Any initial optimism about B.J. Upton making a speedy recovery following his outfield collision with Desmond Jennings two weeks ago is now gone, as the Rays center fielder admitted today that he’s unlikely to be ready for Opening Day.
Upton has played just once since the collision, logging a handful of innings in a minor-league game, and told Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times that he’s not going to rush back:
If it doesn’t happen, so be it, there’s too much baseball to worry about one series of games. I just rather be healthy all year than try to rush back for a weekend or so.
The main issue from the collision is back tightness, which Upton said “won’t loosen up.” Sam Fuld is also injured and possibly facing shoulder surgery, so the Rays’ outfield will be thin initially.
Not long after the new ownership group bought the Miami Marlins, face of the franchise Derek Jeter made it clear that he wanted the home runs sculpture beyond the outfield fence gone. He simply doesn’t like it aesthetically and many think that, among Jeter’s goals, he’d like to erase any trace of Jeff Loria’s legacy, which includes the sculpture.
The problem: the sculpture is not Jeter’s to remove. The sculpture is public property, purchased as part of the Art in Public Places program, which requires art to be installed for the public in county-owned buildings, which includes Marlins Park. Miami-Dade officials have said that moving it was not possible as the sculpture was “not moveable” and was “permanently installed: as it was designed specifically for Marlins Park. And that’s before you get into how logistically complicated it would be to move it. It’s seven stories tall and is connected to a hydraulic system, plumbing and there’s electricity.
What Jeter wants, however, Jeter eventually gets. From the Miami Herald:
The Miami Marlins won county permission on Tuesday to move its home-run sculpture out of Marlins Park to the plaza outside . . . In its new location outside, “Homer” will still turn on for home runs, as well as at the end of every home win and every day at 3:05 p.m., an homage to Miami’s original area code.
It may or may not be moved before Opening Day, but once it is moved there will be a new seating and standing room only area for spectators where the sculpture currently sits.