The Rays have “said almost nothing” about their stadium situation? Really?

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Here’s MLB.com’s Richard Justice in an article about the Tampa Bay Rays, just published a few minutes ago:

It’s impossible not to admire how the Tampa Bay Rays are handling their stadium situation. They’ve said almost nothing publicly, taking the high road and letting the politicians do the talking.

Yes, the Rays have said almost nothing about their stadium situation and how it puts them at a financial disadvantage. The have said almost nothing. Except, you know, for when they have.

Here was Rays’ owner Stuart Sternberg in mid-October:

“… eventually Major League Baseball is going to vaporize this team. It could go on nine, 10, 12 more years, but between now and then it’s going to vaporize this team. Maybe a check gets written locally, maybe someone writes me a check (to buy the team). If I had $80 million to put out there, we’d be moving along in life.”

Here was Sternberg a week before that:

“I am frustrated this year. We’ve replicated last year [on the field] and our attendance numbers were down 15 percent and our ratings were down. The rubber has got to meet the road at some point here … Whatever you want to say, there are 29 other teams passing us like we’re going in reverse right now. Except on the field. And at some point that changes.”

Here was Sternberg last June, talking about how the fans won’t come to his park:

“Water is a big divide …  You know, we’ve learned really lots about what — I would say — (are) the driving habits of people. And their … ability to sort of navigate bridges.”

Then there was that time in June 2010 Sternberg said that the ballpark was “not viable,” and said that the team should be courted by the bay area as if they were a team from out of town looking to move in:

“If we weren’t here, how would people treat us?” Sternberg said wistfully. “I think that’s how I’d like to see this community react. If we weren’t here, I think it would take a regional effort to get us here.”

Then there was that time that Evan Longoria complained about how no one wants to go to their ballpark.

Hey, I’d complain too! It kind of stinks being the Rays, having a great team and having to play in a crap ballpark that no one wants to go to.

But let’s not pretend that they’ve said “almost nothing” about it, always taking the high road and never getting involved in the politics of it all.  They’ve been agitating about it for years.

Rob Manfred blames Bryce Harper for going unsigned

Bryce Harper
Mark Brown/Getty Images
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Commissioner Rob Manfred spoke with the media today. Naturally, he was asked various questions about the landscape of the sport, given that superstars Manny Machado and Bryce Harper remain unsigned as spring training begins. Per The Athletic’s Brittany Ghiroli, Manfred said that he thinks the free agent market will begin to move once spring training exhibition games begin. Manfred also said that Harper’s camp suggesting that he wants $400 million back in 2016 was “an impediment” to discussions throughout the offseason.

No word on why Machado is also as yet unsigned, as he did not have a reported $400 million ask.

Manfred’s job is to look out for ownership, so it’s not surprising to see him point the finger at Harper. Consider:

Manfred’s comment comes just months after the Red Sox won 108 regular season games and the World Series with baseball’s largest payroll. And ongoing evidence that there is indeed a positive correlation between dollars spent and team success. We often hear justification for tanking/rebuilding because the Cubs and Astros did it and won championships because of it. When the Red Sox use financial muscle to win a championship, it’s crickets.

Manfred didn’t stop there, however.

An easy way to get baseball’s “glow” back would be for two of the game’s best and most popular players to be in uniform playing games. The first spring training exhibition game will be played on February 22, so it’s not looking like that’s going to happen anytime soon.

Baseball’s “glow” would also come back if more teams were actively trying to win. Instead, one-third of the league is “rebuilding” or otherwise coasting on revenue-sharing. For fans of the Rangers, Orioles, Royals, and Marlins — to name a few — the outcomes of their favorite teams’ seasons have already been decided, so what is there to get excited about?