Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred before the New York Yankees take on the Minnesota Twins in the American League Wild Card game at Yankee Stadium in New York on October 3, 2017.

Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred before the New York Yankees take on the Minnesota Twins in the American League Wild Card game at Yankee Stadium in New York on October 3, 2017. (Howard Simmons/New York Daily News/TNS)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Rays-to-Montreal chatter continues. Just this week, before the All-Star Game, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said the Rays' plan to play parts of future seasons in Canada is an "attempt to preserve baseball in Tampa Bay."

That reminds me:

Why do we trust this guy?

Why do we trust baseball?

Although Manfred's nose does not grow as he talks about baseball in Tampa Bay, it's hard to believe this game is really behind this area.

We are in the lying portion of the program.

As if to prove it, Manfred, also while he was in Cleveland for the All-Star Game, shot down claims, fueled by Astros fireball pitcher Justin Verlander, that baseball's record spike in home runs this year is because the baseballs are juiced.

Then players went out and hit 1.3 million dingers in the Home Run Derby, led by Mets slugger, Derby winner and former Tampa Plant High star Pete Alonso. It was if these cats were hitting golf balls.

Why do we trust Rob Manfred?

Why do we trust this game?

My arms are folded. I hope yours are too.

Why should we believe Manfred or the game he runs really wants baseball to stay in Tampa Bay? I don't think baseball cares about us. Maybe we deserve that, maybe we don't.

I bet if baseball had a choice, there wouldn't be any teams in this state. The only reason Miami gets to hang on is they have a stadium, albeit it a spaceship built in the wrong place, and a high-profile point man in Derek Jeter.

So, Tampa Bay loses.

Trust no one, folks, no matter what they say.

People will lie to us, again and again, before this thing is done, and if it ends in an open-air ballpark here, I'll eat my hat.

By the way, why did baseball have to go and ruin my favorite thing about the All-Star Game, players wearing their team uniforms, by giving them special hats with stars on them? I'm just saying.

But that is nothing compared to the games this game will be willing to play to see the Rays overnight shipped to Quebec, or somewhere else. We can fit Sternberg for devil horns later. For now, I'm sticking with Manfred and baseball as the lead villain.

Look, baseball has sinned before. Long before the balls were juiced, the players were, resulting in an era where guys Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds made turnstiles turn and a home-happy nation swoon.

Baseball owners and Bud Selig, then commissioner, knew what was happening and looked the other way. It was baseball's Chernobyl. The mess is still there. I do my very best to try and clean it up when steroids clowns come up for the Hall of Fame, but what else can we do?

I'll tell you what: Don't trust baseball, even for a second.

They'd pull the Rays out of here in a second.

Is the game willing to take the Rays off Sternberg's hands and go to court with St. Petersburg to break the Rays' stadium lease? I wouldn't count that out. Would baseball be willing to revisit Tampa Bay as a future expansion site, like with how Washington got its team back. That I would count out.

I just don't have a lot of the reasons to trust baseball. Love the game, hate how it is run. It's that simple.

Back to Manfred talking about the rise in home runs. He said MLB, despite OWNING THE COMPANY that makes the baseballs, "has done nothing, given no direction for an alteration in the baseball." Manfred said there is no evidence that the ball is harder, but that there is less "drag" as is soars through the air.

Why would a guy who makes up a story about the ball not to be willing to make up a story about the Rays' future?

"Right now, I'm focused on the idea that this split-season idea that the Rays came up with is an opportunity to preserve baseball in Tampa Bay," Manfred said. "And I'm not prepared to say one way or the other what's going to happen when that effort turns out to be unsuccessful."

Sure, right.

Baseball knows what it really wants. Its owners, including Sternberg, will do what they want with the Rays. Manfred will see to it. And there will be nothing to stop them. Or, as they say in the engineering labs, less drag.

Visit the Tampa Bay Times (St. Petersburg, Fla.) at

Recommended for you


(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.