The Rays are number one!

8 Comments

No, not in the AL East! In terms of critical violations of health codes at its concession outlets in their home stadium!

ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” reviewed health department inspection reports
for food and beverage outlets at all 107 North American arenas and
stadiums that were home to Major League Baseball, National Football
League, National Hockey League and National Basketball Association teams
in 2009. At 30 of the venues (28 percent), more than half of the
concession stands or restaurants had been cited for at least one
“critical” or “major” health violation . . . At Tropicana Field — home of the Tampa Bay Rays — every one of the
stadium’s 47 food and drink outlets inspected incurred a critical
violation during inspections within the past year, according to Florida
inspection reports.

Not that the Rays are the only ones doing poorly in this regard. The story has a nice interactive map showing just how terrible every ballpark, stadium and arena is doing in all four major sports. I note a very large number of violations in Florida, though that could just as easily be a function of more stringent inspections in Florida than a difference in actual problems. When you look at stuff like this you’re bound to find differences in how things get reported.

And while the details in this kind of report don’t make me feel all that good, I’ve read enough books over the years that lead me to believe that we really don’t want to hear the details about anyplace we eat.

Hot dogs on me, everyone!

Yasmani Grandal signs a four-year, $73 million deal with the White Sox

Getty Images
5 Comments

The first truly big free agent signing of the offseason has gone down: the Chicago White Sox just announced that they have signed catcher Yasmani Grandal to a four-year, $73 million deal.

Grandal, 31, was the best catcher available in free agency. He is coming off a fine year with the Milwaukee Brewers, with whom he had to settle for a one-year pact in 2019. He hit .246/.380/.468 with 28 homers and 77 driven in. It was his fourth straight season with 20+ homers. While his catching has been criticized due to some high-profile mistakes in the postseason, the two-time All-Star once again proved himself to be one of the best pitch-framers in the game if not the best. Between the bat and the glove he has a claim to being one of the best all-around catchers in baseball.

The signing leaves open the question of what happens to James McCann, who was himself an All-Star this year. It’s not that hard a question, of course, as Grandal is a far superior catcher to McCann in every respect. The Sox could make McCann a backup. Alternatively, they could try to trade him to fill other holes on the roster.

The White Sox finished 72-89 in 2019 but are showing signs of coming out of rebuilding mode and into contention mode. This signing pushes them a big step into that direction.