Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Rays could be great benefactors if baseball adds second wild-card team

ARLINGTON, Texas — It hasn't necessarily been a good World Series from the Tampa Bay perspective, what with the failed Rays (Josh Hamilton, Pat Burrell), former Rays (Aubrey Huff, Jorge Cantu) and could've been Rays (Buster Posey) running around on the field.

But the best news may have come from the jeans-wearing 48-year-old man standing over by the dugout.

A "substantial number" of players favor the addition of a second wild-card team to the playoff field, union chief Michael Weiner said. And "a consideration that a lot of players have" is to help a team such as the Rays, who are constantly battling the financial behemoths of the AL East.

"Certainly some of them are motivated by looking at a situation like the American League East, where you can have an excellent team that does not make the playoffs," Weiner said.

The union view is important but only part of the equation as the owners, and thus commissioner Bud Selig, who said last week he was open to it, would have to agree. Expansion of the postseason field is subject to collective bargaining, which means it will be negotiated as part of a new agreement that would go into effect for 2012.

This could be a huge development for the Rays, and one principal owner Stuart Sternberg has been championing for a while.

While the AL East situation is a major push, Weiner said not all the players agree with increasing the field from the present eight, as some take a bigger picture and longer-term view of what's best for the game. "Even on the Rays there's not a unanimous view that we should do this because it would help the 2012 Rays," he said.

The players will seek to form a consensus at a December board meeting in Orlando then come up with a preferred format (a one-game play-in, two-of-three, etc.) and structure.

ON THE OTHER HAND: Expect the union to be monitoring, and even scrutinizing, how the Rays proceed with plans to significantly reduce their payroll in relation to the use of revenue-sharing funds.

"The Basic Agreement gives teams a lot of flexibility in terms of how to operate," Weiner said. "It will be disappointing though if the Rays that have been a competitive squad for a number of years now no longer are. We're just going to have to wait and see how it actually plays out."

RAYS RUMBLINGS: It is unlikely the Rays will sign any of their pending free agents (such as relievers Grant Balfour, Joaquin Benoit, Randy Choate) before they hit the open market five days after the end of the Series. … They're likely to wait until the three-day deadline to decide (decline?) options on RHP Dan Wheeler ($4 million, or $1 million buyout) and INF Willy Aybar ($2.2 million, $275,000 buyout). … Communications director Chris Costello resigned, after 12 years with the team, to pursue other opportunities. … Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports the Tigers will be "deeply interested" in free-agent-to-be LF Carl Crawford, while Peter Gammons continues to say the Red Sox will "go really hard" after Crawford, along with the Angels and maybe the Yankees. … The Rays will be the visitors for the Orioles' March 1 spring opener at renovated Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota. … RHP Andy Sonnanstine is part of the inaugural induction class for the New England Collegiate Baseball League Hall of Fame.

Tampa Bay Rays could be great benefactors if baseball adds second wild-card team 10/30/10 [Last modified: Saturday, October 30, 2010 8:08pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. This Tampa Bay Lightning wing rides the newest wave of fan interaction

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — There are photos of Lightning fan Shaun Egger as a toddler at center ice at the then-Thunderome, aka Tropicana Field. He's played in the Lightning's high school hockey league for Palm Harbor University. But his closest personal encounter with players had been waving through a crowd after a training camp …

    Tampa Bay Lightning player J.T. Brown wears his anti UV glasses as he talks over the headset with a hockey fan while they play against each other on line in an XBOX NHL video game in Brown's game room at his home in south Tampa. The fan chose to be the Washington Capitals and Brown, of course, was the Tampa Bay Lightning. Brown interacts with fans through video game systems as he streams the games live on Twitch with plans for the proceeds to go to charity.
  2. ‘Biggest fight' behind her, Petra Kvitova returns ahead of schedule


    PARIS — Five months after a home invader's knife sliced into her left hand, Petra Kvitova will return to competitive tennis at the French Open, a last-minute decision to make her comeback earlier than expected.

    Petra Kvitova adjusts her hair during a news conference at Roland Garros Stadium, where she will make her tennis return at the French Open. Kvitova's left hand was badly injured by a knife-wielding intruder in December; she has recovered ahead of schedule. [Associated Press]
  3. Video: Rays Souza on that oh-so-bad dive, and reaction from Twins fans


    What was Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. thinking when he made that oh-so-bad dive for a ball in the seventh inning Friday? Well, we'll let him tell you ...

  4. What was Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. thinking on that comically bad dive?


    What could Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. been thinking in the seventh inning Friday when he dove for a ball and came up yards short?

    Actually, he insisted after all the laughing, teasing and standing ovation from the Twins fans was done, it was a matter of self-preservation.

  5. Rays at Twins, 2:10 p.m. Saturday, Minneapolis

    The Heater

    Today: at Twins

    2:10, Target Field, Minneapolis

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun, 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)