Heading to Tampa for @raysbaseball development camp. Excited to meet everyone in person and get to work!— Wil Myers (@wilmyers) January 13, 2013
I'm not sure it's settled in for me that Tampa Bay acquired Wil Myers a month ago. I can't wait to see him with a blue and gold devil ray on that sleeve. Maybe it will sink in then...
In total, 31 minor league players will be attending the camp, going through workouts, receiving media training, and even making a community appearance. The players will also have an opportunity to visit MacDill Air Force Base. Unfortunately, the camp is not open to the public.
In addition, Tampa Bay Times's Marc Topkin expects the Rays to provide extensive education on MLB's drug policies this off-season, after the organization had six athletes suspended for various reasons last year. Topkin went so far as to interview Rays director of minor league operations Mitch Lukevics on the subject:
[Lukevics] doesn't believe there's a widespread organizational problem, but admitted the number of suspensions were concerning.
"It stunk, very disappointing," Lukevics said. "I'd be lying to say anything different. As much education as we do, and when we tell them all 100 times, we tell them 101 times. We spend as much time on the education of "Do's and Don'ts" and derailers as much as we do hitting or pitching or throwing. It was very disappointing, there's no getting around it."
Instruction on Do's and Don'ts and drug policies will be nothing new, but you'd better believe management will be driving the point home this year. (Bad baseball joke attempt, move on.)
In other news, the official trailer for the Jackie Robinson biopic, 42, is now online.
42 Official Trailer (via movieclipsTRAILERS)
The more footage that is released for this film, the more excited that I get.
Harrison Ford as Branch Rickey and newcomer Chadwick Boseman as the legendary Robinson both seem like great castings. Respected screenwriter Brian Helgeland (Mystic River, Man on Fire) is employing his seldom used directoral ability (A Knight's Tale) to write and direct the film, which is sure to have it's cult following, if not mainstream success.
Another place to find the legacy of Mr. Robinson would be at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, which held its final annual Legacy Awards dinner in Kansas City. The event honored GM's Billy Beane and John Mozeliak, among many other athletes and managers. This was the final year of the award ceremony - which does not consistently hand out awards in each Legacy category - because the NLBM plans to revamp the awards process, and will announce their changes before the end of the off-season.
Former Rays award recipients include Carlos Peña, Carl Crawford (2x), and Rafael Soriano. A noticeable snub this year could be Fernando Rodney, who did not receive the Hilton Smith Legacy Award for reliever of the year. That honor went to Jim Johnson, who had 51 saves for the Orioles.
- MLB.com's Bill Chastain covered the recent minor league invitees for the Rays: signees Craig Albernaz (C), Jason Bourgeois (OF), and J.D. Martin (RHP), as well as internal invitees Marquis Fleming (RHP), Kirby Yates (RHP), Adam Liberatore (LHP), and Mark Thomas (C).
- Ok, one more time: Should the Hall voters just ignore drugs completely? Rob Neyer gives an excellent, all-encompassing look at whether the Hall voters should be considering drugs at all. This topic might be a dead horse, but Neyer's take is worth your time. He divides the perspectives of the BWAA voters into six categories for easier digestion, beginning with Jon Heyman's opinion that a BWAA voter could vote for Barry Bonds because he didn't "need" steroids to reach Hall of Fame numbers.
- Dave Cameron took an in depth look at the Mariners and found Seattle could really use Chris Gimenez back? And Justin Smoak seems expendable? Hmm.
- Sky Kalkman, the former manager of Beyond the Box Score, explores teaching important sabermetric concepts to the mainstream populous.