Day two of "Scuffle-gate" (creative name, I know) in the morning papers today, with both the Times and Tribune featuring the matter prominently in their "Notebook" columns. I'd sort of like to avoid the prolonged discussion of this, as I find the matter boring and generally overblown. Still, it is worth noting that there apparently is nothing more to the matter. RHP Matt Garza declined to comment Monday, while C Dioner Navarro insisted that everyone was cool and that Matt was his "boy".
Garza will face no disciplinary action for Sunday's dugout scuffle, and Manager Joe Maddon said that he would be caught by Navarro in his next start on Saturday against the Florida Marlins. Maddon insisted that there was nothing wrong with team chemistry, that the incident would be a "growth moment" for Garza, and that this would ultimately end up being a "positive" going forward. Pitching Coach Jim Hickey, meanwhile, indicated that the focus going forward would be on getting Garza to focus his raging, abstract emotion towards the task at hand during games. Though Maddon has spoken with both Garza and Navarro, the two have not spoken to one another regarding the matter yet, though Navarro estimated that they would in the next several days.
I made my opinion clear on this matter yesterday, and it remains unchanged. I am skeptical as to how this could have an appreciably "negative" impact on that team going forward. Garza's emotional issues have been well-known since the day he was acquired in the Delmon Young trade. The scuffle was just the most visible sign yet of a greater problem, and in fact it may end up being a positive if it finally gets everyone involved focusing on handling one another, and themselves, better. The Rays were 100% correct not to try this case in the media, and hopefully handling the matter in-house will produce a solution acceptable to everyone.
For another opinion on the whole thing, Gary Shelton of the St. Petersburg Times wrote a column for today's paper that essentially rebukes Garza for his lack of maturity, while also saying at the same time that this could be turning point for the righty going forward.
A couple of things related to the Rays' proposal to build a $450 million stadium on the site of Al Lang Field:
- First, this piece from Sunday's St. Petersburg Times is an excellent summation of the history of waterfront referendums in the City of St. Petersburg and the obstacles the Rays face in their present proposal. A recent poll suggested that the waterfront location was just the fifth-biggest concern of city voters. Previous changes to the waterfront that passed include the expansion of the Vinoy resort as well as the original construction of Al Lang Field. Notable failures include a hotel and convention center, a large marketplace, and a large park on the site of Albert Whitted Airport.
- Meanwhile, Tampa Tribune columnist Joe Henderson had his doubts about whether taking in a game at the prospective ballpark would be comfortable. So he and his 17 year old son decided to take a trip over to the existing Al Lang Stadium during a road game last week and find out for themselves. The verdict? Surprisingly comfortable thanks to the breeze coming off of the bay. Aside from a few ridiculous things, Henderson's column is well worth the read, and you might want to watch the video as well.
RHP Troy Percival will throw one inning in a simulated game at Angel Stadium today in his recovery from a left hamstring strain. He will face, among others, suspended OF Jonny Gomes. Percival insists that his down time will not be a problem when he returns, and that it is just a matter of him getting his legs under him so that he can pitch. The Rays' closer is expected to be activated from the DL in time for Friday's homestand-opening game against the Florida Marlins.
Meanwhile, OF Rocco Baldelli went 1 for 4 with a sacrifice fly yesterday in an Extended Spring Training game playing as the Designated Hitter. Baldelli will play one last game in Extended Spring Training on Wednesday, and from there he is expected to go on a rehab assignment with one of the Rays' minor league affiliates.