Tampa Bay Rays

Tampa Bay Rays release renderings of desired new ballpark

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I say “desired” new ballpark because there is no deal in place to build this or any other ballpark yet. The Rays want it and, like any other baseball team, want someone else to pay for it, and the release of these artist’s renderings are a carefully-orchestrated part of the overall sales pitch to outsource their overhead to taxpayers and local business.

An entire webpage has been devoted to it called “Ballpark Reimagined,” which plays up the community’s suggestions for the park and talks about how closely the Rays are listening to the public throughout that process. Admirable, but — pardon my cynicism — clearly part of a campaign to get public buy-in in an effort to get public underwriting. “Hey, this is just as much your park as it is ours,” the Rays seem to be saying. That way, when the bill for it comes down, people will have less of a basis for objecting to paying it.

With that caveat noted — and no, I will not drop the matter of public financing of ballparks until multi-billion dollar businesses stop asking the public to finance ballparks — let us look at what the Rays hope to have someone build for them:

That’s a lot of glass which, hopefully, either does not face the southern/western sun or at least works like your dad’s transitions lenses. It’s also said to have only a 30,000 seat capacity, which (a) is pretty on-brand for the Rays; but (b) probably pretty nice from the perspective of fan experience. It’s also in keeping with Major League Baseball’s positioning of itself as a brand that would rather charge a ton for a small number of people to see the product than charge little for a large number of people to see it.

All in all, though: looks cool. The bar it has to hurdle in order to be an improvement over what they currently have is so low that it makes criticism seem rather beside the point right now. Either way, artist’s renderings at this stage are often very different than what ultimately gets built so we’ll reserve judgment. I mean, there aren’t any ads displayed in that park. Folks, there will be a lot of ads.

And, as I said before: understand that these are sales documents, not design documents, and judge on that basis.

UPDATE: But of course:

 

Giants fire general manager Bobby Evans

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Earlier today, Craig wrote about a potential shake-up in the Giants’ front office. It didn’t take long for that to come to fruition. Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area reports that the Giants have fired GM Bobby Evans.

Evans had been with the Giants for 25 years, starting in 1994 as a minor league administrative assistant. He was promoted to director of minor league operations in 1998, became the director of player personnel in 2005, then was named vice president of baseball operations in 2009. For the last four years, Evans has been the Giants’ general manager.

In part due to Evans’ influence, the Giants were quite successful, winning the World Series in 2010, 2012, and 2014. However, the last two years have been the Giants’ worst in quite some time. The club went 64-98 (.395) last year and enters Monday’s action 72-84 (.462) despite some splashy additions in the offseason (Andrew McCutchen and Evan Longoria).

There will certainly be conversations as to whether or not it’s fair that Evans is the fall guy for the Giants’ recent lack of success. But that’s part of the deal when you’re a public-facing employee in the front office of a baseball team. Pavlovic says it seems unlikely Evans remains with the organization in a different role.

The Giants have reportedly been considering hiring a “high-profile baseball operations executive” to push the team in a new direction. Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports reports that Ned Colletti is the favorite to become the new GM. The offseason is still more than a month away, so the Giants have some time to stew on their candidates and not make any rash decisions.