MLB: Spring Training-Tampa Bay Rays at Pittsburgh Pirates5 days until Rays pitchers and catchers report.

18 days until the first spring training game.

49 days until opening day.

A few odds and ends to kick off the week

  • Stephen Nohlgren and Richard Danielson, along with the Tampa mayor, explain why Lightning owner Jeff Vinik might not want a baseball stadium on his property in Channelside. Rather, Buckhorn speculates that land just north of that area might be better suited. []
  • Marc Topkin has the Rays’ top 30 prospects list from Baseball America. []
  • John Tomase says the Rays are still the biggest threats to the Red Sox in the East. [Boston Herald]
  • David Shoenfield ranks the Rays as the fourth best team in baseball, behind only the Cardinals, Tigers, and Nationals. []
  • Jonny Gomes now has a gigantic Red Sox tattoo on his back. Anybody still want him back with the Rays now? [NextImpulseSports]
  • Roger Mooney takes a closer look at who will DH this season for the Rays (hint: everybody). []

Joe Maddon turned 60 this weekend and then did a promo video for the Rays with a spoof of Oklahoma State football coach Mike Gundy’s famous “I’M A MAN, I’M 40!” rant.




  1. Geoff Peterson says:

    If the Rays are going to go to the trouble of moving to Tampa, they need to make sure they get Vinik’s piece of land closest to the waterfront. Why have a stadium in Florida if it’s not going to be iconic like the one in San Fran with water views and maybe even HRs dropping in the bay. And Vinik shouldn’t look at the Rays as competition but partners. If he’s supplying the land, he should get rent or a % of profits. Also the Rays and Bolts could partner on things like promotions or even a combined season ticket. 20 Rays games and 20 Bolts games packaged together for a special price or some such deal.

    • Beezy says:

      I like the idea of a “flex pack” that includes both hockey & baseball, but as far as land, it doesn’t have to be on the water, Tampa would make more on real estate & hangout places then trying squeeze a big park on the water along w/ the tax breaks for them. Besides, it’s recommended to have baseball stadiums face NE due to the sun, plus that would off great views of downtown & projected Channelside high-rises…

  2. Dean says:

    If the Rays stay in the Bay area, the new ballpark can be no other place than Channelside. If done properly, we’re talking one of the showcase parks in all of baseball.

  3. Beezy says:

    Don’t yinz think it’s funny of all the speculation over the Rays moving, I do. It’s hard to think that “one of the smartest front offices in all of sports” have been sitting back, and not figuring anything about a billion dollar or so move simply because St. Pete says so. Like I been saying for years (especially on your buddy’s “Negative Nancy” site Shadow of a Stadium) that the Rays & Tampa has it all figured out with blueprints, location (ConAgra Foods spot), funding, etc. behind the scenes. And maybe St. Pete knows to, maybe they just haven’t went public about it either for their own benefit. The Rays seem to be using the move for good PR, while making more $ staying at the Trop w/ it’s new “360″ invested construction, while saving up to move, which gives Channelside some time to fill in w/ all it’s current & projected condos and gives places like Wesley Chapel & Riverview time to grow along w/ i275 widening, while the buyout from St.Pete gets cheaper by the year, and lets not forget about TV money down the road. All & all, if you think outside the media box, it’s not hard to figure, besides financial elitist like Stu & Jeff, and progressive politicians like in Tampa do what they want regardless of anything else…

  4. Gus says:

    The absolute last thing Vinik wants is the Rays anywhere in Hillsborough County. How can you guys not see it?

    • Mr. Smith 1980 says:

      Would you be willing to share with us what we’re missing? I don’t see it as obvious, and am curious what pieces I’m not putting together.
      How do you support that statement?

    • Geoff Peterson says:

      Why wouldn’t Vinik want them? He owns all the good land in Channelside. He can profit greatly by selling or leasing land to the Rays or simply by just developing that land to make money off the Rays and their fans. Winning is great but making money is their driving force.

    • Beezy says:

      ? The NHL season only runs 2 weeks into the start of MLB’s season, which if you know sports, you would know big sports accommodate each others schedules for obvious reasons. Besides, “it doesn’t take a rocket scientist” to figure Vinik would probably sell his stake in the Red Sox for an empire in Channelside with a financial interest with the Rays…
      Again, yinz can beat around the bush with the media, but it’s hard for me to think there isn’t a lot more going on behind the scenes then just what’s reported…

      • Gus says:

        Downtown Tampa businesses have “X” dollars to spend on entertainment. If the Rays come in with 81 dates for a far more popular sport, Vinik and the Bolts are huge losers and they know that. Right now, they have a mini-monopoly on the after-work crowd for downtown Tampa. If Tampa were a bigger market, they could be okay. But has been pointed out time and time again, the Tampa Bay area is effectively 4 sub markets (Downtown Tampa, Westshore, Gateway and Downtown St. Petersburg). Only the Bucs draw from all 4, partly because of the Sunday aspect of their games. Like Phoneix, where the NHL was chased out to the burbs by MLB and NBA, the Bolts would be crushed by the Rays on Channelside. That is exactly why Vinik is buying land and constructing hotels to keep the Rays out.

        • Geoff Peterson says:

          LOL at Gus, you’re delusional.

          • Gus says:

            Delusional might be the idiot suggesting in comment #1 that a stadium go on a parcel owned by a competing sports owner after he announced he is building a hotel on said site.

          • Geoff Peterson says:

            Show me the plans. He’s covering his bets by buying all possible land in the area the Rays want to be. That way he can sell it to them at a premium.

  5. Beezy says:

    Wow, I “blew the whistle” on them, and NO one cared…

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