There's something I've noticed over the last couple months: Rays' fans can be a bit quick to panic. There was lots of consternation among fans this off season when rumors started flying about owner Stuart Sternberg being interested in purchasing the Mets, even though the rumors were unsubstantiated and Sternberg denied them. Now, it seems like the hot story is that Andrew Friedman's father, Kenny Friedman, is putting together a package to purchase the Astros and might take Andrew Friedman with him.
The Rays have such one of the strongest - if not the strongest - front office in all of baseball, so obviously losing anyone from their ranks would be a cause for concern. But after the story broke yesterday on Kenny Friedman and the Astros, further details came out that suggested there was nothing to worry about. Kenny Friedman's group is widely considered a backup plan in case the Astros' primary suitor, Jim Crane, doesn't work out, and Andrew Friedman has already said his father's decision would have "no bearing" on him. Crisis averted, right?
Well, it probably depends who you ask.
These sort of stories have a way of lingering in the Tampa Bay area, so I wouldn't be surprised if we hear more about it on talk radio and around town over the next couple weeks. And you know, I can't blame the area for being slightly suspicious of professional sports owners / front offices. The Tampa Bay area has a long history of being screwed over by Major League Baseball (going back to the 1980s when the White Sox nearly moved to St. Pete), and there have already been rumblings that MLB is going to start applying pressure in order to push along a new stadium deal. With their history, can you really blame the area for being suspicious of MLB? Can you blame them for being extra jumpy when it comes to rumors that involve losing their team or front office members? No, I don't think so.
That said, there's nothing to worry about in this case. The Rays are fully committed to the Tampa Bay area, and from all report, there's no sign that Andrew Friedman or Stuart Sternberg are going anywhere anytime soon. The likelihood of Kenny Friedman purchasing the Astros is slim to none, and the chance that Andrew Friedman would choose to follow his father if that were to happen is far from certain. And in the unlikely event that Friedman did leave the Rays for any number of reasons, he'd still be leaving behind an incredibly talented front office, full of a depth of talented minds. The Rays would still be in good hands.
I can understand people immediately being suspicious and tense over this news, but it's okay - you can take a deep breathe and relax. Andrew Friedman isn't going anywhere.