Sports Shorts

  • In a perfectly logical world, a new Rays stadium would go in Tampa, the business hub of an asymmetrical, mass-transit-challenged, imperfect market. It’s always been noteworthy that downtown redevelopment catalyst Jeff Vinik has never gotten behind a Tampa option. Maybe it was more complicating than complementary.

Regardless, it’s still the Tampa Bay Rays, not the Gas Plant Redevelopment Rays.

  • The Rays, with one of the best records in MLB, saw its attendance increase nearly 28 percent this season. That’s the good news. The Rays finished with an average attendance of 17,800—or 27th among the 30 MLB franchises.
  • Florida ties: Ben Shelton made it to the semifinals of the U.S. Open. Last year he won the NCAA Men’s Singles Championship at the University of Florida. Delray Beach’s Coco Gauff, 19, won this year Women’s U.S. Open.
  • Bradenton ranks second in the country (to Detroit) in the number of high school players now on NFL rosters. Yes, IMG (International Management Group) Academy, a “private athletic school,” has everything to do with it.
  • It’s now a familiar cliché: Good teams win, great teams cover (the spread). It comes with, alas, a sports-betting-frenzy era.
  • Deion Sanders has made a big “Prime Time” splash with his University of Colorado debut. The Fort Myers native was a great two-sport athlete and now seems to be a great transfer recruiter. Enough to overlook the embarrassing “Deion Sanders Rule.”

That goes back to his FSU days. He played in FSU’s 1989 Sugar Bowl win over Auburn, even though he had quit going to classes or taken any final exams the previous semester. Now all college players have to have successfully completed the previous semester in order to be eligible for a bowl game. Chances are, none of his UC players have ever heard of the “Deion Sanders Rule,” but some administrators have.

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