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Tampa Bay News and Links: Winning return from the All-Star break

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Tampa Bay Rays v Atlanta Braves Photo by Edward M. Pio Roda/Getty Images

Rays News

The Rays took two out of three from the Atlanta Braves. They return to St. Pete for a very quick homestand (three games against the Orioles). Meanwhile the Boston Red Sox somehow managed to lose two out of three from a Yankees team that looks like the weak side of a split squad Spring Training game. The good news: Rays are just .5 games out of first. The bad news: The Red Sox had a chance to bury the Yankees for good, and blew it.

Matt Wisler talks about his amazing slider.

Tuesday’s Rays broadcast, which can be viewed on YouTube, will make history.

Per Marc Topkin, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred is focused on the Oakland stadium situation right now, but hopes that will be resolve soon and will then prioritize addressing the Rays stadium(s). ($) The Oakland City Council is poised to vote on a proposal this week; if they vote no, the Athletics will be looking for a new host city ($)

Also from Topkin, a fun round-up of Rays All-Star experiences ($) In a rather Joe Maddon-like move, Cash brought in a comedian to entertain the American League team.

If spending an hour or so with Brett Phillips and Tyler Glasnow sounds like fun, you can check out this podcast (or find the video on YouTube):

Around the League

Shohei Ohtani didn’t win the Home Run Derby, but a lot of Angels employees will be winners thanks to him.

The Toronto Blue Jays have permission to go home at the end of July. ($)

Theo Epstein thinks pitchers are too dominant; baseball needs to neutralize that 99mph fastball with other rules changes. ($)

More from the All-Star Game: this piece focuses on father-son connections, as well as MLB’s donation to the Players Alliance.

There is more attention paid recently to the low wages and difficult working conditions faced by minor league players. The restructuring of the minor leagues last year was, according to MLB, in part intended to provide more resources for the remaining teams and players. But are minor league players seeing an improvement ?($)

The Athletic’s Joe Posnanski has a LOT of thoughts about the All-Star game ($) and its presentation. It’s a good read! I do wonder whether Posnanski would have been less critical of the AL team using defensive shifts if he’d seen this comment from Nelson Cruz:

Two MLB games were stopped on Saturday night due to off-field issues. A Yankee fan threw a baseball out of the stands and hit Red Sox outfielder Alex Verdugo at Yankee Stadium. Alex Cora pulled his team off the field as security identified and ejected the fan.

A more serious incident occurred at a game between the Washington Nationals and the San Diego Padres. A shooting took place directly outside the stadium. Unsure of the source of the gunfire, the umpires cleared the field as fans in the section closest to the incident took cover or fled. This Washington Post coverage ($) describes in some detail how some fans ended up sheltering in the Padres dugout or outside the Nationals clubhouse. Former Rays Wil Myers and Dave Martinez are among the players/coaches noted for helping to shelter fans. Reports are that those involved in the shooting do not have life-threatening injuries. Fortunately it does not appear that any of those inside the stadium were injured in the panic.