* Rays vice president Chaim Bloom has been with the team for 15 years and is a key reason why the Rays made the 2019 post-season with MLB’s lowest payroll. Now he’s been hired by the Red Sox, a franchise with a payroll that is nearly four times that of the Rays. The upshot is this: The Rays have succeeded because with far less money than the competition, they have had to be smarter. But then, alas, those with far more money can ultimately buy the smartest people. It’s a function of a system that has no salary cap, thus forcing teams to, in effect, play by different rules. If the Rays, for example, sign a free agent who disappoints, it’s brutally bottom-line costly. If the Red Sox, Yankees or Dodgers, for example, sign an expensive free-agent bust, it’s, well, the cost of doing business.
* “I will be buying an AR-15 tomorrow, because if you impeach MY PRESIDENT this way, YOU WILL HAVE ANOTHER CIVIL WAR!!!” This is not some despicable tweet from some stereotypically despicable Trumpster. No, this was from MLB umpire Rob Drake, whose “apology” was a blatant effort to save his job. It’s also another scary reminder of all that the “new normal” entails.
* “You can’t help but notice that there’s a boom going on in Tampa. Who would have thought it would have started with the Lightning? … It seems like every time you come, there’s something new.” That was the recent takeaway of visiting NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.