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Mitch Perry Report for 4.4.16 – Time to play ball

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

If the Tampa Bay Rays ever get a new, retractable domed stadium somewhere in the Tampa Bay area, days like Sunday are the days that stadium’s roof would be open.

You couldn’t get better weather conditions to kick off the 2016 Major League Baseball season here, where the Rays dropped their home opener to the outstanding Toronto Blue Jays, who some experts predict could be in the World Series this fall.

I’ll avoid writing about what a big drop off is expected regarding attendance for tonight’s second game of the season in St. Petersburg since seemingly every other reporter writing about the Rays this week has already done so.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said he remains “hopeful” that a new stadium can be found and built that would improve attendance for the Rays games, since they consistently have been mired at the bottom of home attendance since the franchise was created in the late 1990s. It helps if there’s a winning product on the field, which had there had been until the past two years. But if attendance continues to falter, there will be less sympathy for the Rays’ plight nationally in their search for a new facility.

Meanwhile, speaking of sports, the NCAA Basketball Final is set for 9 p.m. between Villanova and North Carolina.

Lord, I hope this game is more competitive than Saturday night’s semifinals.

Sorry, but this tournament is not just as exciting as it used to be, mainly because star players only play for a single season before exiting to the pros. At least, that’s what made a super team like Kentucky worth watching in recent years. Sure, you knew you probably wouldn’t see the same players in a year, but what dazzling talent.

Oh, and tonight’s game is on TBS, not CBS, for those of you who don’t have cable.

Speaking of cable, y’all out there with Frontier Communications, you back online this morning?

In other news …

Rick Scott wants a “peaceful revolution” that apparently transcends what Donald Trump is bringing to politics.

Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission Chairman Victor Crist has laid out his ideas on how to regulate Uber, Lyft and the taxicab industry; now he’s waiting for the counteroffer from those groups.

And David Jolly was in the Middle East last weekend. In addition to visits to Israel and Saudi Arabia, he also visited a Syrian refugee camp in Turkey with none other than Bono.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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