Baseball has announced that they’re going to ban maple bats in the minors due to the danger they pose from the way they shatter. While I’m on board with things that make life safer, there are some benefits to maple bats — the players really like them; ash trees are in trouble — and it’s probably worth asking whether there is anything short of a ban that would effectively address the considerable safety concerns.
Our Jason at IIATMS points out a new product that may accomplish that very thing. It’s called the BatGlove, and, according to Jason “it’s a virtually
invisible “sheath” that adheres to the handle of the bat and eliminates
the parts of the bat from separating.” Apparently it doesn’t stop the bat from
breaking or cracking; it only stops it from flying off in potentially
Jason spoke with one of the makers of the BatGlove. Pretty interesting stuff, so by all means, spend a click and some time on it.
LAS VEGAS — Tampa Bay Rays owner Stuart Sternberg appeared at the Winter Meetings a few minutes ago and said that the project which was intended to result in a new ballpark for the team in Ybor City neighborhood of Tampa has fallen apart. No new ballpark will be built and the three-year window granted to the team by the City of St. Petersburg to negotiate for a new ballpark will come to a close without any deal. The Tampa Bay Rays appear to be stuck in Tropicana Field through 2027.
Sternberg’s statement came mere hours after it was reported that Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred sent a sternly-worded letter to Hillsborough County officials, blasting the framework for the deal for the new stadium in Ybor City, saying it lacked specifics and criticized “the actual level commitment” from the public side. It’s not unreasonable to read that as the Commissioner’s dissatisfaction with how much public money the County was pledging to complete the project. Sternberg said just now that “we were not close to a workable framework.”
In his comments this morning Sternberg noted that the Rays had worked “for ten years” to get a new stadium and that they’d continue to try to work to that end, but the team’s options are extremely limited. The Rays are party to what has been described as an iron-clad lease for Tropicana Field, lasting through 2027. Until three years ago the Rays were prohibited from even talking to anyone about building a new ballpark outside of St. Petersburg. In December 2015 St. Pete granted the team a window to negotiate with Hillsborough County which Sternberg called “very generous.” It is now closing, however, and Sternberg said that there are no plans to ask St. Petersburg officials for a new one.
Which means that the Rays are likely stuck in Tropicana Field through 2027. While Sternberg talked of being creative and searching for any and all available options, he likewise said that “we need to figure out where the 2028 season will be played.”