Around Baseball: Could Rays earn new digs?
With the Rays in the World Series and Tropicana Field an embarrassment, Major League Baseball is not missing on an opportunity to stump for new digs in Tampa Bay.
“I think they need a new ballpark here. Absolutely,” MLB Chief Operating Officer Bob DuPuy told The Associated Press this week.
Tampa Bay has plans for a beautiful new stadium with a retractable roof that looks like a giant sail. But it took Rays fans all season to start showing support for their team. They’re showing similar disinterest in finding ways to fund a new ballpark.
“Whether that plan gets revived or a different plan gets revived, I’d like to see their success this year be a catalyst not only for increased attendance next year but for a renewed discussion about a new ballpark,” DuPuy said.
The Rays were 12th out of 14 American League teams in attendance this regular season.
“I don’t blame them,” Game 2 winner James Shields said. “You watch the team lose for 10 straight years. As a fan, I wouldn’t want to come to every single game, either. Now the second half, I think the crowd started showing up and starting to believe.
“I know there was a game in the middle of the week where we had 10,000 fans. We were disappointed because we were in first place, and we’re beating the Yankees, the Red Sox, the whole American League East, and we’re wondering why they’re not coming in.”
Game 2 of the World Series received the second lowest television rating (8.1) for a Series game. The Fox network looked on the bright side.
“Game 2 came through to give Fox its best Thursday night rating in seven months, and that comes off Game 1 earning us our best Wednesday night in more than five months,” Fox Sports president Ed Goren told AP. “Now, with the series tied at a game apiece, we’re looking forward to interest building as the games continue and the drama unfolds.”
Get out your wallet
The Dodgers are making a play for Manny Ramirez, although they are leery of giving the 36-year-old future Hall of Famer a long-term deal. It will be interesting to see if Ramirez gets anything close to Alex Rodriguez’s $28 million annual salary
According to ESPN.com, after the Dodgers were eliminated, Ramirez said, “I want to see who is the highest bidder. Gas is up, and so am I.”
Ramirez batted .396 with 17 homers and 53 RBIs in 53 regular season games with LA. He followed that by hitting .520 with four homers and 10 RBIs in eight postseason games.
It’s just sad
For all the jokes made about Jose Canseco, the reality is probably more depressing than humorous. The former slugger, who recently was arrested for trying to bring a fertility drug from Mexico, said he regrets naming steroid users in his book, “Juiced.” Canseco, during a show on the A&E network, called it a way to get even for being forced out of Major League Baseball.
Canseco revealed he fears for his health after years of steroid use.
“My body forgot how to make testosterone,” Canseco said, according to the New York Daily News. “... Steroids and the use of steroids destroyed my life completely. Maybe (steroid use) will change some things chemically in me. I don’t know what’s going to happen.”
He’s a mess physically. And financially. Canseco said he’s living check-to-check. According to the Philadelphia Daily News, Canseco has agreed to fight Danny Bonaduce in January in a celebrity boxing match.
“The bigger they are, the harder they fall,” Bonaduce told the newspaper about Canseco, who was knocked out by former Philadelphia Eagles return man Vai Sikahema in July at another celebrity bout.
Even as a long season draws to a close, Philadelphia Manager Charlie Manuel isn’t a fan of cutting batting practice short.
“Baseball is repetition,” he said. “There never has been a guy that played this game that was a great hitter that didn’t hit a lot. And I’ve got in arguments with guys, like Kenny Lofton comes into my mind. When he first started playing, and I’m using him as an example, I used to get mad at him because on Sundays sometimes he’d go to the manager, and he wouldn’t have to hit.
“And we came out, and it seemed like Kenny was the guy getting all the hits. I told him one day, I said, ‘Kenny, there will come a time when you’re going to have to hit a lot.’”
- Remember when Mark Mulder was one of the best lefties in the game? After two seasons destroyed by injury, the Cardinals let him go by paying his $1.5 million buyout rather than his $11 million option.
- Yankees co-chairman Hank Steinbrenner had this to say on ESPN.com about Joba Chamberlain’s arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence: “Everybody deserves a second chance -- or even a third chance. He’s 23 years old. He’s just very lucky that nothing more serious happened. We’re talking about a really good kid here, and that’s what counts.”