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Kirk Gibson inducted to the (college football) Hall of Fame

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Former Tigers and Dodgers great and 1988 National League MVP Kirk Gibson has been inducted to the Hall of Fame! The College Football Hall of Fame, that is. The inductees were announced this morning. In addition to Gibson, Peyton Manning, Steve Spurrier and a whole bunch of other dudes got the call. The entire list below if you care. Unlike baseball, college football voters do not get the shakes when they induct more than one or two dudes.

Most of us know Gibby as an outfielder, manager and now as a Tigers broadcaster, but the guy was way more famous for football at the time he was drafted. He was a standout wide receiver for Michigan State — an All-American — who helped lead the Spartans to some of their best seasons in a decade. When he graduated in 1978 he had only one year of college baseball under his belt, but it was a fantastic year. So fantastic that the Tigers took him in the first round of the 1978 draft with the 12th overall pick. The rest was baseball history.

In addition to Gibson, inductees are Bob Crable (Notre Dame), Marshall Faulk (San Diego State); Peyton Manning (Tennessee); Bob McKay (Texas); Dat Ngygen (Texas A&M); Adrian Peterson (the other one — from Georgia Southern); Mike Roth (Boston College); Brian Urlacher (New Mexico); Danny Ford (Clemson, Arkansas); Steve Spurrier (Duke, Florida, South Carolina); Larry Kehres (Mount Union).

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.