Posted on: July 27, 2010 5:21 pm

That's the (fake) ticket

The Rays are the latest team to capitalize on the ridiculous new trend of selling people mementos of an experience they didn't have.

Fans attending "Joe Maddon's Summer Social," part of a charity event on August 15, will receive a game ticket from Monday night's Matt Garza no-hitter. A game ticket. Printed after the game was played. And thus not a ticket to anything except maybe lying to your grandchildren someday.

There were 17,009 tickets sold for Monday's game (attendance was even lower due to season ticket no-shows), and the capacity is around 45,000, so that's 28,000 people who can own a piece of fake history.

At least in this case the tickets are being distributed to help promote a charitable event. The Marlins took a much more unseemly route after Roy Halladay's perfect game against them on May 29, selling the unpurchased tickets at face value. Making a cash grab to take advantage of your own team's failure? That's just sad.

The White Sox also are in the fake ticket club, selling "souvenir" unused tickets from Mark Buehrle's perfect game last season. But at least they were selling them as souvenirs of something one of their own players accomplished.

Does this seem crazy to anyone else? It's one thing to collect used, actual tickets from historically significant games. But to manufacture "pieces of history" that didn't exist when the history happened, it feels like it cheapens the event.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: July 27, 2010 12:56 am

GMs position themselves with public statements

A few general managers popped their heads out of their war rooms Monday to give impromptu briefings.

When GMs speak publicly this time of year, the general message is almost always the same: "We might do something if it makes sense, but we might not." Which is, of course, saying nothing, but it serves one of two purposes:

1. Telling the fan base not to expect anything, because there's really nothing out there that's good for the team, in order to pre-emptively minimize negative reaction when you don't do anything.

2. Giving the impression that you're doing No. 1 to convince other teams that you really are fine standing pat, in order to spur those other teams to budge on talks that are stuck.

Kenny Williams Kenny Williams had a lengthy conversation with reporters in which the central message was that he's not willing to meet ridiculous demands just to make a trade.

"Prices are still too high as far as I'm concerned," he said. "You know, we have a plan and that plan resulted in this team being constructed the way it is. ... So you have to be cognizant of making a move that is a little too shortsighted and jeopardizes your future"

It's not clear whether there was visible eye-rolling at these statements. Seeing as they were made by the same guy who said the same thing at this time last year, then got Mark Kotsay on the 28th and Padres ace Jake Peavy 23 seconds (literally) before the deadline.

"I can't [lie to] you guys; you've seen it before," Williams said. "If there's an opportunity to do something in a major way that doesn't disrupt what we have and adds to it, we'll take that shot."

Rays vice president Andrew Friedman said he's looking for an "impact player," though he doesn't feel the need is as pressing as it has been the past couple of years.

"So we're working hard not to create the illusion of that player and make sure that it's someone we really want," Friedman said. "And there are guys who fit that description. Hopefully we'll be able to do something that makes us better, but only time will tell."

Marlins president Larry Beinfest said he's going to work on long-term deals with more than one player (a source tells the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that he's talking about Dan Uggla and Ricky Nolasco), and seems ready to accept that even though the Marlins are playing pretty well, there's just too much real estate and too many teams between them and the playoffs to be aggressive.

"If there's something we think makes sense, we'll do it. Are we going to force anything at this point? I wouldn't say so. Are we driven by the need to move money? That's a no," he said. "We're going to open a new ballpark in 18 months and everything we do now is going to be very important as we look forward to opening that building, and we want to be very competitive when we move in there. There may be moves now that may [bear] fruit when we get there into '11 and onto '12, so we're looking at that as well."

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: July 26, 2010 10:18 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:32 pm

Years of the pitcher

Matt Garza The no-hitter Monday night by the Rays' Matt Garza was the fifth in the majors this season, joining perfect games by Dallas Braden and Roy Halladay and no-hitters by Edwin Jackson and Ubaldo Jimenez. At total of eight pitchers have taken a no-hitter into the ninth inning.

Of course, the elephant in the room remains the perfect game that wasn't, thrown by the Tigers' Armando Galarraga but erased by a bad call on the final play on June 2.

But officially it's five in 2010, one shy of the most thrown in a season in the modern era (there were eight in 1884). And we still have more than two months remaining in the season. Here are the top seasons for no-hitters:

SIX NO-HITTERS -- 1908, 1915, 1969, 1990

FIVE NO-HITTERS -- 1962, 1968, 1973, 1991, 2010

Also of note, Garza's was the first no-hitter thrown by the Rays (who had been on the other end of two this season and four since 2002). That leaves only two franchises without a no-hitter, the Mets and Padres.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Category: MLB
Posted on: July 26, 2010 9:14 pm
Edited on: July 26, 2010 10:32 pm

Rays' slam breaks up no-hitter

You could almost hear the computer servers firing up at Elias Sports Bureau a few minutes ago, trying to figure out whether a no-hitter was broken up by a grand slam for the first time.

In Tampa, the Rays' Matt Garza and the Tigers' Max Scherzer took dueling no-hitters into the sixth inning. In the bottom of the inning, Ben Zobrist walked, Carl Crawford reached on catcher's interference and Evan Longoria walked to load the bases. With two outs and a full count, Jays designated hitter Matt Joyce homered to right field, breaking up the no-hit bid and putting the Rays up 4-0.

Garza allowed just a walk through seven. Follow the game on the CBSSports.com GameTracker here, and we'll let you know when we figure out whether this has ever happened before.

-- David Andriesen

UPDATE: Garza finishes off the no-hitter, allowing just the one walk. It's the first no-hitter in Rays history and the fifth in the majors this season.

UPDATE: Baseball blog wezen-ball.com (reporting via Twitter ) has found another no-hitter broken up in the sixth by a grand slam. On July 23, 1990, Dickie Thon of the Phillies broke up a no-hit bid by Frank Viola of the Mets with a grand slam with one out. Viola did not have a shutout at the time, however, as the Phillies had scored on a groundout two batters earlier. Here is the box score and play-by-play of that game.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: July 26, 2010 11:50 am

Don't eat at a stadium in Florida

If you're one of the five people going to Tampa Bay Rays games, make sure you pack a lunch.

According to a report by ESPN's Outside the Lines, 100 percent of vendors at Tropicana Field were found  in violation of health department regulations. ESPN has a great map here to find your local stadium, checking the reviews for all MLB, NFL, NHL and NBA homes.

In all, don't eat in Florida. Of the professional sports venues in the state, the best -- and that's used very loosely -- was BankAtlantic Center (home of the Florida Panthers of the NHL) with 67 percent of vendors being shown in violation. As for the other big-league park, Sun Life Stadium (the latest name of the former Joe Robbie Stadium) had a 93 percent violation rate.

What should be noted is that standards are not uniform, what would be a violation one place may not be a violation in another. And some places, such as Chicago, the inspections were done on days with no event, with no food being served or workers present.

In Arizona (at Jobing.com Arena, home of the Coyotes), inspectors discovered an ice cream vendor using his hands to scoop ice cream -- that's not just unhealthy, but it's also freakin' cold. How could you do that more than once? And do you dig your fingernails into ice cream to break it up? How about at Yankee Stadium, where your Chivas Regal comes with dead fruit flies? At Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, a worker scraped off a spatula on a trash bin and then continued using it without washing it.

But hey, if eating a hot dog that's shot out of an air gun is wrong, I'm not so sure I want to be right.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.
Category: MLB
Posted on: July 25, 2010 5:26 pm
Edited on: July 25, 2010 8:55 pm

Rays may put Hellickson in bullpen

Jeremy Hellickson When the Tampa Bay Rays exorcised their previous years of futility with an AL pennant in 2008, they did so with the services of David Price in the bullpen.

The 2010 All-Star Game starter for the American League was a late-season addition to Tampa's bullpen. He was considered ready for the majors and with such quality stuff he could contribute out of the bullpen.

And contribute he did. He followed a Francisco Rodriguez-ian path through the playoffs, striking out J.D. Drew in Game 7 of the ALCS for one of the biggest moment's of the game.

Now, another young starter could be on the same path.

"Out of the bullpen, that's a possibility, and I would not be opposed to that at all. But eventually he's going to be one of the starters, there is no doubt. To get a taste, I think he could do it, and it would serve him well, and us," manager Joe Maddon told MLB.com not of Price in 2008, but Jeremy Hellickson in 2010.

"You saw he had a little taste of it in Spring Training," Maddon continued of the 23-year-old righty curerently laying waste to Triple-A.  Hellickson has a 2.51 ERA in 20 starts, posting a 12-3 record. Even better, he's whiffed 119 batters in 114 2/3 innings, walking a scant 35.

The accolades don't stop. Maddon spoke about how well Hellickson handled himself in Spring Training, which leads him to believe Hellickson can succeed with the Rays out of the bullpen.

"He came out with guys all over the place and he got out of it [against the Yankees]," Maddon said. "Very casually in a sense, he was not offended by the moment or overwhelmed by the moment. You're going to see the same kind of approach from him."

The Rays are shopping for a starting pitcher or big bat at the deadline, but one thing Tampa will do everything in its power to do is to avoid having to deal Hellickson for one.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.
Category: MLB
Posted on: July 23, 2010 10:28 pm
Edited on: July 23, 2010 10:50 pm

Hart exits game with wrist injury

Corey Hart Another of the most talked-about outfield trade targets went down on Friday.

A day after David DeJesus was lost for the season with thumb injury, the Brewers' Corey Hart left in the third inning of Friday's game against the Nationals with a right wrist injury.

Hart chased a Cristian Guzman liner to the right-field line and slid into the wall to attempt to catch the foul ball. He didn't catch it, but finished the inning. Jim Edmonds pinch-hit for Hart in the bottom of the third.

According to Jordan Schelling of MLB.com , Hart underwent X-rays on his wrist and they were negative. However, the same was said about DeJesus last night. Hart will undergo an MRI on his wrist Saturday.

Hart has been a popular name in trade talks for teams searching for a big bat. He's hitting .292/.349/.568 with 22 home runs and 70 RBI.

Hart's been named as a possibility for the Giants, Rays and Padres, among other teams.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: July 23, 2010 7:18 pm

Deal for Lilly looking imminent

Ted Lilly Ted Lilly may have pitched his last game for the Cubs, the Chicago Sun-Times ' Chris De Luca reports .

Citing "major-league sources" talks for the left-hander have heated up and the trade "could be completed by the end of the weekend."

De Luca reports the Mets have had the most interest in Lilly. Also interested are the Tigers, Twins, Phillies and Dodgers.

Lilly is in the final year of his contract and a free agent after the season. He has a limited no-trade clause, allowing him to veto deals to 10 teams, including the Phillies, Twins and Rays. The Mets and Tigers aren't on his list, according to FOXSports.com's Jon Paul Morosi .

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com