Tampa Bay Rays

Janet Cruz heads to Puerto Rico for relief effort

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Rep. Janet Cruz, D-Tampa, with Evelio Otero, on Oct. 4. Otero collected more than 2 million pounds of goods for Puerto Ricans.

House Minority Leader Janet Cruz is headed to Puerto Rico today in conjunction with a relief effort organized by Major League Baseball, the Tampa Bay Rays and Moffitt Cancer Center.

Today’s flight will be the second to Ponce by Cruz, a Tampa Democrat whose ex-husband has family members on the island. She returned from her previous tour in tears, saying she was horrified by the dire conditions Puerto Ricans were living after Hurricane Maria devastated the U.S. territory.

Weeks after the storm ravaged the island, more than 80 percent of Puerto Rico remains without power and about a third don’t have water.

According to a press release issued by Cruz’s office this morning, the group will deliver 30,000 pounds of supplies, including food, water and medical necessities.

Cruz and the others also plan to bring back tissue samples “currently on the verge of spoiling that represent years of critical medical research” along with cancer patients and a group of nuns displaced by the storm.

“After disasters, it’s our duty as citizens to look out for each other,” Cruz said in the release. “We all must ensure we are doing everything we possibly can to help our Puerto Rican neighbors recover from the destruction caused by Hurricane Maria. I’m proud to have found such incredible partners in Major League Baseball, the Rays, and Moffitt to help aide in this effort.”

Last week, Cruz visited a Tampa warehouse where volunteers, led by Evelio Otero, were collecting items for Puerto Ricans impacted by the storm.

Play ball! Scott meets with MLB commish

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Gov. Rick Scott tweeted this picture from his meeting with Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred yesterday, prompting this response from @TimBoylesPhoto:

“he looks happy to be with you as the Pope was to be with @realDonaldTrump #ouch #sad.”

Scott’s tete-a-tete with the MLB commish comes as the Miami Marlins scout for new owners and the Tampa Bay Rays continue a drawn-out quest for a new stadium.

Meanwhile, Major League Baseball’s Home Run Derby and All-Star Game will be held in Miami next month.

Scott’s meeting with Manfred was part of the governor’s economic development trip to the Northeast, which an “I-want-to-poach-your-jobs” stop in Connecticut.

What was on the major-league menu at yesterday’s meeting?

The governor’s office had this to say when The News Service of Florida asked if the talks involved the future of the Marlins and Rays:

“While in New York, Governor Scott had the opportunity to meet with MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred about their commitment to Florida and baseball’s large impact on Florida’s economy.”

On June 13, Manfred expressed some optimism about the Tampa Bay stadium search during an interview on Siriius XM Fantasy Sports Radio.

“Hats off to the governments in St. Pete and Tampa. They have given Stu Sternberg, the owner of the Rays, the ability to look on either side of the causeway to find the site that’s best for the team,” Manfred said. “They have not been parochial in terms of whether it was going to be on the St. Pete side or the Tampa side. Again, I take that as a really positive development in terms of trying to move things forward in Tampa.”

— Jim Turner contributed to this post.