you can achieve that thing, so it’d be dumb to expect anything else from them in this situation. Ballplayers, quite admirably, don’t sound a note of defeat until they are actually defeated.

But let’s be realistic there: they’re still a dead team walking.

  • They’re dead because, as we have been reminded oh so many times, only once in 35 tries has a team come back to win a seven game series in which they’ve found themselves down 0-3. That team did so because Dave Roberts worked some magic. Dave Roberts is working for the other team now.
  • They’re dead because their biggest weakness this postseason — their bullpen — is not going to have its best pitcher, Wade Davis, available today in Game 5 after throwing 48 pitches in Game 4.
  • They’re dead because while the Dodgers used five relievers last night, none of them were worked particularly hard and neither Brandon Morrow nor Kenley Jansen were used at all, allowing them to come in and work hard and heavy tonight if need be.
  • They’re dead because the man on the mound to start tonight’s game is Clayton Edward Kershaw. Yes, he has had some less-than-glory-filled moments in the postseason in recent years, but all of those have come at the tail end of starts, when his managers have left him in perhaps an inning too long. See the above bullet point — and Dave Roberts’ early hook in Game 1 — if you think that’ll be a problem tonight.

The Dodgers lost last night, yes, but it was their first loss in the postseason. All teams have lost at least one postseason game since it went to the three-round format, so it was likely inevitable that L.A. would drop one. Heck, maybe they’ll drop two before the NLCS is over, but they’re not going to drop the next three in a row.

Last night’s Cubs win was nice for them, but it only delayed the inevitable.