Roger Mooney covers the Tampa Bay Rays for The Tampa Tribune, TBO.com and News Channel 8. He has covered the Rays since their first season in 1998, including 11 years for the Bradenton Herald. Roger has also covered Florida, South Florida and Florida State football, the Bucs and the Lightning.
Most Recent Entries
- Maddon changes stance on Escobar’s home run guesture
- Panini previews Rookies & Stars football
- A peek at Panini’s 2013 Cooperstown Collection
- Wharton athletes sign NLI’s
- Touchdown Club of Atlanta names Hargreaves top defensive back in the country
- Rays @ Jays: Cobb looking for 5th win
- FACA Baseball Classic Rosters announced
- Stargell stands tall in biography
- Profar is second Bowman redemption card
- Rays @ Jays: Victoria Day matinee
- Green seeking funds for trip
- Area Athletes Shine at Golden South Classic
- Rays @ O’s: Moore looking to go 8-0, Rays looking for sweep
- Collect call: 2013 Bowman baseball
- Rays @ O’s: Rays on FOX game of the week
- Bucs Report -Tribune staff
- Rays Report - Roger Mooney
- Bolts Report - Erik Erlendsson
- Bulls Report
- Prep Report - Hillsborough
- Prep Report - Pasco
- Prep Report - Region
- Prep Report - Recruiting Updates
- Prep Report - Football
- Go Fishing: On The Waterfront
- The Sports Bookie - Bob D'Angelo
- Gators Report - Tribune staff
- Youth Sports Report
- NFL Draft Report
- Go Ask: Frank's Tacklebox
- Bucified Bert Blog
- BUK Power - Bucs Fan Blog
- Pigskin Preacher - NFL Fan Blog
- Breakfast Bonus - Tom McEwen
- Highlands Sports
Maddon changes stance on Escobar’s home run guesture
Posted May 21, 2013 by Roger Mooney
Updated May 21, 2013 at 06:40 PM
TORONTO Rays manager Joe Maddon backtracked Tuesday on his comments concerning Yunel Escobar’s gesture while crossing home plate Monday after his ninth inning home run against the Blue Jays.
Maddon said after the game that he would talk to Escobar, adding, “I’m certain you’re not going to see that again.”
Apparently, you will.
Escobar occasionally makes the safe sign when he steps on the plate, which he did Monday. Maddon said he was not aware of it.
Now, Maddon encourages it.
“He does do that, as I found out, quite often after home runs,” Maddon said. “Some people point to the sky, he shows a safe sign. It’s one of those things people are going to interpret according to their own prejudices or thoughts or judgmental opinions. For me, I love the way he is. I want him to remain the way he is. He did nothing wrong.”
Escobar, when asked Tuesday if he talked to Maddon, became upset that the gesture had become an issue.
Escobar, who played for the Jays from 2010 to 2012, was booed by the Rogers Centre crowd throughout the game, something that contributed to his gesture at the end of the home run.
“Part of it, it seems a lot of times when a good player comes back to Toronto he gets booed here, even though they have played here well in the past and given this town some really good effort,” Maddon said. “Regardless of that I’ve been around some players in the past who were booed and I don’t quite understand that sometimes. I thought Yunel did a great job yesterday in the game. I loved his home run, and I’m never going to subtract from his celebratory manner.”
Maddon has said since December when the Rays acquired Escobar from Miami in a trade that he likes the “chrome” in Escobar’s game.
“I love his animation,” Maddon said before Tuesday’s game.
And those he started some of the fallout Monday by saying he would put a stop to Escobar’s celebration, Maddon came to Escobar’s defense Tuesday.
“He did nothing wrong,” Maddon said. “People that want to say that he did. That’s a fabrication on somebody’s part based on your own personal judgments, period.”
Panini previews Rookies & Stars football
Posted May 21, 2013 by Bob D'Angelo
Updated May 21, 2013 at 06:44 PM
Panini America previewed its 2013 Rookies & Stars football set Tuesday, giving a respectful nod to the past. The set, which hits the shelves in late August, traces its roots to 1998’s Rookies & Stars, the first Leaf product released under Playoff.
This year’s model shows just as much promise as the original.
A hobby box will contain 24 packs, with eight cards per pack. Panini is promising four autograph or memorabilia cards — with at least two autograph cards guaranteed—per hobby box. There also will be 24 rookie cards, six parallels, and inserts: two Statistical Standout, two Touchdown Club, two Game Plan, and two Crusade. There also will be two additional inserts or parallels.
Crusade and Game Plan are two insert sets that were in that original 1998 offering. The 2013 Crusade and Rookie Crusade cards will be features on different colored parallels, numbered to 99, 49 and 5, along with a 1/1.
Rookie Materials Signatures will showcase the top rookies of 2013 and will have Longevity and Team Logo foil-background versions. All Rookie Premiere Slideshow Signatures will be numbered to 125 or less, while All Team Chemistry dual-signed cards will be numbered 99 or lower.
One relic card I believe is interesting and different is the Cross Training Materials insert. This card features statistics from a player’s best skill set, and the insert has standard and prime versions. Cross Training is also a descendant of that 1998 set, although it was labeled “Crosstraining” back then.
Rookies & Stars will hit hobby shops and retail stores just as the NFL preseason kicks into full gear, so the timing is great and interest should be high. It never hurts to reach back into the past to showcase the present (and future).
A peek at Panini’s 2013 Cooperstown Collection
Posted May 21, 2013 by Bob D'Angelo
Updated May 21, 2013 at 05:09 PM
If the second edition of Panini America’s Cooperstown baseball set follows the same formula as the inaugural product, then it should be another fun set to collect.
I’ve said it before — I love these kinds of sets that pay tribute to baseball’s greats. And since Panini has a license to reproduce Hall of Famers on cards, then it’s a perfect match. Just like last year, Panini is unable to use official major-league logos or team names, as it does not have that exclusive licensing agreement. So, cropping and airbrushing is done out of necessity.
This year’s set is scheduled to go live in mid-August. The set will contain 110 base cards, with 100 commons and 10 colorized short prints. Panini is promising that a 24-pack hobby box will contain one on-card autograph; it will be either a Cooperstown Signatures card or a Heroes Buy Back autograph. Other items in each hobby box include two Cooperstown Lumberjack wood cards, which will feature deadball era players and Hall of Famers; two base short prints; four Historic Tickets; and three Museum Pieces.
Cracked Ice parallels will contain different colors. A typical hobby box will have six green cards, one gold (numbered to 299), two red (numbered to 399) and three blue (numbered to 499). Lucky collectors will find black 1/1 parallels.
Collectors opening a hobby box can expect a topper that will either be a 5-by-7 Cooperstown Lumberjacks die-cut card, or a pennant box topper.
One of the more intriguing additions for this year’s set is the Colgan Disks, which will be included in each pack. The design resembles the 1912 Colgan’s Chips Red Borders (also known as E270 cards), which were issued by the Colgan Gum Co. of Louisville, Ky. The originals were inserted in tins of Colgan’s Mint and Violet Chips gum.
The 1912 version had 181 disks; Panini’s 2013 version will have 160 different disks.
If you enjoy collecting Hall of Famers and deadball era stars, the 2013 version of Cooperstown Collection will not disappoint.
Wharton athletes sign NLI’s
Posted May 21, 2013 by Nick Williams
Updated May 21, 2013 at 04:26 PM
Inside the school’s conference room on Tuesday, eight student-athletes from Wharton High were recognized for signing national letters of intent to play sports in college.
The athletes were:
Tyler Watson, track and field, Jackson State
Britany Smith, track and field, Alabama
Areion Caldwell, fooball, Methodist College
Keith Hopkins, football, Wittenberg
Rocky Enos, football, Webber International
Fritznel Jean-Francois, football, Hutchison Community College
Shannon Clark, golf, Hartford
Alex Kranick, baseball, Pasco Hernando Community College
Touchdown Club of Atlanta names Hargreaves top defensive back in the country
Posted May 21, 2013 by Nick Williams
Updated May 21, 2013 at 04:21 PM
The awards keep rolling in for Wharton High defensive back Vernon Hargreaves III.
The Touchdown Club of Atlanta has selected the University of Florida signee as the top defensive back in the nation, according to Wharton coach David Mitchell, and will present Hargreaves with a special award during a ceremony at Wharton on May 28th at 1:30 p.m.
Each year, the club bestows upon two athletes the Bobby Dodd National High School Back and Lineman of the Year Awards, given to the players regarded as the top athletes moving on to the college ranks. The awards are named in honor of the late Bobby Dodd, the former Georgia Tech head football coach and athletic director.
Hargreaves accounted for 110 tackles and five interceptions during his senior year and received the Guy Toph Award, which goes to Hillsborough County’s top player. He was also named a Parade Magazine All-American and was named MVP of the Under Armour All-American game in January.
Hargreaves was ranked as one of the country’s top five prep players by many scouting services, including ESPN, which had him rated as the nation’s top cornerback and the No. 3 overall prospect.