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Video: “The Freeze” loses a race to a Braves fan

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On a balmy June evening, in front of 38,123 fans gathered in the stands of SunTrust Park, well before the Marlins polished off their decisive 5-0 shutout and vaulted into second place in the NL East, the unthinkable happened: a Braves fan handed “The Freeze” his first loss of the season.

If you haven’t been following the rise of “The Freeze,” the superhero moniker of Braves’ grounds crew member Nigel Talton, you can watch the results of his first race here. He’s a seasoned sprinter and has plans to enter the 2018 world indoor championships in England, according to this profile by USA Today’s Andrew Joseph.

Friday’s loss wasn’t the first Talton has experienced at SunTrust Park — he lost to another fan during his first race on Opening Day — but it’s the first he’s experienced while under the teal-and-white guise of his speedy alter ego. On Friday, the race began in similar fashion to the others. The Braves fan took the customary 200-foot head start, but this time, The Freeze was unable to eclipse him on the warning track as the two sprinted toward the finish line:

Don’t let that dent your opinion of The Freeze, however. Talton told Cut 4’s Gemma Kaneko that his first race in costume inadvertently caused him to run blind, since he could barely see out of his goggles and wasn’t able to look up into the lights while sprinting. While he may not be invincible anymore, don’t be surprised if he has a few more tricks up his sleeve.

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.