ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – Marc Topkin, who covers the Tampa Bay Rays for the Tampa Bay Times, spoke to 8 On Your Side’s Gabrielle Shirley about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the Tampa Bay Rays.
The team has closed the spring training facility in Port Charlotte as well as the team offices at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg.
“Everything is just on pause right now,” said Topkin, “And I think the weirdest thing about it for everybody is the uncertainty, talking to Rays players and talking to Rays officials, they thought it may only be a couple of weeks. Now, it looks like it will be at least a couple of months with the MLB saying they are going to go with the eight week minimum from the CDC. Does that mean a June start date? Does that mean July? Some Rays players and some people are even saying, ‘Are we going to play at all?’ So there is just so much uncertainty and I think that that almost adds a second layer to this.”
Topkin also shared his thoughts on the team before the coronavirus pandemic forced Major League Baseball to press pause on the spring season.
“For the Rays,” said Topkin, “This was going to be a really good season. They were headed into a season of great promise, the chance to be certainly a playoff contender, maybe even battle the Yankees with all of the injuries that had been mounting for the Yankees. The Rays felt really good where they were outside of the Blake Snell elbow issue. That was really the only hiccup they had had so this really was going to be a season for the Rays that was going to be really good, obviously, depending on when it resumes. What is the schedule going to look like? How is that going to work? Are they going to play 80 games, 100 games, 120 games? All of that is going to factor into this but I still think it is going to be a really good team.”