Rays Thoughts and Ramblings………Not For the Weak-Hearted
I have to start this with a trivia question for the Yankee fans.
What three (3) monuments in the Yankee stadium center field have no relationship to baseball and the Yankees’ players, past or present?
I will give the answer at the bottom of the blog.
Rays’ New Stadium Plans:
To start out, lets chat about the new stadium situations and recent events.
I was reading the local fish wrap today and it is noted that a enviormential group is going to protest the announced stadium plans because of a Manatee situation. Now people not familiar with St. Petersburg’s downtown waterfront would not know about the artesian well under the water off the Demen’s Landing site.
This warm water well is a constant feeding system that is heated to about 80 degrees. that translates to perfect Sea cow(Manatee) specs. The group is telling people that the well is a constant attraction for the Manatees, and to build near it, or over it would deplete a viable warm spot for the sea cows.
First off, I know the site in question. It was originally drilled early in St. Petersburgs’ history to be a tourist attraction because of the proposed “healing” powers of the sulfur-aided water. There was a pier that protruded out into Tampa Bay at that time, and they drilled down to produce a hole in the upper Florida Aquifer. For years, this well was suppose to be Ponce De Leon’s “Fountain of Youth”.
Second, the well is currently in about 30 feet of water, still uncapped and supplying heat and relaxation to Sea cow nation. the exact location of the fill area for the new stadium will take a small channel area off by the Sailing Academy on Demen’s Landing, and might inhibit the St. Petersburg Yacht Club basin more than disturb the Raymond look-a likes.
I went on a baseball book hunt the other day in Barnes and Noble, and came away with a few great books about our national pastime. They had a huge selection of autobiographies and collections of stories concerning baseball.
One of the book I chose was, “Haunted Baseball,” by Mickey Bradley and Dan Gordon. To start with, the authors are Boston and NY fans true and true. The book is a collection of events depicting the ghosts, practical spiritual games, and unexplained phenoms concerning baseball.
I have only read the first 100 pages, but the authors have done a lot of research with players, coaches and experts in this field. The first chapter is dedicated to a St. Petersburg Cresent Lake site that was one of the Spring Training sites for the old Yankees, Mets, Cardinals and Orioles.
It is Huggins-Stengel field located in the Southeastern corner of the park near the landmark water tower. It explains about the odd happenings and situation concerning the old clubhouse area currently occupied by the St. Petersburg Parks and Recreation team TASCO.
It is a wild tale of ghostly sightings and unexplained sights, sounds and smells concerning the vast history that has graced this cement block building. One of the wildest tales concerns a cigar odor that is strong in the AM when the TASCO workers come in the morning, and the strange and odd happening after dark in the building.
I used to deliver Pepsi product to TASCO as a Special Events Coordinator, and I always had an uneasy feeling in that building. If I knew about these events, I would have loved to stay the night or visit the are at night.
The third chapter of the book is about the famous Vinoy hotel that the visiting teams, and newly promoted and signed Rays players stay in for games. It has been a long time since the hotel was a vacant shell on the waterfront, but true natives know how much the hotel transformed the waterfront Vinoy area back to respectability and extreme comfort for the road weary players’.
It goes into detail about the haunting and shenanigans of the specters’ in the old wing of the hotel. I know of one death in the hotel from when it was an abandoned shell. It is of a homeless guy who fell into the water-filled elevator shaft and drowned because there was no one there to hear him scream for help, or rescue him. Legend has it that sometimes the walls of the elevators produce a banging sound like someone trying to get in from below or above the unit.
I have also stayed in this hotel a few times in the old wing and have not had a truly restful night because of scratching noises outside my 6th floor window. I took it as a dove or bird trying to find a niche for the night. Never thought about a ghostly apparition or specter causing the chaos.
It has a Rays’ twist in the form of a ghostly haunting involving Jon Switzer when he first got promoted up to the big club. You have to read the account to believe it.
By the way, other players and coaches have had events happen to them in this spirited hotel. Enough that it was profiled in an ESPN story involving the Cincinnati Reds reliever Scott Williamson. He was held down in his bed by an unforeseen force in the night and in later research, it was noted that the former landowner of the Vinoy site before the hotel was built was also named Williamson.
I am going to comment on a recent article about Dioner Navarro. This Tampa-bred, former Yankee prospect is entering his second year behind the plate for the Rays’. I think both he and the Rays staff know that it is “now or never” for him to show the ability to handle this young staff and aggressively product at the plate. Dioner made great strides in the second half last year, and i think that under hitting Coach Steve Henderson, he will improve more this year.
He was a great prospect in the Yankee system, and was to be the heir apparent to Posada. When he was traded to the Dodgers, his product was limited by the Dodgers’ own catching prospect finally starting to reach his potential. I think he was the diamond in the rough piece of the trade with the Dodgers. He is a skilled thrower and was a essential part of the first triple play in Rays history starting from the 2-spot.
I know that Joe Maddon has great hopes and respect for him. Let’s just wait and see how he reports to the complex this year. I predict a leaner, meaner Dioner ready to show both players and fans he is here to play……….for as long time. By the way, he is only 23, and has a world of chances in his MLB future.
I am going to go now, but I need to give you the answer to the Trivia question. Did you know the answer? Well, here it is…………..
The only three monuments in the Yankee center field area not associated with baseball or the Yankee’s baseball history are: A monument to Sept. 11th 2001, and two papal visits by the pope to what Vince Scully calls, “the cathedral that is Yankee Stadium.”
Did you know the answer?
I am thinking of doing a Rays’ trivia question on each blog from now on here..what do you think?
Since I did work Tropicana Field for Pepsi for 4 years, I know a lot about the “House that Vince built.”