Thursday, July 19, 2018


Marc Topkin, Times staff writer

Marc Topkin, Times staff writer

Marc Topkin has covered baseball for the Times since 1987 — from the lengthy effort to secure a team, to the awarding of the Tampa Bay franchise in 1995, and through each of the Rays seasons starting in 1998. He has traveled throughout the United States with the team, as well as to Canada, Venezuela, Mexico and Japan, and has covered All-Star Games and the World Series, as well as Super Bowls and the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece.

Catcher Wilson Ramos Wilson Ramos leads the Rays with 53 RBIs and all regulars with an .832 OPS and a .372 average with runners in scoring position. [MONICA HERNDON  |  Times]

Rays place Wilson Ramos on DL for potential extended absence, seek replacement

ST. PETERSBURG – The Rays made the inevitable move Wednesday of placing catcher Wilson Ramos on the disabled list while still looking for a replacement.Ramos, 30, strained his left hamstring Saturday in Minnesota, which forced him...
Published: 07/18/18
Seattle Mariners shortstop Jean Segura (2) celebrates his three-run homer in the eighth inning during the Major League Baseball All-star Game, Tuesday, July 17, 2018 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

An all-or-nothing All-Star Game

WASHINGTON — Tuesday's All-Star Game was exciting, dramatic, historic — and perfectly representative of the 2018 season, what with the unprecedented power show, display of blazing arms creating a fan club (25 strikeouts), and the...
Published: 07/18/18
The Rays have reinstated their promotion with Papa John's that was suspended after the founder of the pizza company resigned over his use of a racial slur. [LUKE SHARRETT  |  Bloomberg]

Rays reinstate discount pizza promotion with Papa John’s after corporate action

The Rays reinstated the discount pizza promotion with Papa John's based on actions taken by corporate officials after the ouster of founder John Schnatter following reports he used a racial slur.The Rays had suspended the promotion,...
Published: 07/18/18
The dome of Tropicana Field is seen as Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Hunter Wood (61), right, walks with Tampa Bay Rays pitching coach Kyle Snyder (23) prior to the Tampa Bay Rays game against the Detroit Tigers Tuesday, July 10, 2018 in St. Petersburg. (CHRIS URSO | Times)

MLB player poll: Rays (and Marlins) fans are ‘the worst’

Rays fans and Tropicana Field are routinely ripped by media and out-of-towners, and the usual defense is the critics don't really know what they're talking about.Well, now the major-league players have spoken.Or at least some of...
Published: 07/18/18
Rays left Blake Snell worked 1 2/3 innings in his first All-Star Game. [AP]

All-Star morning after: On Blake Snell’s opening act

Willson Contreras had seen Rays lefty Blake Snell before.Five times over two 2017 games, and at least a couple of times in 2015 when they were both playing at Double-A.So the Cubs catcher had a good idea what to expect when Snell...
Published: 07/18/18
Pitching wasn't Josh Hader's only issue Tuesday. [AP}

The Twitter controversy that marred All-Star Game

What had been a three-day feel-good All-Star celebration of baseball ended in some controversy on Tuesday night with Brewers reliever Josh Hader apologizing for a series of tweets from 2011-12 that contained racist, sexist and homophobic...
Published: 07/18/18
An artist's rendering of the Tampa Bay Rays proposed new ballpark in Ybor City. [Courtesy of Tampa Bay Rays]

MLB commissioner Manfred confident Rays owner is ‘going to get’ stadium deal done

WASHINGTON – Acknowledging both the challenges and urgency to work out a public-private financing plan, Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred on Tuesday expressed extreme confidence in Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg to...
Published: 07/17/18
Updated: 07/18/18
Blake Snell, representing the Rays at the All-Star Game along with injured Wilson Ramos, delivers during the fourth inning on Tuesday night. [Associated Press]

Blake Snell settles down after giving up homer in All-Star Game

WASHINGTON — Blake Snell's first All-Star experience started with, well, a bang.The first pitch the Rays left-hander threw, a 98 mph fastball, was knocked over the leftfield wall by Cubs catcher Willson Contreras.Snell...
Published: 07/17/18
Updated: 07/18/18
Wilson Ramos is sidelined by a hamstring injury, but is happy to be at the All-Star Game. [MARC TOPKIN   |   Times]

All-Star Game journal: Injured Wilson Ramos enjoys experience

WASHINGTON — A strained hamstring kept Rays C Wilson Ramos from playing in Tuesday's All-Star Game, but not enjoying the experience of being there.Ramos, who played seven seasons with the Nationals, seemed to be cheered at every...
Published: 07/17/18
Rays LHP Blake Snell is ready for his All-Star opportunity. [MARC TOPKIN \ Times]

Rays Blake Snell ready for All-Star turn

Rays LHP Blake Snell is ready for his first All-Star opportunity tonight, expected to pitch the third and possibly the fourth inning."I'm excited," he said on the field before the AL batting practice. "It's going to be fun.
Published: 07/17/18