The Rays two-city plan is a scam, and they know it

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Those Tampa Bay Rays truly are innovators. Most franchises? Well, most franchises would be satisfied screwing over taxpayers in just one major city in order to finance a new ballpark, but the Rays, they’re aiming for two major cities.

The latest stadium “plan” out of the Rays’ ownership group boils down to this: asking Tampa (or St. Petersburg) to finance a smaller, $600 million stadium without a dome, for baseball use in the earlier part of the season. The rest of the season would be played in Montreal, which, by the way, would also have to build a new stadium for the Rays. The idea here is apparently that the Rays could play baseball in Tampa Bay when it’s relatively cooler, earlier in the year, and then the mixed-use stadium would be free for other events when it’s too hot for baseball and also unprotected from central Florida’s torrential downpours.

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If the Padres keep Chris Paddack down, is it service time manipulation?

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Here’s a fun thought exercise for your Monday morning.

The Padres sent rookie starter Chris Paddack down to the minors last week, which was always going to happen regardless of how good he was in the majors. The reason is innings limits: Paddack’s career-high is 90 frames, achieved last summer, and that was after not pitching in 2017 due to undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Now, it’s expected that the Padres will bring Paddack back up shortly, and that this is just a way to get him off of the big-league roster for a spell in order to bring in an arm they can use in his absence. Paddack won’t pitch in the minors, or, if he does, not like he has in the majors, where he’s already logged just under 66 innings of work over 12 starts. As long as Paddack returns to the bigs within 10 days of his demotion, there will be no interruption of his service time, which would avoid any service time manipulation problems. However, it’s worth asking if it would actually be service time manipulation if the Padres kept Paddack in the minors long enough to hit pause on his service time clock.

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The media isn’t helping

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For some reason, The Ringer published a podcast featuring special guest Ben Shapiro on Thursday. Yes, that Ben Shapiro, the only Ben Shapiro, the one adored by the right wing and mass murderers, as Deadspin reminds. Shapiro was a guest on Larry Wilmore’s podcast, because Larry Wilmore was at one time a guest on Shapiro’s podcast, and I guess we learned nothing from like, Jon Stewart going on Tucker Carlson’s show and how little damage trying to clown on him and his bow tie while having a discussion with him did to his stances and career.

How’d it go? Well, let’s take this bit from Deadspin’s piece, and you’ll understand in a hurry (you should also read that piece in full for the full context, if you’re unaware of who this goblin is):

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Sports betting is a labor issue, especially in MiLB

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MLB teams are more likely to Mets than use exciting loopholes in the draft

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Mailbag: MLB and the climate, bargaining wedge issues

Let’s mailbag!

It seems like the climate crisis is breaking through into popular culture — the Lil Dicky Song, the HBO documentary narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio — any indication an MLB player might weigh in? — Keith

I can’t tell you which MLB player would speak up for the climate, but now would be a pretty good time, considering what the Padres did (and will continue to do) out in San Diego. This past Sunday, bees showed up at Petco Park. The Padres’ response was to murder all of them, which [checks notes] is not standard procedure at sporting events.

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Scott Boras hates the MLB Draft, too

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Draft pick compensation has got to go, again

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Can MLB’s supremacy be challenged?

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Carter Stewart chose Japan rather than MLB, and maybe that means something

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You might remember the name Carter Stewart from around this time last year, when the then-18-year-old was drafted out of high school by the Braves. Stewart was Atlanta’s first-round pick, eighth-overall, but refused to sign with them after they reduced their offered signing bonus from around the $4.98 million slot value of that pick to around $2 million, citing concern with his wrist from his physical as the reason.

This might not have been just some innocent misunderstanding or concern, either: it felt, to some, like Atlanta was going extra hard on something that very well could be nothing from a physical, in order to squeeze money out of Stewart that could be applied to another prospect in the draft or simply not spent. The Major League Baseball Players Association went so far as to file a grievance on Stewart’s behalf, and he’s not even a member of the players’ union. The Braves wouldn’t be the first team to pull this kind of stunt, nor will they be the last.

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