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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Foster jeers Maddon's excuse for loss



ST. PETERSBURG -- An avowed Tampa Bay Rays fan, Mayor Bill Foster detested Thursday night's loss against the Minnesota Twins like any other fan.

But he said he was "irritated" that Manager Joe Maddon blamed the loss on Tropicana Field. The Rays had overcome a six-run deficit to tie in the 8th, only to lose when the Twins scored two runs in the 9th after a routine popup hit the highest rung of the catwalk and dropped near the pitcher's mound.

Maddon said the catwalk's interference showed why there was a "crying need" for a new ballpark.

"You don't blame a game on a catwalk," Foster said Friday. "Blame it on not scoring a run for eight innings."

Foster has rejected the Rays request for a new stadium before its contract binding the club to the Trop expires at the end of the 2027 season. Rays owner Stuart Sternberg wants to consider a new site, even one in Tampa. Foster offered to let the Rays explore areas in Pinellas County, including some outside city limits, but the club says it needs to consider Hillsborough County if it's to explore anything.

Maddon offered his thoughts after the loss.

"If you want a really good reason why there is a new ballpark necessary in this area, there it is," Maddon said.

But Foster said other ballparks have quirks that can cost ball games. Wrigley Field in Chicago, for instance, can change the outcome of a game when balls get lost in the ivy that covers the outfield walls, he said.

"When you play baseball, expect the unexpected," Foster said. "Things happen. But to say the catwalk was the reason we lost? C'mon. It's a quirk."

-- Michael Van Sickler, Times staff writer

[Last modified: Thursday, September 16, 2010 3:41pm]


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