Spring training games have begun! The Rays started their spring season with a walk-off win courtesy of a Tristan Gray 2-run homer in the seventh (remember, mostly games will run just 7 innings). Austin Meadows and Mike Brosseau also homered, as six pitchers split the workload.
You can eventually catch some Rays on television, here’s the Fox schedule. In addition, the Rays’ Tuesday game against the Red Sox will be on ESPN. MLB has announced their television schedule for spring and they have exactly zero games featuring the AL pennant winners.
Playoff baseball/hockey in a bubble — Rays President Brian Auld and Lightning center Alex Killorn reflected on their pandemic playoff seasons at this event at USF-St. Pete.
A healthy, productive Yandy Diaz is high on my wish list for 2021. Let’s hope his agility work in the off season will help keep him on the field.
Most of our readers have a pretty high Rays IQ, but if there is anyone in your life who wants to hop on the Rays bandwagon and needs a primer. WTSP has you covered.
The Rays are not the only team looking for a new place of business. Oakland is looking to demolish the Coliseum and replace it with a new stadium. Do you like renderings? Well they have renderings:
City of Oakland released a Draft Environmental Impact Report for A’s waterfront ballpark, a once-in-a-generation project that can contribute to health & vitality of Oakland w/ improved infrastructure, transportation solutions, improved air quality, & supplying additional housing. pic.twitter.com/HURMrOBc1j— Oakland A's (@Athletics) February 26, 2021
Were you hoping to see Spring Training baseball? Chances are you won’t be able to get a ticket. Sales are limited and at least at Port Charlotte, they sold out quickly. ($)
Old friend alert: maybe Mikie Mahtook will have that 7 WAR season yet!
Mikie Mahtook has been signed by White Sox, added to minor league minicamp.— Daryl Van Schouwen (@CST_soxvan) February 26, 2021
It’s possible someone has posted this here earlier, but in case you missed it, here’s the Effectively Wild podcast Rays preview.
Around the League
As we head into baseball 2021, some things are just as they always have been, but some things, mindful of the pandemic, are not. Emma Bacellieri walks you through this.
Speaking of things that may be different: how will pitchers adjust to a full season after 2020? To be clear, keeping your pitchers healthy is always a struggle for teams (and a bit of a crapshoot), but this year the unknowns are even greater. Pete Gammons looks at analytics and training methods that might help ($).
And speaking of still other things that are different: how a coach with a farming background came up with a way to sanitize spring training stadiums ($).
This is from the Twins beat writer, but it should come as no surprise to Rays fans that a team managed by Rocco Baldelli would be moving away from a traditional bullpen closer ($).
Early testing suggests that COVID-19 will not have the impact on teams to start the season that it had last summer. Very few players are coming in and testing positive:
MLB/union with what seems to be encouraging testing data:— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) February 26, 2021
Weekly Intake Testing: 900 tests, 3 new positive tests (all players); a 0.3% positive rate.
Total Intake Testing To Date: 5,236 tests, 15 total positive intake tests (12 players, 3 staff members); a 0.3% positive rate.
Albert Pujols is a wise man:
Albert Pujols, on social media: “You never say something when you’re angry, and you never post when you’re sad.”— Fabian Ardaya (@FabianArdaya) February 27, 2021