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St. Petersburg should say yes to Tampa Bay Rays stadium deal. Here’s why. | Editorial (

Keeping the Rays won't be cheap. Losing them, though, would cost St. Petersburg and Tampa Bay even more. The time has come to tie the Rays to the city for decades. It's time to say yes to this deal.

I've watched the Rays stadium saga for literally decades. It's been a slog, full of ups and downs and plenty of dramas. It finally feels like there's real momentum for keeping the team in St. Pete and building a new stadium. I've got my fingers crossed.

tags: stpete mlb rays

posted by matt in Wednesday, July 3, 2024

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Great game today — Rays won 5-0. A few home runs, a fantastic pitching performance by the Rays starter, Taj Bradley, and Rays first baseman Isaac Paredes was a single shy of the cycle. He went about it backwards, too, getting the home run, triple, and double in that order. Having the hard work done (the triple!), he only needed a single during his last at bat in the eighth inning. It wasn't meant to be though, as he hit a can of corn to center field to end his offensive day. Still, fun to see.

tags: baseball mlb rays

photo posted by matt in Sunday, June 30, 2024

Legendary center fielder Mays dies at age 93 (

In his 22-year career, Mays was selected to 24 All-Star games.

Read that closely. It may be the most Willie Mays stat of all time.

R.I.P. to the Say Hey Kid, Willie Mays.

tags: sports baseball mlb obituary

posted by matt in Tuesday, June 18, 2024

I've long thought that the map is Snapchat's killer feature. I've used it for years to get "man on the street" video and commentary during hurricane season. During active storms, while we're watching St. Pete Beach from afar, I find it more informative and authentic than the various news and weather outlets. The combination of the Snap Map and any of dozens of decent weather apps turn my phone into a decent storm tracking station.

I haven't had to use the Map for hurricane tracking yet this year (here's hoping I don't have to very much this year!), but I did discover a new use for it tonight. During the Guardians game, a crazy fan ran onto the field and was chased and tackled by the police. The television broadcast did what they always do in these circumstances - refuse to show video of the fan. I get that they don't want to encourage copycats by giving trespassers a stage, but, darn it, I want to see video of that! Was it a streaker? A protestor? We never know, because they won't show them.

Enter the Snap Map! I checked it about an hour after the "incident" in tonight's game and, sure enough, The Map gave me sever clips of the fan posted by people who were actually at the game. Sure the video was low quality and shaky, but that's all I needed. Curiosity satisfied.

Btw, he wasn't a streaker, but did add some flourish to the bit by doing a backflip before getting tased.

tags: tech snapchat mlb baseball guardians

postposted by matt in Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Sources: Padres' Marcano faces ban for betting (

The potential ban of Marcano comes in the wake of the NBA handing down a ban to Toronto Raptors forward Jontay Porter for disclosing confidential information to bettors, limiting his participation in at least one game and betting on NBA games while playing in the G League.

Lifetime Ban.

It was only a matter of time, in this current environment where in-game announcers report on current odds for games, until we heard those words again.

Lifetime Ban for betting on baseball.

This story is both shocking and unsurprising.

It will be important to keep track of this and other stories relating to athletes gambling on their sports because I think MLB and the sports media industry will do everything in their power to downplay them. Indeed, ESPN kind of checked its swing in its reporting, so far, on the story about Tucupita Marcano – the linked article doesn't link to the original report from the Wall Street Journal about Marcano and, perhaps more interestingly, links to the ESPN team page for the Toronto Raptors in the text above about the NBA ban for Jontay Porter instead of linking to an ESPN story about that ban. At least it doesn't link to a page showing the current odds on Thursday's opening game in the NBA Finals.

Despite their efforts to downplay it, fans – and gamblers – can't ignore it.

I think we can at least rely on ESPN to announce the presence of sports betting every time it takes the field. Completely ignoring a story like this would destory any bit of news credibility the network has left. It still fashions itself as a news outlet on some level. Make no mistake, though, ESPN will not give us detailed, in-depth reporting as individual gambling stories appear in the coming years. That would be actual journalism, something the entertainment network abandoned a long time ago.

And if there's any doubt about that, consider this – SportsCenter ran a segment on the Marcano story below the fold this morning. Think about that. SportsCenter, the flagship current news program on the leading sports media network made a programming decision to push a report on a potential lifetime ban in Major League Baseball, something that hasn't been an issue in decades, to the back half of the show the day after the story broke. And this when the NBA and NHL playoffs, the two major sports events in the United States right now, are paused for a few days before the respective finals get underway later this week. There's literally nothing happening in either playoffs right now.

Journalists would pursue the Marcano story vigorously and give it the proper spotlight on the front page and as a lead story on SportsCenter. ESPN, of course, views it differently. After all, it operates ESPN Bet, its "official sportsbook." The network clearly stands to benefit from starving this story, and any story about problems arising from sports gambling, of oxygen. The problem for us, as news-hungry sports fans, is that the network, as the 800-pound gorilla of sports news, has its hand tightly gripped on the valve controlling flow.

Maybe we'll get a 30 for 30 documentary on the whole thing in a few years.

Surely that will save face.

tags: sports journalism espn mlb nba gambling

posted by matt in Tuesday, June 4, 2024

MLB adds Negro Leagues stats, stirs record books (

"The condensed 60-game season for the 2020 calendar year for the National League and American League prompted us to think that maybe the shortened Negro League seasons could come under the MLB umbrella, after all," Thorn said.

More good that came from the pandemic. This had to be an incredibly complex and fascinating research effort. Nice work, MLB!

tags: sports baseball mlb

posted by matt in Wednesday, May 29, 2024

The Guardians lost in ten innings last night, but proved my point about them yesterday in the process. They scored five runs in the sixth inning to erase a five run deficit, and held the Astros scoreless from the fifth through the ninth innings. They scored one in the extra frame but couldn't plate the insurance run, which turned out to be the difference. The Astros walked it off on a two run homer.

Tough loss, but boy this team is fun to watch.

tags: mlb baseball guardians

postposted by matt in Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Boy the Guardians are fun to watch this year. They're off to a great start — 28 games in, and they're tied for the most wins in baseball (19) and only the Braves have a better win percentage (.704 vs. .679 for Cleveland). Plenty of players with great personalities, too.

tags: mlb baseball guardians

postposted by matt in Tuesday, April 30, 2024

MLB Gameday: Guardians 4, Braves 2 Final Score (04/27/2024) (

I've only missed a few Guardians games so far this year, last night being one of them. It was a doozy, too. Pitchers duel, with the MLB-best Guardians beating the MLB-second-best Braves in extra Atlanta.

Rubber match today.

tags: mlb guardians

posted by matt in Sunday, April 28, 2024

We're about 2.5 weeks into the 2024 MLB season and the Guardians have the best record in baseball. Not bad for a young team with major pitching challenges, at least with respect to starters.

tags: mlb baseball guardians

postposted by matt in Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Feds accuse Ohtani ex-interpreter of $16M theft (

The amount was pegged at about $4M when the story broke a couple weeks ago as the Dodgers opened the season in Korea. Now federal investigators allege the theft totaled more than $16M. That's an insane amount of money, which makes it more shocking if Ohtani truly was ignorant of the entire thing.

tags: mlb baseball dodgers ohtani gambling

posted by matt in Thursday, April 11, 2024

Bash brothers: Naylors homer in same frame on National Siblings Day (

This has to be the greatest National Siblings Day celebration of all time - Josh and Bo Naylor each homered in the fourth inning of the Guardians game tonight. Cleveland even came back from a 0-5 deficit to win the game…on a walk off single by Bo in the 10th. Incredible.

tags: mlb baseball guardians

posted by matt in Wednesday, April 10, 2024

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We saw a gem of a game last night (posting this to the day of the game on the following morning). The Guardians came to town and opened a three game series against the Rays.

To start things off, we were a bit conflicted. The Guardians are our team, and the Rays are our second team. Who to root for? Everyone else pulled for the Guardians but I donned my Rays hat and pulled for the home town team. Why? First, we're in St. Pete. Second, and probably more importantly, the Guardians sold at the trade deadline (including Ace pitcher Aaron Civale, to the Rays...and he started tonight). That's a huge signal to me (and the players) that ownership doesn't believe the team has it this year, and they're taking actions to support that lack of faith. Indeed, the starting lineup for the Guards included several players I've never heard of. They've given up on 2023. Meanwhile, the Rays are a legitimate contender this year, and bought at the deadline to solidify that. The Rays still believe, and the Guardians don't. That contrast is clear at the ownership level, and I suspect it will become more clear on the field in coming weeks.

The game itself was incredible, too. Back and forth, with a lot of scoring. And long! More than two and a half hours of baseball, which is rare these days without extra innings.

And speaking of extra innings, we nearly had some free baseball. The Guardians scored four runs in the top of the ninth to tie the game, thanks in large part to some lousy pitching by the Rays closer and some equally lousy catching (several passed balls that let runs in). So, to the bottom of the ninth we went, evened up. Wander Franco of the Rays promptly settled it though, two pitches into the home half with a walk-off home run. Wild finish to a ball game. Certainly the craziest finish I've ever seen in person.

This photo shows the first pitch of the game. Looking back at it, I remember another strange aspect of this game. The Guardians started off with two, back-to-back lead off bunts. Rays pitcher Civale (who played for the Guardians just two weeks ago) botched his fielding assignment on the first one, letting Steven Kwan reach base. In the photo, you can see Kwan showing bunt as Civale prepares to release the first pitch of the game. Second batter Andres Gimenez then bunted Kwan over to second. So the game started almost as weirdly as it ended.

Let's go Rays.

tags: mlb baseball tampabayrays clevelandguardians raysup

photo posted by matt in Friday, August 11, 2023

Oakland A's Buy Land For New Stadium Near Las Vegas Strip (

The A's had been looking for a new home for years to replace the outdated and run-down Oakland Coliseum, where the team has played since arriving from Kansas City for the 1968 season. They had sought to build a stadium in Fremont and San Jose before shifting their attention to the Oakland waterfront.

There has been some debate over whether Tropicana Field or the Oakland Coliseum is the worst stadium in baseball. Both are certainly worthy of the title. But now it looks like we're set to see a race between the two teams that call those stadiums home, the Tampa Bay Rays and the Oakland A's, to open new ballparks. The A's will likely win that on paper if expected timelines play out . But, regardless of who wins between the two, the more interesting thing to watch is maybe this—the Rays and A's are likely to go from worst to first over the next few years with the opening of the two newest stadiums in the game.

tags: baseball mlb tampabay oakland

posted by matt in Thursday, April 20, 2023

Rays’ Randy Arozarena has arrived in Tampa Bay, so let the party begin (

We had a front row seat for the Arozarena show at the Rays game, with seats in the left field boxes just a few rows behind the wall. He's a character, for sure, and was clearly having fun.

As were we and everyone else sitting in his seats.

tags: mlb baseball tampabayrays

posted by matt in Thursday, March 30, 2023

The Guardians lost their opener in a game that, I guess, qualifies as a pitching duel.

Castillo was lights out for the Mariners, and Bieber managed to keep things together and avoid damage as the two starters battled to a 0-0 lock until each left the game.
Relievers told a different story, though. Seattle smoothly transitioned to the bullpen, while Cleveland hit a major bump in the eighth when a clearly rattled by the pitch clock Karinchak served up a three run homer, which was the difference.

Guardians lose the opener 3-0.

tags: mlb baseball guardians

postposted by matt in Thursday, March 30, 2023

15 games, 1 huge day: Here's what you need to know (

"For the first time since 1968, all 30 teams will play their first games on the same day (March 30), so Thursday will feature hours of nonstop baseball action."

First time in my lifetime then. That's pretty cool.

tags: baseball mlb

posted by matt in Thursday, March 30, 2023

It's Opening Day! We've got a great day of baseball planned, too. Renee, Jake, and I will be at Tropicana Field as the Rays open the 2023 campaign against the Tigers. The Guardians are conveniently in Seattle, which will give us plenty of time to get home from a Rays victory (here's hoping!) to watch Cleveland in a late game.

tags: baseball mlb clevelandguardians tampabayrays

postposted by matt in Thursday, March 30, 2023

Aaron Judge, rightfully so, is all the talk on sports radio. Standing at 60 home runs for the season, it's only a matter of time until he catches and passes Roger Maris's single season home run record of 61.

There's another layer to the story, though, that most people aren't talking about. Yet.

Remember that Judge "bet on himself" before the season started, turning down a truckload of money from the Yankees and, in effect, choosing to use this season as a demonstration of his abilities before entering free agency after the season ends.

He's certainly made the best of it, too. The Yankees are now going to need a second truckload of money to keep him in pinstripes. Don't feel too bad for the Bombers, though. The team, no doubt, has loaded several trucks full of cash as Judge put butts in the seats, turned on televisions (and phones and tablets), and sold jerseys, hats, and all the other things.

I don't think Judge is going anywhere. He's a Yankee and will remain a Yankee. It's just a question of how many trucks the team brings to the table.

As a side note, I suspect Lamar Jackson, another superstar athlete who bet on himself by turning down a truckload of money, is watching intently as Judge makes the mold.

tags: sports baseball mlb yankees aaronjudge lamarjackson

postposted by matt in Thursday, September 22, 2022

Boy the Guardians are playing great baseball. They all but knocked the Twins out of the division race in the last series, taking four out of five. Tonight they kicked off a road series against the White Sox that stands to be the definitive set as the American League Central race winds down.

It took extra innings tonight, but the Guardians settled it in the 11th with an emphatic five run effort, ultimately winning 10-7.

It feels appropriate to say it while they're playing in the south side of Chicago — the kids can play.

Go Guardians!

tags: sports baseball mlb guardians cleveland cleguardians

postposted by matt in Wednesday, September 21, 2022

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With the move completed, we went to Fenway Park to see the Red Sox play the Rays. It wasn't much of a game, with the Rays winning 12-4. They jumped to an early lead and the Sox struggled to catch up, particularly after the bullpen entered the game.

But, any day at the ballpark is a good day, and any day at Fenway is a great day.

We did get to see five (I think) home runs sail over the Green Monster, which was pretty cool. We also got to see a position player pitching, which I don't think I've seen in person before.

This photo is of Red Sox pitcher Nick Pivetta serving up the first pitch of the game to Rays third baseman Yandy Diaz.

tags: baseball mlb redsox rays

photo posted by matt in Sunday, August 28, 2022

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There's a lot to criticize about Tropicana Field. It has some positives, though. Just look at this photo–The Trop clearly has the most interesting geometries in all of baseball! Besides the beautiful shapes that all baseball fields share, look at the rings of the catwalks, the radiant supports on the roof, and the way the left field foul pole just stabs through it all.

And a bonus for this game–our seats were ever-so-slightly out of plane with the third base foul line.

tags: mlb baseball tampabayrays tropicanafield

photo posted by matt in Wednesday, August 3, 2022

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Having Harry with us provided an excuse to visit the Touch Tank at Tropicana Field. We haven't visited that in several years, despite going to several games over those years. I think it's clear from this photo who was most excited about it.

tags: mlb baseball tampabayrays

photo posted by matt in Wednesday, August 3, 2022

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We went to the Rays game this afternoon. Nearly missed it, thinking first pitch was at 7 PM. Nope–noon start today! The surprise early start was nice, though, giving the boys a reason to get moving relatively early in the day.

I always want this picture when we're at Tropicana Field–the group selfie in the beautiful atrium of an otherwise less-than-beautiful (but I love it!) stadium. Phone cameras just can't capture it well, though. I need my mirrorless Sony, a tripod, shutter release, and a graduated neutral density filter! Oh well, playing with the editing of the phone versions is fun, and reminds me that there's no perfect way to develop or edit a photo. Have fun with it, and see what comes from it. I love the over exposed, super contrasty, grainy look here. And black and white can always help to recover things in a janky exposure.

tags: stpete baseball tampabayrays mlb

photo posted by matt in Wednesday, August 3, 2022

The Rays jumped out to an early lead but gradually let the Yankees back into the game, eventually losing. We did see Aaron Judge hit two home runs, though, which was pretty cool. He cleared the catwalks on one that actually came right toward our left field bleacher seats. There is no question about his talent–he's an absolute monster; a once in a generation power hitter.

Watching him crush two home runs was special, and will undoubtedly become a baseball memory that I cherish.

But, it's the Yankees in Tampa Bay, which means their fans outnumbered Rays fans in the stadium. I hate that.

So, as a Rays fan, my favorite memory of the night was watching Judge come to the plate with bases loaded in the top of the fifth inning. Yankees fans were confident he was going to crush a grand slam. He had, after all, already hit one of his two homers for the day. They could just feel the grannie in the air. And so could Renee and I, frankly. The guy is flat out fearsome in that situation, and the entire stadium–Yankees fans, Rays fans, and, I suspect, the players, too–felt that.

But the Rays pitcher had nerves of steel and struck him out swinging. Beautiful!

That at bat, with the tension and battle that comes with every pitch and every swing in those situations, is everything I love about baseball.

And, I have to admit, the redemption opportunity baseball gives every player, often later in the same game, is part of it, too, even when it works for the Yankees. Judge did, after all, hit that cat-walk-clearing second home run of the game in the top of the seventh inning, his first at bat following that strikeout in the top of the fifth. Mr. Judge redeemed himself, with emphasis.

tags: baseball mlb rays yankees

postposted by matt in Wednesday, June 22, 2022

I have a feeling it's going to be a long season for the Cleveland Guardians. There's been a few games worth watching during the first few weeks of this season, but a lot more that have been painful to watch. They're currently on a four game losing streak and, so far, tonight's game feels like it will add to that.

I don't think there's much chance of losing the claim to the longest World Series title drought this year.

I'll still watch, of course. Go Guardians!

tags: baseball mlb guardians

postposted by matt in Tuesday, April 26, 2022

MLB in talks to launch nationwide streaming service for home games without cable TV (

MLB and NHL have made it nearly impossible to be a fan of your local teams in the streaming era. Since Hulu (our streaming provider) dropped the Sinclair (formerly Fox) regional sports networks, we've essentially been shut out of watching local broadcasts of the Indians (are they officially the Guardians yet?) and Red Wings. It's miserable. And while this article brings welcome news, it doesn't sound like a solution will be available anytime soon. We might have to re-up with cable for now. Ugh.

tags: sports mlb nhl

posted by matt in Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Kiké Hernández walkoff sacrifice fly in bottom of ninth lifts Red Sox past Rays, into AL Championship Series - The Boston Globe (

This is why they play the games.

No one saw this coming. The Rays were the unbeatable force rolling into the playoffs, and the Red Sox were off the rails a bit. The teams flipped roles in this series though, and now the Rays are headed home and the Red Sox will play for the American League pennant.

Man I love baseball.

tags: baseball mlb

posted by matt in Monday, October 11, 2021

The Rays have to be the favorite to win the World Series. And if that happens, Tampa Bay will hold three (NHL, NFL, MLB) of the four (NBA) major sports championships this year. That's incredible. And the city doesn't have an NBA franchise, so it's hard to ding them for that.

tags: baseball mlb tampabay

postposted by matt in Thursday, October 7, 2021