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Rocco Baldelli to Retire, Join Rays Front Office

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This news from Marc Topkin's column this morning:

Baldelli, 29, is expected to officially announce his retirement as a player today, as well as his new assignment as a special adviser in the Rays' front office, working in scouting and player development.

"I don't anticipate ever playing baseball again. I'm retired. The paperwork will be filed," Baldelli said Tuesday night. "And you know what. The only time I feel like it's good to retire is when you're happy to retire. And I'm happy."

I know that many of us have emotional attachments with Rocco, considering he was one of the first patches of hope for our franchise back in the Devil Rays days. He's the reason I became a fans of the Rays: the excitement and buzz he generated drew me toward the Devil Rays, and I never looked back.

I don't think I can write about Rocco without waxing romantic, so check out Topkin's column. It has a number of quotes from Rocco, and says everything that needs to be said. It's sad that Rocco is hanging up his glove, but from the sounds of it, he's at peace with the decision and ready to move on. And at least he'll still be with the Rays.

"I don't regret anything. You know what's sad is that I love to play, and I really didn't get a chance to do it as much as I wanted to," Baldelli said.

"But I don't live angrily; I live kind of happy. Why would I look at the negative aspects of everything that I've been through and live the rest of my life talking about those things that aren't the important things to me? The important things to me were all the wonderful things I got to do."