Larry Walker “saw Satan” in the eyes of Alfredo Aceves

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Canada defeated Mexico 10-3 in today’s World Baseball Classic Pool D match-up, but that wasn’t the most talked-about result from the game — it was the fracas that started in the ninth inning. With his team up six runs, Canada’s Chris Robinson led off the top-half of the inning with a bunt, which infuriated Mexico, thinking that the WBC operates under similar rules as Major League Baseball. However, where the WBC differs is that they use run differential in their tie-breaker, so all efforts to eke out that extra run, whether by bunting or stealing bases up by more runs than can be counted on one hand, are justifiable. Not knowing this, Mexico reliever Arnold Leon threw at Rene Tosoni with his first pitch of the next at-bat, causing both benches to empty and punches to be thrown.

Those involved in the brawl included Mexico’s Luis Cruz, Eduardo Arredondo and Alfredo Aceves, as well as Canada’s Tyson Gillies and Scott Mathieson. Canada first base coach Larry Walker was involved as well, and says he saw Satan in the eyes of his attacker.

Walker also had baseball’s best interest in mind, pulling Mexico star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez out of the gathering.

Walker had some other interesting thoughts on the brawl, saying that CBC hockey commentator Don Cherry “can’t wait” to put the baseball brawl on his Hockey Night in Canada program. He never was one for a dull moment.

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.