The Rays say that the Tropicana Field site is way too valuable for baseball

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That’s actually true in all likelihood, as offices, shops, restaurants and residential development are way more valuable than a big dome that houses sparsely-attended events 81 times a year. But it’s still funny hearing a baseball team tell a city that a ballpark is not the best use for a given piece of land. From Stephen Nohlgren of the Tampa Bay Times:

The Tampa Bay Rays, wanting a new stadium elsewhere, have begun to tout the Trop’s redevelopment potential as more valuable to the city than baseball. The city “is sitting on an enormous piece of land in a rapidly growing downtown that is, frankly, lying fallow,” Rays vice president Michael Kalt recently told the Pinellas County Commission.

The remaining debt on the stadium “pales in comparison to what can come from property and sales tax generation if you put that land to use,” he said.

All of this is part of the Rays’ argument to get out of the the lease which ties them to Tropicana Field. The rest of the article is about the trend to greater density in urban development, all of which is true. And all of which may ultimately get them out of their lease if there is enough creativity to go around down in St. Pete.

Must-Click Link: “Skunk in the Outfield”

Associated Press
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Sam Miller of ESPN has an amazingly fantastic story today. It’s about a high school tournament baseball game in Rhode Island in 2006. It’s not your typical game story or oral history or look-to-the-past-to-see-the-future kind of thing. The only nod to such conventionality is mention of the fact that former Red Sox prospect Ryan Westmoreland played in the game. That’s mostly a footnote.

No, the article is about a trick play — “skunk in the outfield” — concocted by one of the coaches. About how it played out and what went into it before, during and after it happened. Along the way Miller talks about the nature of trick plays and offers a good three dozen amazing insights into the psychology of young baseball players and the strategy of baseball as it unfolds in real time.

Each of these observations could anchor its own story but here they form a grand mosaic. And that’s only mild hyperbole, if in fact it’s hyperbole at all. Indeed, most treatments of such a play would be some video clip with a “wow, look what happened here!” sort of couching. Miller gives a more than ten-year-old trick play an epic treatment that is every bit as enlightening as it is entertaining.

Set some time aside to read this today.

Rubby De La Rosa to undergo a second Tommy John Surgery

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This is unfortunate: Diamondbacks reliever Rubby De La Rosa will undergo Tommy John surgery. This will be the second Tommy John procedure of his career, the first coming back in 2011.

De La Rosa has had elbow  issues for his entire career. Last year his UCL was barking again and he underwent stem cell therapy to try to avoid a second surgery, but it obviously hasn’t worked out. He’s pitched in only nine games this year, allowing four earned runs in seven and two-thirds innings, striking out 12.

I first saw De La Rosa in spring training in 2011. I thought his stuff was pretty phenomenal and figured he’d be a good one. Great stuff is often a function of heavy strain on an elbow, however, and pitchers breaking is, unfortunately, the rule in baseball far more than the exception.

He’ll miss a year at least. We likely won’t see him until spring of 2019, most likely on a minor league deal.