Tampa Bay Rays

Rays announcing new stadium site today

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The Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays are going to host a press conference this afternoon to announce that they’ve settled on a preferred site for a new ballpark. It’s across the bay in Hillsborough County, near Ybor City in Tampa.

This is good news given how long the Rays have looked for a way to replace their antiquated ballpark in St. Petersburg. For most of the last decade, in fact, the Rays were prohibited from even looking outside of the St. Pete city limits. It’s definitely forward progress on getting out of Tropicana Field.

There is still a long way to go, however, before the Rays are out of their poured concrete mausoleum, with the distance measured in dollars, not miles. A new ballpark will likely cost around three-quarters of a billon dollars and, as always, figuring out who is going to pay for that will be no easy task.

The Times reports that Rays ownership proposed putting forth only $150 million for the place and letting taxpayers handle the rest. Can’t blame him for asking given how easily so many other municipalities have rolled over for baseball teams in the past. That doesn’t make it any less ridiculous of an offer, of course. Maybe someone should tell the Rays and Hillsborough county about how Cobb County, Georgia is gonna close libraries because it can’t afford to operate them due to the massive debt service it’s paying for the Braves’ new ballpark.

It’ll be a nice announcement today, though. Followed, eventually, by some super sexy architectural renderings of a new Rays park and a vibrant entertainment district nearby. Pay less attention to that than the negotiations over financing. That’s where the real game is.

 

Marlins’ Jeter blames outbreak on ‘false sense of security’

Derek Jeter statement
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MIAMI (AP) Miami Marlins CEO Derek Jeter blamed the team’s coronavirus outbreak on a collective false sense of security that made players lax about social distancing and wearing masks.

Infected were 21 members of the team’s traveling party, including at least 18 players. None is seriously ill, Jeter said Monday, and he expects all to return this season.

With more than half of the team sidelined, Jeter said the Marlins still can be competitive when their season resumes Tuesday at Baltimore after a hiatus of more than a week.

Following an MLB investigation, Jeter said, it’s impossible to know where the first Marlins player became infected or how the virus reached their clubhouse. They left South Florida last week to play two exhibition games in Atlanta, and then opened the season with a three-game series in Philadelphia, where the outbreak surfaced.

“Guys were around each other, they got relaxed and they let their guard down,” Jeter said. “They were getting together in groups. They weren’t wearing masks as much as they should have. They weren’t social distancing. The entire traveling party got a little too comfortable.”

Jeter said his players were annoyed by speculation that reckless misbehavior was to blame.

“Our guys were not running all around town in Atlanta,” he said. “We did have a couple of individuals leave the hotel. We had guys leave to get coffee, to get clothes. A guy left to have dinner at a teammate’s house. There were no other guests on site. There was no salacious activity. There was no hanging out at bars, no clubs, no running around Atlanta.”

By Sunday, the outbreak had become so serious that the Marlins’ season was temporarily suspended, with the team stranded in Philadelphia. The infected players have since returned by bus to South Florida, where they are quarantined.

“We have a lot of players who are asymptomatic, and we have players who are showing mild symptoms,” Jeter said.

He said he is optimistic his players will closely adhere to the MLB virus protocols the rest of the season.

“We’ve been given an opportunity to hit the reset button,” Jeter said. “I hope people look at what happened to us and use that as a warning to see how quickly this is able to spread if you’re not following the protocols 100%.”

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