Monday, March 24, 2008

Separated At Birth?


I've found who Shelley Duncan reminds you of. Did you happen to watch the hit movie from our childhood, The Goonies, recently? You're welcome.

Personally, I think Shelley Duncan would have been better as an actor.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Nice Hair Douche

Not only is Kevin Hench (see below) a horrible writer, but he is also ugly. I think the super tall spiked hair went out of style...wait a minute it was never in style. Also, he looks like an alien. In all seriousness, this guy is butt-ugly, dumb as a rock, and has the personality of a doorknob.

Apparently, he produced some awful movie in 2007 and appears to be employed by/friends with Adam Corolla. Corolla hasn't been funny since Win Ben Stein's money. Perhaps because he has ass dumplings like Kevin Hench write for him. I mean who doesn't find humor in making fun of someone with a debilitating disease. Why stop at Rocco? Why not go after children with leukemia? What a colossal asspie.

To complain to about this idiot go here.

Until this guy is fired or he apologizes I will not be reading Fox Sports and I suggest you do the same.


Around the Rays Universe March 17th

  • Kazmir will more than likely start the season on the disabled. There has been a setback in his rehab, whereas he was not even allowed to play catch on Sunday -- the day he was scheduled to make his first start. This is not good. The Rays and Kazmir are definitely trying to convince everyone that this is no big deal though (St. Pete Times):

Quote 1: "We're just going to take some time to make sure everything's strong going into the season," Kazmir said. "It's a long season, and we want to make sure of that. I don't want to go three or four starts and go back on the DL or something like that. We just want to make sure we get it right."

Quote 2: Maddon said: "It's just something on the backside of his arm. It's not bad. It really is not bad. We're being really overly cautious right now. He threw the other day, and he threw really well, actually. He came out of it and we were just not satisfied that the arm strength was built up, and we want to make sure any kind of discomfort is gone out of there."

Quote 3: Indeed, there was chatter among scouts at Sunday's game that Kazmir had a more serious elbow problem than was being reported, which Kazmir flatly denied: "Not at all. None of that." And he admitted he has learned to take such talk as a challenge. "I'll just keep proving people wrong," he said.
  • As expected Shields is likely to get the opening day start in Baltimore (St. Pete Times).
"It feels great knowing the team has enough confidence in me to take Kaz's spot in that situation," Shields said. "I've always said he's going to be the ace on this staff no matter what. I'll be happy to be able to take his spot if it happens."
  • Riggans just has a bruise, while Birkins, Orvella, and Cannizaro will remained sidelined for the near future (St. Pete Times).
  • Marc Lancaster reports that Rays are looking to bring in outside help for the outfield. They want someone who can play right, but can also back up Upton in center. Apparently, they are willing to give up one of their young arms -- perhaps Jackson or Hammell could be dealt for an outfielder. Some possibilities brought up by Lancaster include Reggie Willits or Juan Rivera (Angels), Coco Crisp (Red Sox), Reed Johnson (Toronto), and Ryan Freel (Cincinatti). (The Tampa Tribune).
"As Rocco's situation started to become clearer, we expedited some conversations to try to bring someone in from the outside," Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman said Saturday. "We're always looking to upgrade, and if we can upgrade over what we have internally, we'll do so. If we can't, obviously we won't."
  • Fennelly wrote a nice piece about how Percival's presence is helping out the Rays. I only hope he can stay healthy all season. We need him in the clubhouse and on the field (The Tampa Tribune).

The Morning After: Rays Beat Tigers

Rays 7 (12-3-1), Tigers 2

It was a nice weekend for out of town Rays fans. Both of the Saturday split squad games were on gameday audio. WHNZ had a broadcast team at both of the Saturday games and switched back and forth between games depending on the action. It was a good idea that was also executed well. One highlight was Silverman and Friedman stopping by the booth. Yesterday's game against the Tigers was also on gameday audio.

It is just two weeks until the Rays season starts in Baltimore. The Rays don't play any games tomorrow. It will be their first day without a game since the grapefruit season commenced.


  • Shields went 4 and 2/3 and gave up no runs. He allowed a number of base runners, but was able to get out of it all unscathed.
  • Sonny pitched the final three innings of the game and gave up only one run (his first of the spring). He had five strikeouts in three innings. His strikeout rate is amazing for someone with such mediocre velocity. I am excited to see him pitch this season.
  • Defilice continued his hot spring going 2 for 3 with a double. His is definitely making the most of his chance with Riggans out for the moment. He is batting .455.
  • The Rays continued their aggressive base running. Gomes stole his second base of the spring and Upton stole his third.
  • The Rays won. Again. What an enjoyable spring this has been.


  • Percy gave up his first hit and run of the season. He went one inning and gave up one.


Other than Edwin Jackson, the Rays starting pitching candidates have had phenomenal springs. Shields and Sonny continued the trend. Below are the ERAs, WHIPs, and IPs of the five (Kazmir of course has not pitched yet) major candidates for the starting rotation.

  1. Shields -- 14.2 IP, 1.84 ERA, 1.23 WHIP
  2. Jackson -- 11.0 IP, 7.36 ERA, 1.45 WHIP
  3. Garza -- 9.1 IP, 1.93 ERA, 1.39 WHIP
  4. Sonny -- 9.0 IP, 1.00 ERA, .56 WHIP
  5. Niemann -- 8.0, 1.13 ERA, 1.25 WHIP
Every candidate except Jackson has an ERA less than 2. I know it is just spring training and that this is a very small sample size, but it is, nonetheless, very encouraging. True to form, Jackson has looked good it all but two innings, where he got absolutely rocked resulting in his high ERA. Right now I would try Jackson in the bullpen and move Neimann into the starting rotation. Some have suggested that Jackson should be traded, but I doubt the market will be very good. Moving him to the bullpen seems like a reasonable action. If one of the starters struggles or gets injured he would be the first guy to take over. I doubt the Rays will handle it this way, but thats my opinion of what should be done. It is likely though that the Rays will give Jackson a chance to prove himself during the first quarter or half of the season. If he stinks the joint up then Niemann will be called up from Durham. If Kazmir starts the season on the DL, then maybe both of them will get a shot to start the season in the rotation. However, it is possible that they will just have a long reliever (i.e. Howell) fill in for Kazmir until he returns.


Friday, March 14, 2008

Shelley Duncan Looks Familiar

This picture is bothering me. He looks like someone else but I can't quite place who. I thought I hit on it with "Hadley" or "Bogs" from Shawshank Redemption, but that wasn't it....

Any ideas?


Suspensions, Fines, and a Nonsensical Explanations

It looks like the fallout from the most recent Rays-Yankees Incident has come to fruition. I am pleased.

Suspensions and Fines
Rays- Jonny Gomes (2 Games)
Yankees- Shelley Duncan (3 Games), Melky Cabrera (3 Games)

Yankees- Coaches Joe Girardi, Kevin Long, and Bobby Meacham (All fines undisclosed)

Duncan thinks the suspension was unfair...

Quote #1: "I spent six years in the Minor Leagues scratching and clawing to get where I am today, I've worked as hard as I can every single day and left my heart and soul out on the baseball field every single game."

Quote #2: "I've been completely drained when I go in the clubhouse. I never let a single player or team out-hustle me on the field. I take pride in my work ethic and how I play this game. I'll continue to play as hard as I can."

Quote #3: "For some reason, people assumed I made retaliatory remarks, which I never did, not one time did I ever make a comment about retaliation, or foul play or about playing this game dirty or malicious. Someone asked how I was going to play the game. I told everyone who asked me, 'I was going to play the game hard. I was going to match their intensity, or even exceed it."

Wow, he hustles. It's not like anyone else in Major League Baseball gives his all every game. However, when one makes a statement like "I'm going to match their intensity" after a controversial play, and then goes in spikes high in the second inning the next time the two teams meet, a suspension is on the way, premeditation, first degree. Obviously, there's a difference between "hustle" (running through a catcher blocking the plate in the 9th) and "cheap shot" (sliding into second base with your cleats 3' in the air).

Also, it's funny that Gomes got less days than both Cabrera and Duncan, being that his retaliation caused the benches to clear.

The next two Rays-Yankees games should be fun to watch.


Around the Rays Universe March 14th

  • Unfortunately, Brian Anderson's injury was not just some scar tissue breaking loose. He tore a ligament and a muscle. His career is over. Here is hoping he makes it as a sports broadcaster (The Heater).
  • David Price will start his Rays minor league career at Class A Vero Beach (Rays Report).
  • Kazmir is on schedule to start Sunday against the Tigers (Rays Report).
  • In breaking news, Girardi is still ugly even when covers his hideous haircut with a hat that does not fit (St. Pete Times).
  • As Joe Henderson reports, Kazmir is keeping to the pace set for his rehab. He isn't trying to be cavalier. In the long run, this is the good approach. We want Kaz healthy for the years to come. However, it does mean he likely won't start opening day (The Heater).
"Could he pitch Opening Day barring any setbacks? Probably. Will he? Probably not," Hickey said. "There's no reason to push it. Opening Day is simply one game in 162 games. In the end it doesn't mean that much."
  • The Prof revisited the Barry Bonds issue, but from a new perspective. I chipped in my two cents in the comments section. I should have a post up later today going into more detail on the arguments I started to formulate in the comments (Rays Index).
  • DRaysBay asks the question who is Jon Weber? Now that he has a shot at making the team, I was asking myself the same question. Of course, I was too lazy to do any research. Luckily, RJ stepped in and got the job. Apparently, he has had a pedestrian minor league career (DRaysBay)

The Morning After: Rays Tie Sox

Tampa 3 (9-3-1), Boston 3 (I hate hockey)

Back when I was a little kid there were no professional baseball franchises in Florida. All we had was spring training baseball. These were the only "pro" games I got to attend and thus they held a special importance for me. Well, one time I went to Clearwater with my Dad to watch the Phillies play. The game was tied at the end of the tenth inning and there were about 100 people left in the stands. To my amazement, everyone walked out and started shaking hands. I didn't even realize what was going on, so i asked my Dad. He told me that the game was ending in a tie. I was, understandably, pissed. 1) These games were important to me so I assumed they were important to everyone else (despite seeing players jog around the warning track), and 2) it was way past my bedtime and I had envisioned an amazing scenario in my head where I was up past midnight, defying the laws of the bedtime, watching live baseball. Both of my fantasies were crushed. Ever since that day I have detested the spring training "tie" ballgame.

Tie games: ruining kids childhood innocence since 1988.


  • Garza looked good for the second outing in a row. He went 4 and two thirds and allowed no runs. His spring era is now below 2.
  • Howell also pitched well. He went 2 and a third inning and gave up no earned runs. I really think he has a good shot of making the bullpen as a long reliever.

  • The game ended in a tie (see above).
  • Bartolo Colon pitched decent for the Red Sox. Just what the Red Sox need: a rejuvenated Colon. The starting pitching was the one question mark I saw on their team. If Colon regains his form of three years ago that question mark turns into a strength. Seriously, I don't know if I can take another Red Sox championship.
  • Not to be outdone by Longoria, Joel Guzman made his first error of the spring.

Can we just start the season already? What do we have left? Let me check. Two weeks plus a couple days. It is getting harder and harder to try and extract meaningful information from these games. Especially since none of them are on TV. But I suppose they are helping the players round into form. Practice is a good thing, especially for a young team.

It sure seems like Longoria is playing a lot. At this point, it would be a surprise to me if they sent him down. The starting rotation is rounding into form and the everyday lineup is pretty much set now that we know Rocco is going to start the season on the DL. What about backup catcher? It sure seems Riggans has that locked up. There are really only two topics of interest anymore: 1) the race for the last couple of slots in the bullpen and 2) whether or not the Rays are going to sign someone to play right field. I'm guessing not, but who knows.


Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Afternoon After: Rays beat Yanks in a Close One

Sorry the Morning After had to get changed to the Afternoon After. The internet at my apartment crapped out last night and I had to find time to make this post at work. By now it is pretty tough to find anything original to say about the brawl and Shelley "the douche" Duncan. It got the Rays some good national exposure and it seems to be uniting the team and it is definitely uniting the fan base. Regardless of the merits of Duncan and Gomes' actions the attention and excitement it has brought are certainly good.

I would also like to point out that this "feels" different from all the fights the Rays used to get into (remember Joey Gathright)? Those guys just seemed like they wanted to get into a fight just to get into a fight. The team was embarrassing. Probably because this team seems more talented the fans have reacted in a positive and supportive way. Some have argued that the difference in fan reaction has to do with race (Gomes and Elliot being white). I don't think this is true. If had been Upton instead of Elliot running into the catcher and CC instead of Gomes, I believe the reaction from the fans would have been the been just as supportive.


  • We won. Now 9-3 on the season and leading the Grapefruit league standings.
  • The team had a slew of hits (14), 5 of which were doubles.
  • Sonny made the most of his first and shut down a respectable Yankees lineup. It was very encouraging and cements his status as front runner for a spot in the rotation.
  • Percival pitched another hitless inning, his third of the spring.
  • Glover closed the game out in the ninth with a one run lead. Repaying the confidence that Maddon has expressed in him this spring.

  • Longoria had an error and so did Josh Paul. Although this was his first official error of the season, it has been noted that there were other times he could have been charged.
  • Anderson got shelled in less than an inning of work and may have re-injured is TJ elbow. Not good times.
  • Although he got the win, Wheeler did not look sharp. He got hit around a little. In his case, his track record is good enough to make spring training woes only a very small concern.

Overshadowed by all the fighting was the fact that the Rays won a close, competitive game against the Yankees. The Rays lineup looked a lot like it likely will on opening day, except for the fact that Difelice (not Navarro) started at catcher. I know it is still spring training, but the winning attitude is being instilled and I could not be happier with the results.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Benches Clear in Rays-Yanks

Apparently, Shelley "the douche" Duncan came in spikes high on Aki when he was trying to stretch a single into a double. Gomes came in and tackled Duncan and was ejected along with Duncan and a couple of Yankees coaches. You don't want to mess with Johnny Gomes. Also, in the first Longoria was hit and the Yankees pitcher was tossed.

I wish this game was on tv.

Gambling on the Rays -- Over/Under

Odds that we could find:

Over/Under on number of games Devil Rays will win: 74 (Bodog)

We think this is a good bet. Of course, we are the jackasses that bet an over/under of 80 with two people. It seems like a fair line and is in fact pretty optimistic.

If you look through the odds we are actually ahead of quite a few teams:

Nationals -- 71.5
Giants -- 71.5
Pirates -- 68.5
Athletics -- 73.5
Twins -- 73
Marlins -- 68.5
Royals -- 72.5
Orioles -- 66

So we are projected by Vegas to have a better record than 8 teams. Not bad. Certainly, not good, but that seems fair.

As for the two bets we made against a Blue Jays fan and Brewer fan:

Jays -- 85
Brewers -- 84

Ouch. Gotta stop drinking that Rays Kool-aid.


It's Official: Baldelli to Start Season on DL

The Rays have announced that Rocco will start the season on the DL. In Rocco's own words:

Baldelli said he had some type of "metabolic, and/or mitochondrial abnormalities, basically along the lines my body isn't making or producing ATP the right way, and therefore not allowing my muscles to work as they should and recover like they're supposed to on a day-to-day basis."
Friedman stated that the team is unlikely to pick Rocco's option in 2009. This means they will give him a 4 million dollar buyout and perhaps try to resign him if his health improves.

We really feel for Rocco. His condition could be quite serious and is likely taking a tole on him both on and off the field. This is the kind of condition that may not necessarily need exercise to manifest itself. It could be that he is fatigues and sore everyday that he gets up. Here is hoping that Rocco can find out exactly what is wrong and also find a treatment. Wishing you the best Rocco


Around the Rays Universe March 12th

  • Rays of Light shares some interesting Rays stats from Bill James' most recent book (Rays of Light).
  • Jayson Stark is reporting that the Rays have interest in signing the ageless Kenny Lofton. RJ Anderson seems to think it would be a good idea and he argues for playing Lofton in right on an everyday basis and going with a Gomes/Floyd rotation at DH. He makes a good point: do we really want to see Gomes in right field everyday? I know I don't (DRays Bay).
  • Rays Index talks with a Yankees blog about the Elliot Johnson hit (Rays Index).
  • David Price was reassigned to minor league camp. Maddon had nothing but praise for him. I especially liked this insight. (Rays Report).
“You know what I like more than anything? The low strike,” said Maddon. “Here’s a young man that comes out with a lot of adrenaline going on and probably some form of nerves – although I’m not even sure that he has those things – and he’s throwing low strikes. Not just strikes, they’re quality strikes. It’s not like he’s all over the zone; he’s in one area.
  • Ryu and Ruggiano were also cut. Maddon said Ryu looks better now than last year. Apparently, they did not want to give Ruggiano a shot at Rocco's roster spot because they don't want someone his age sitting on the bench. Also, the team would prefer a left handed bat (Rays Report).
  • Rocco is scheduled to reveal something about his medical condition tomorrow. I have a feeling he will just throw out some vague descriptions and Friedman will tell everyone he is starting the season on the DL (St. Pete Times).
  • Apparently, Delmon young had no idea about Shields as a pitcher when he was on the Rays. Just shows how much attention he paid to himself and no one else (Tampa Tribune).

"He said, 'I didn't know you had that much bite on your curveball,' " Shields said.

"I was putting some slow-pitch softball swings on it," said Young, who went 0-for-3 in his first game against his former team.

  • Girardi continues to be a douche, big surprise (Newsday).
  • John Donovan takes a look at the Rays new stadium plan for Sports Illustrated (


The Morning After: Rays beat Twins 7-1

Rays 7 (8-3), Twins 1

The Rays faced the Twins for the second time this spring. Carl Crawford did not make the trip, so there were no fireworks between CC and Delmon. I doubt anything will happen when they do meet for the first time. I don't expect a handshake, but neither do I expect a confrontation. Ex-Hillsborough and Tampa Catholic star Denard Span played again for the Twins. I wonder what would have happened if Span had gone to Florida and played wide out instead of signing with the Twins? He was a ridiculous talent at wide receiver and he could have done great things under Spurrier. Would he be in the NFL? I'm guessing not, but you never know. Nice beard Denard.


  • James Shields pitched five scoreless innings giving up 4 hits and a walk while striking out one. Shields appears to be rounding into form as we get closer to the start of the season.
  • David Price pitched a scoreless inning in the ninth, allowing no hits or walks. Unfortunately, he didn't strike out the side this time.
  • Longoria went 1-2 with a pinch hit solo homerun. He is now batting .391 for the spring.
  • Navarro had a solo homerun as well; it was his first of the spring.
  • Not to be outdone by Evan, Willy Aybar had a double which drove in two runs.
  • Elliot Johnson had three hits. If he is nervous about facing the Yankees tomorrow it has not shown yet.

  • None. It was a good performance all around. I guess you could call out Ruggiano and Rodriguez for there 0 for performances at the plate. They certainly aren't doing much to win a spot on the roster if Rocco starts the season on the DL. Ruggiano is batting .091 and Rodriguez is batting .045. Awesome. Fernando Perez checks in at a solid .125.

It was nice to see the Rays win before they got into a "real" losing streak. More importantly, Shields pitched well and the bullpen held the lead. Not too many of the regulars played in the field, but it is nice to see the younger (relatively) players perform well.

Tomorrow the Rays face the Yankees. A lot of people are wondering if there will be any retaliation for the Elliot Johnson incident. I have serious doubts that anything out of the ordinary will occur during this game. I think the story has died down and I doubt the players themselves on the Yankees really think that Johnson was in the wrong, but who knows. Anything can happen.

Sonny gets his first start of the spring. I was beginning to wonder why they had not given him a start all season. I guess they just didn't have enough to go around. My prediction about him being in the bullpen will go down in flames tomorrow if Sonny pitches a good game. Here is hoping he does.


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Around the Rays Universe March 11th

  • Our post yesterday about a Rays Anatomy writer drew a lot of interest. Eric SanAntonio gave it back to us (in his own special, odd way) over at Rays Anatomy. Please feel free to ignore the absurd exaggerations in his post: i.e. "I was chided and nailed to the cross." Nice to see you comparing your plight as a Yankees fan writing a Rays blog to Jesus being crucified. Good simile. Did you major in creative writing? Hopefully, we will have another post on the subject later today (Sports Indeed, Rays Anatomy).
  • DRG over at Rays Index had a hilarious edition of "this week in pictures." My favorite is definitely the Rocco one (Rays Index).
  • Tommy over at OPS posted some nice photos he took at Spring Training. Thanks for sharing (Outs per Swing).
  • Zobrist is out for four weeks with a fractured thumb. Andy Cannizaro will likely replace him as the backup shortstop. A lot of the anti-Zobrist guys out there think Cannizaro will be an upgrade. I can't say I disagree (St. Pete Times)
  • The Rays made their first round of cuts this spring. Jaso, Houser, and Perez were optioned to the minors, while McGee, Davis, and Matt Spring were reassigned to minor league camp (Rays Report).
  • Kazmir threw for the first time off a mound yesterday. He is thinking he will make his first spring training start Sunday against the Tigers. He also seems to be thinking more pragmatically about his opening day start (Rays Report):
“Sure it’s a goal for me, but I’m not going to rush anything,” said Kazmir. “Whatever happens, happens. I realize that it’s not going to be that big of a difference going from Opening Day to maybe game two or game three. We’re just going to take our time and make sure that everything’s strong and we stretched it out and didn’t rush it.”
  • Friedman seems to be saying in this quote that Badelli needs to stop being day to day. The team needs to know this week whether or not he is going to be able to contribute (St. Pete Times):
"The point's coming pretty soon where we're going to need to get him out on the field and get a clear sense of what we can expect in April and beyond," Friedman said. "We're not there yet - we still have 18 days of spring training left to figure these things out - but it's fast approaching."


The Morning After: Rays beat by Indians 12-10

Indians 12, Rays 10 (7-3)

I did not get a chance to listen to this game. The box score was entertaining enough in and of itself.


  • Bossman Junior hit his first HR of the season. A three run job to center field
  • Longoria had what appears to be a pretty good game. He went 2-5 with a rbi and run scored. He even stole a base. Wonder why Joe played him the full nine yesterday?
  • Reyes, Miller, Balfour, McGee and Davis all pitched one inning. The only one to give up a run was Balfour.


  • Hammell and Houser both got hit pretty hard. Hammel gave up nine ( yes nine!) earned runs in just over three innings of work. This does not bode too well for him making the 25 man.
  • It was a loss. This is the first two game losing streak of the spring for the Rays.


I am not quite sure what to think of Longoria's extended playing time today. In general, one would have to believe that it is a good sign. I am starting to believe that Niemann is going to break camp with the team if he has two more good outings.

Here are my current projections for the pitching staff:

Starting Rotation




Brian Anderson would be the first to be called up to the bullpen if someone struggled or got injured.

Rays face the Twins today. I wonder if Delmon will be in the starting line-up?


Monday, March 10, 2008

We Are Calling Out Rays Anatomy

One of the bloggers (Eric SanInoncencio) from Rays Anatomy, another Rays blog, wrote in the comments section of Rays of Light that he agreed with Girardi's assessment of the play and that it was out of line. I could hardly believe what I was reading.

I respectfully disagree. This is spring training, not the regular season. What this time is viewed as is a a month to prepare for the season, and in no way compares to the rigors of a regular campaign.

Players rarely play nine innings, and pitchers are far from the finished product. This time is used for nothing more than to get ready for the season. The main point in doing this is avoid injury, and while that’s not always possible, in this case it was caused by at best a reckless play that had no business being made in a exhibition.

Mind you, I’m not a fan of barrelling the catcher at all, but to do it in spring training isn’t necessary. A “trained professional” should know when to run through a catcher, and this is not one of thsoe cases. He isn’t a machine, he can react based on the situation, like we all can.

Girardi has every point to be upset. In the end, it caused a major injury to a young player that costs him 2 months of the season. Reverse the players, and Rays fans would be clamoring for retaliation from the “dirty” Yanks. This is homerism, and I expect subjectivity from people in this case.

This was, literally, the first time I heard a Rays fan agree with Girardi. I have read comments from plenty of Yankees fans agreeing with Maddon and Zimmer, but not a single other one where a Rays fan agreed with Girardi. I was shocked. But then I went to the Rays Anatomy page and checked out the info section on the author Eric SanInoncencio. He does not really say anything about being Rays fan or being from Tampa. Then I thought I remembered that he was one of the many new Rays bloggers who are not Rays fans or, at least, were not when they began writing about the Rays. So I went back to the beginnings of Rays Anatomy and found the following interesting tidbit:

I was born in the Bronx, NY, and for most of my adult life I have been a fan of the New York Yankees. In all honestly, my interest peaked right as the Bronx Bombers morphed from perennial losers to a championship juggernaut, thus my getting accommodated to winning every season.

He then on goes to basically say that he wanted to cover the Rays because he was becoming too much of a fanatic about the Yankees. Are you kidding me?????? Are you serious???? Is this some kind of a joke??????????

We have got a Yankees fan writing a Rays blog. Need I say more. Clearly, he is still a Yankees fan. It's not even like he is a fan of some national league team. He is a fan of the Yankees; of all teams. My God.

The last thing we need is guys who like "good" teams trying to feel sorry for the Rays and come write about them. Sure, they'll be fine analyzing prospects and getting interviews, but when it comes to a controversy they will always be loyal to their "first" team. Who do you think our boy Eric will be rooting for in the second series of the season when the Rays visit the Yanks. Get that crap out of here. I don't want to read the opinions of a Yankees fan about the Rays. We don't need you.

So, let me correct myself, I have yet to hear about a Rays fan who agrees with Girardi. It does appear, however, that Yankees fans who write Rays blogs agree with Girardi.

Only the long suffering fans can really appreciate this spring and particularly the Elliot Johnson incident. For so long we have been the doormat of the division and of baseball. Everyone routinely mocks us. This spring we are making a statement and that statement is being echoed by all Rays fans. I think a commenter in yesterday's Heater summed up that statement perfectly:

This is OUR turf. Tampa is OUR town. And the Rays will role your sorry team from now on. This is a new day in Tampa Bay.

And that goes especially to Eric and all other Yankees fans. You can only really understand and appreciate this different feeling if you have been here since '98. If you endured those 100 loss seasons and all the mockery. Only then would you understand the excitement Rays Universe is feeling right now.

GO RAYS!!!!!


The Morning After: Rays Fall to Reds

Reds 6, Rays 4 (7-2)


  • Percy, Wheeler, Glover, Talbot and Mason combined to give up no runs and no hits from inning 5 through 9. This is a far cry from the disaster that was the bullpen last year.
  • Zobrist continued his hot spring going 2 for 3 with a double and a run scored. He is batting .421 on the spring.
  • Longoria only got one at-bat but he made it count banging out a double and scoring a run.


  • E-jack gave up six (five earned) in the third inning. This is a lot like the E-jack of old. He can pitch well most of the time but can't avoid those implosions in certain innings. We were hoping this would be a thing of the past after Maddon praised his mental game the other day.
  • The defense stunk. Four errors is not acceptable in a major league baseball game even if it is spring training. Richard contributed two and Brignac (he of the many errors in the minors) and Ruggiano (the defensive specialist) each threw in one.


Will it be more of the same from E-Jack this year? After looking so good in those first two starts, this outing represented a major reality check. How poorly will he have to pitch the spring to not make the rotation? How many bad outings before he is on the trading block? These are likely questions that Silverman and Freidman have discussed, but are only issues we can speculate on. Given his raw talents we think he will be given a huge cushion before he is pulled from the rotation or put on the trading block. However, if Neimann continues to pitch well the situation could change.

It is very discouraging to see the Rays commit so many errors. The horrendousness of the defense last year has been well documented and a repeat performance in that category could lead to another long season. However, all of the errors made yesterday were by guys who won't be on the 5 man roster so it is unclear how much can be extrapolated from these poor performances.


Sunday, March 9, 2008

Rays Fans Unite

Marc Topkin wrote a little piece about Girardi being a girl in the Heater after the game. Well, the Rays fans came out in droves in the comments section. Things really are starting to feel like they may be turning around here. Here were some of my favorite comments:

Awwww, poor Girardi. What a crybaby. You've always known that you don't do it in spring training? Really? Who taught you that? Cecil Cooper didn't have a problem with Crawford running over his catcher. He spent a few days in the bigs too, Joe. In fact, he said he expects his guys to do the same thing. I think you just don't like getting spanked by the Rays, do you Joe? Get used to it. Little boy.

I was listening to the game on the radio and the announcers said that A-Rod went into second base against Bartlett with high spikes up. That could hurt Bartlett and its spring training. Joe Girardi and Yankees fans need to shut their mouths! A bunch of whiners! I didn't want to see their catcher get hurt, but that stuff can happen when you block the plate. If spring training doesn't matter, don't block the plate! Yankees and their fans expect to have wins handed to them. They are pathetic!

Lighten up Joe. Not every team has an overpaid 25 man roster and a bunch of stiffs that show up for spring training. Some teams have players who are trying to make their team on hustle and grit.

It was a perfectly clean play. It was a bang-bang play at the plate. Johnson was running full speed trying to score from 2nd. If the buy is blocking the plate that is what is going to happen.
Either way. This is OUR turf. Tampa is OUR town. And the Rays will role your sorry team from now on. This is a new day in Tampa Bay. Move to Arizona and get the heck out of our town during March.

If this is ANY indication of how the Rays will play, this season will be very fun. Red Sox and Yankees...finally, welcome to RAYS COUNTRY!!!

Intensity Part 2: Girardi is Soft

Apparently Elliot Johnson fractured the wrist of Yankees catching prospect Francisco Cervelli when he bowled over him at home (see above collision in the picture from the St. Pete Times).

Girardi proceeded to cry about the play and take some swipes at how the Rays have been playing during Spring Training.

"I think it's uncalled for," Girardi said. "It's Spring Training. You get people hurt, and that's what we've got -- we've got Cervelli hurt. I know they had an incident four or five days ago. I'm all for playing hard, but I don't think it's the time when you run over a catcher in Spring Training."

Sorry, Joey. Sorry, we have players who are actually trying to win games in the spring. Maybe your catcher should not have been blocking the plate, you ever think of that? This is reminding me a little of Jason Varitek who likes to stand about 10 feet up the third base line and then whine and cry every time he gets his clock rung. You play the game to win even when it is spring training.

Maddon appears to agree with our viewpoint:

"I loved the hardball," Maddon said. "We're playing it hard, we're playing it right. It was a bang-bang play at the plate. I couldn't tell exactly where the catcher was in regard to the plate. He was trying to score a run right there, and that was part of the game."

As for Elliot Johnson, he says that the play was well received in the dugout and that he was just trying show some hustle and score the run:

"I'm not trying to hurt anybody, especially in a Spring Training game," Johnson said. "I hope he doesn't lose his job. But I'm trying to show these guys what I can do. I'm just trying to score the run. Looking back on it, I'd have to say I'd probably do the same thing." "With the time that I had there, the instinct was to slide and be out, or hit him and see if I could pop the ball loose."

Nobody wants someone to get hurt, but the Rays are trying to establish a winning attitude. To get that winning attitude they have to come to the park ready to play everyday and give 100% effort the whole 9 innings. That goes hand in hand with being a professional. In conclusion, Girardi is soft and yips too much. If he did not like it then maybe he should have had one his pitchers throw at us in the first game of the regular season. Solve it on the field. Don't go mouthing off to the media.

Dear Joey G,

Nice Haircut



Around the Rays Universe March 9th

  • Make sure to vote for what we will name our new Rays blog here. If you think you have a better idea please leave it in the comments or email us. DRG gave us a couple of suggestions over at Rays Index (Sports Indeed).

  • Baldelli is "confident" that that he will be ready for opening day according to Marc Topkin. However, he remains vague about his obtuse leg injury. And, apparently, he does not plan on starting the season playing in the outfield, that will come only at "some point." If you want the truth, in terms of DHing, I don't know how much better Baldelli will be than Floyd. His real value to the team is his combination of defense, speed, and hitting. If we aren't going to see any defense or speed let's just put Floyd in there and see what he can do (St. Pete Times).

  • It is becoming apparent that Maddon sees things a little differently than Baldelli. He needs to see Baldelli play some full games before spring training is over (The Heater).
"It's not like we're not worried about it right now (but) over the course of the next week something's probably got to give in a positive direction to know that he's going to be able to to get out there with any kind of regularity,'' Maddon said. "You're looking to get nine innings, whether it's as a DH or an outfielder so I'd say the next week is going to be very vital or important to determine that.''
  • Rocco tells Carter Gaddis that his health is good and at the same place it was when the spring started. So why isn't he playing??? This situation just keeps getting more odd (The Tampa Tribune).
"Nothing's changed since spring training's started," he said. "My body's in the same condition it was when it started, and it's relatively good."
  • Maddon says Price will have no fear in facing A-Rod because he is a "different cat" (The Tampa Tribune).
"It would not faze him in the least. I totally believe that," Maddon said. "This guy's a different cat. He's got a lot of self-confidence. ... That guy's really motivated and directed. He's got a tremendous poise about him. It's unusual for a man of that age to be that mature."

The Morning After: Rays Outpitch Yankees???

Rays 4 (7-1), Yankees 1

The headline is correct. Welcome to the exclamation point edition of the Morning After! Listened to the game on gameday audio again. The Yankees have a female announcer. For some reason this shocked me. She was pretty decent though. Had the whole "calling them the Devil Rays, oops they are the Rays now, unnecessary laughing" thing again. Not having to hear this during every away broadcast may have been reason enough to not change the name.
Anybody go to the game? How many Rays fans compared to Yankees fans?


  • Garza! Although he got into some trouble in the first he escaped unscathed and ended up going three without giving up any runs.
  • Price! We all got out first look at Price and it was good. Although he hit the first batter, he went on to strike out the side. His fastball was consistently 95+. Even the Yankees announcers were impressed.
  • Gomes! His solo homerun gave the Rays the first lead of the game. I am legitimately excited to see him play everyday. Or even 3 out of 4 days with Ruggiano starting 1 out of 4 in right and also coming in as a defensive replacement in the late innings.
  • Anderson! Brian Anderson made his first appearance in 17 months and gave up no runs and one hit in his inning of work. I think he could be a major help if someone in the bullpen falters or gets injured (assuming his doesn't break camp with the team.
  • Aybar! Willy had a double and drove in a run.
  • Baserunning! Once again the Rays were aggressive on the basepaths early on in the game. Crawford swiped two off Mussina in the first.
  • Intensity! Elliot Johnson bowled over Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli. Although Cervelli held onto the ball for the out.
  • Longoria let a ball go right in between his legs although it was not counted as an error. However, he did have a hit and scored a run.

How can you not be excited about this start? The thing that gets me most excited is the pitching. There have been very few poor pitching performances this spring -- the starters are looking good and there are plenty of quality candidates in the bullpen. If I had to guess right now, I would say that Longoria starts the season in Durham and Aybar starts at third. However, Aybar may make the team anyway if Rocco starts the season on the DL.


Saturday, March 8, 2008

Around The Rays Universe March 8th

  • Kazmir is progressing quickly from his elbow strain. He should be making his first spring training appearance on March 14th of 15th (St. Pete Times).
"By doing that we could get him on task, or back on, possibly for the opening day of the season," Maddon said. "We'll be able to build back from the moment we know he can pitch in that game. ...

"From what I saw today I'm pretty optimistic. He looked normal, and he was not holding back, and I think it could be right about that time he's going to be ready to go."

  • The news is not so good for Rocco. 1) he still looks goofy and 2) his "mysterious" ailment is back. This is starting to look a lot like last season. I would not be surprised if we don't see him suit up for the Rays in '08. Apparently he is just as frustrated as all the fans, It's hard to be mad at the guy. Really, I just feel bad for him (Rays Report).
But, he said, as frustrating as it is for the people out there who want to know exactly what’s wrong and exactly how long he’s going to be out, it’s 1,000 times more frustrating for him. He’s not one to give updates on every little medical test he’s given, mostly because they haven’t been conclusive. So, the mystery continues.
  • If Rocco starts the season on the DL we agree that his roster spot should go to Justin Ruggiano. We are not sure how much Ruggiano would play though. Seemingly, Gomes would get a shot to be the everyday right-fielder -- something he has been pining for not just this spring, but his whole career (Rays of Light).
  • The Prof takes a detailed look at what the Rays options are next year and in the future with Rocco. We tend to think that if he doesn't play a single game this year they should just give him the 4 million dollar buyout. No reason to spend any extra money on someone who is dead weight (Rays Index).
  • John Romano writes up a good piece about the positive influence of Percival in the clubhouse. He is quickly becoming one of four favorite Rays (St. Pete Times).


The Morning After: Rays Hammer Phils

Rays 9 (6-1), Phillies 1

Another day of the riveting live box score.


  • Niemann (see large red-head above) pitched three innings of no hit ball, although he walked two. From all accounts he looked pretty good. In other news, there is a scary picture of him on the the front page of the Rays website.
  • Sonny came in in the 9th again and and pitched another perfect inning. Maybe they are thinking of using him in the bullpen and making Niemann the fifth starter? An interesting scenario.
  • Cole Hamels started for the Phillies and the Rays were able to get to him for three runs in three innings. We are not huge Hamels fans after his recent public complaining about his 500K renewal.
  • The offense looked good all around with Bartlett and Hinske driving in two apiece.
  • The base running was very encouraging The Rays stole 4 off Hamels in his three innings of work.


  • Not much to report here: Howell gave up one run in three innings.

From all the quotes I have read it seems that the Rays want to win and are taking spring training seriously. I am very encouraged. The groundwork for a successful regular season is being laid.


New Name Coming Soon

As you know, we are looking to launch a whole new domain for the Rays Blog and we need your help! Please give us your opinion in our new poll (right column ------>).

If you vote "other", please send us an E-mail at, with any sweet ideas. Thanks and go Rays!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Representing in the Mountains

Working and living in a ski town (Breckenridge, CO), one is pretty isolated from the sports world. However, many tourists come into town rocking the gear of their favorite teams on the slopes. Collegiate attire is commonplace (In the span of one day, I told Florida State, Tennessee, Texas, Ohio State, Kansas, Iowa State, Colorado, and Slippery Rock fans that they were Gator Bait).

Anyway, while I was in one of our restaurants on the hill taking a break from work this week, (for those of you who don't know me, "work" basically entails riding around on my snowboard, see below) I spotted a young lass sporting an old school purple Wade Boggs D-Rays T-Shirt Jersey. After pinching myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming, I started a conversation and she told me she went to Freedom High School and makes a frequent appearance at the games. After a minute of small talk and a few chili fries, I told her to keep up the representation, be safe, and "shred the gnar."

In conclusion, we don't need a huge payroll, trendy jerseys, or songs by Ben Harper to let 'em know the Rays Universe is alive and well.


Around the Rays Universe March 7th

  • Maddon thinks Kazmir will be ready to pitch on opening day (Rays Report).
“From what I saw today, I’m pretty optimistic,” said Maddon. “He looked normal, and he was not holding back. It could be right about that time he’s going to be ready to go.”

  • Ok, I am officially worried about this Baldelli situation. I am not even sure how to interpret this quote, but it definitely does not sound good (Rays Report).
“He just wasn’t up to speed and I’ve just got to make sure with Ronnie again, being the vague situation that it is,” said Maddon. “I’m just really not sure that he’s going to be able to play tomorrow based on the recovery after the last time out.”

  • The Prof posted some awesome photos of Joe Maddon from back in the day (Rays Index).
  • Rays Anatomy projects Longoria to start the season in the minors with Aybar and Hinske making the team (Rays Anatomy).
  • This Philadelphia Inquirer article got me thinking about something: How much credit does Chuck Lamar deserve for all the young talent we have now? Are we overlooking his contribution? (Philly Daily News)

The Morning After: Rain Again

Rays 6 (5-1), Phillies 4 (5 innings)

Another day, another game on gameday audio. Phillies announcers were fairly good. But they kept calling them the Devil Rays and then going "oops, I mean the Rays" and laughing hysterically. That got old quick.

Only got five innings in before the rain came, but that is all that is needed to make it official. Apparently, one of the grounds crew got caught beneath the tarp when they pulled it out. The Phillies announcers yucked it up for a good minute about the misfortune of this poor girl. Gotta love spring training games on the radio.


  • The Rays beat up on Adam Eaton. Aki led off the game with a homer. Crawford and Gomes hit doubles and Bartlett legged out a triple. By the time Eaton was done the Rays were up 4 to 0.
  • Crawford hit a triple and then Pena drove him in with a homerun -- his first of what will hopefully be many this season.
  • Percival made his first appearance of the season and pitched a perfect inning.


  • Shields got roughed up just a bit, giving up a two run homer in his second inning of work.
  • Balfour gave up a two run homer to Utley. The announces said the ball landed right on the the top of the wall and then bounced into the bullpen.

Everything is looking good so far. The bats are clicking and pitching has been ok. Hopefully, we don't get too many more rainouts, the Rays are, of course, very young and need all the work they can get.


Thursday, March 6, 2008


Marc Lancaster posted a nice photo of Crawford barreling over Humberto Quintero (Rays Report).

Around the Rays Universe March 6th

  • Kaz has entered into the "3rd Phase" of his rehab. In other words, he is playing catch now (Rays Report).
  • Is it odd we have not seen Baldelli in the field yet? Reading this Joe Maddon quote I am starting to sense there may be some kind of problem. But maybe I am reading into it. It is just spring training after all (Rays Report).
“The conversations up to this point, I’m just not comfortable getting him out there [in the outfield],” said Maddon. “We would like to do it, but it just does not seem it’s appropriate right now.”
  • Apparently, Sonny got an ear infection from listening to his iPod. He fell asleep with the earphones in which clogged his pores and gave him an ear infection. Weird (The Heater).
  • The Prof thinks we should prepare ourselves for a deluge of articles about Fernando Perez overcoming his "disability." A good read (Rays Index).

The Morning After: Rays Lose First of Spring

Astros 8, Rays 4 (4-1)

Yesterday's game was on gameday audio, albeit only the Astros broadcast. The announcers were actually half-way decent. Not bad "homers," maybe because it was just a spring training game. The Hawk would be disappointed.


  • Bossman Junior ripped a double down the left field line for an RBI in the first. He then went on to hit another double to left that drove in Crawford in the 4th. Upton scored on an error on the same play.
  • Crawford bowled over Humberto Quintero, the Astros catcher, to score on Upton's double in the 4th. Cliff Floyd was telling him to get down. Gotta love Crawford's intensity in spring training.
  • Zobrist continued his hot spring. I am trying not to get too encouraged. As a commenter on Rays of Light said the other day "Zobrist hits everywhere except Major League Regular Season." A reference to his very good numbers in the minors and spring training last year, but barely .200 average for the Rays.

  • Navarro made a error on a pickoff throw that led to an unearned run in the first.
  • The defense in general did not seem very sharp. The Rays had one of the worst D's in the league last year. Hopefully, they can use spring training to work out the kinks.
  • Dohmann, although not helped by the D, did not pitch well. He gave up four runs in one inning of work.
  • The Rays left 13 men on base. Eight of which occurred in the first three innings.

Well, we all knew the Spring winning streak would not last forever. Upton looked to be in midseason form, he has to play well for the Rays to have a chance this year. It is somewhat discouraging that the defense played so poorly. But, after all it's just spring training.


Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Around the Rays Universe March 5th

  • David Price and Brian Anderson are slated to pitch for the first time on Saturday at Legends Field against the Yankees. Hopefully, some rays will show up and the stands won't be dominated by annoying NY transplants (The Heater).
  • Maddon is getting me fired up. I especially like the fact that he does not care what the general public thinks (
"Within the group, we're going to have a very high level of expectations, Maddon said. "It really doesn't matter what the general public thinks, I know what the guys think. I'm really going to refrain from stating any numbers. All I know is that what we want to see is progress. That can be measured in so many different ways, but primarily it has to be measured through wins -- no question, you've got to get more wins."
  • Aki has no problem switching to second. He just wants to help the team. Having guys like him around remind me why I am so glad Delmon is gone (Tampa Tribune)
  • Another reason to hate Red Sox fans. Some idiot Red Sox fans put a guy wearing a Yankees cap into the hospital for the simple reason that he was wearing a Yankees cap. Of course, they all jumped him at once. We wouldn't want a fair fight or anything. God, I hate Red Sox fans. (Wicked Local via The Big Lead)

The Morning After: Rain Out After 4 Innings

Another day of excitement following the "live" box score on Although Delmon Young didn't make the trip, two formers area high schoolers -- Dennard Span and Boof Bonser -- played for the Twins. Span batted leadoff and went 2 for 2 off of E-Jack with a double and a single. Bonser shut down the Rays for three innings allowing only two hits while striking out three. As most of you know we went to high school for a while with Span. I still remember him having to come into Mrs. Wilson's English class because he got booted out of his own class. Then he transferred to Tampa Catholic, played great in the state tourney, got drafted in the first round by the Twins, and held a big party at Club Joy. This was a long time ago. I am glad to see that he finally made it to the Majors. He was also a pretty good wide receiver too if I remember correctly.


  • E-Jack scattered three hits in three innings and gave up no runs.


  • Reyes struggled after replacing E-Jack. He gave up three runs in the 4th


Jackson pitched well. It seems increasingly likely that the rotation will be Kaz, Shields, Garza, Sonny, and Jackson. I am pretty sure this would be the first time that the Rays started a new season with the same rotation with which they ended the last season. This stability is a good thing for the Rays and is a direct result of using young, mostly homegrown talent.


Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Gambling on the Rays

We have made the following bets with friends about the Rays upcoming season:

1. Rays will win 80 or more games

Actually, we have two of these bets out there. One is with a Red Sox fan who found the claim preposterous that the Rays had a shot of winning 80 games. He laughed and mocked and then told us how there was no way the Rays could win 80. Like most Red Sox fans he thinks he knows about all of baseball, not just the Red Sox. Of course, he knows absolutely nothing about the Rays. He didn't even know about the Garza trade. This type of ignorant arrogance has become a hallmark of Red Sox fans and is one, of many, reasons to hate them.

The other bet was with a Tigers fan. We told him we thought the Rays could win 80. He proceeded to laugh. We told him that, of all people, Tigers fans should understand that teams which have been very bad for a very long time can become good. Of course, he agreed. But then went on to tell us that there was no parallel with the Tigers because the "Rays don't have any pitching." He is an idiot.

2. Rays will win more games than the Blue Jays

This was a risky bet, whereas the Blue Jays have quite a bit of talent. But we will be going head to head with them quite a bit, which should help to put them below .500. Plus, the Blue Jays are overrated, right? Note: we will still be rooting for the Jays if they play the Red Sox or Yankees.

3. Rays will win more games than the Brewers

Also a risky bet. The Brewers were fairly good last year. They play in a weaker division than the Rays. This bet was made mostly because we are drinking the "Rays Kool-aid." Delicious.

Throughout the season we will be back updating the standings of these bets and any trash talk that may occur.


Around the Rays Universe March 4th

  • Outs per Swing takes a detailed look at Fernando Perez. His Ivy League education and blazing speed have always been an interesting combination (Outs per Swing).
  • Cole Hamels thinks he and Scott Kazmir are pretty comparable pitchers. Kazmir got less than the Phillies have decided to renew at with Hamels. So maybe Cole should shut his pie-hole. He's got a gorgeous wife (see above) and is making 500K a year (Philly Inquirer).
  • From the recent comments of St. Pete's mayor it seems like he would support the new stadium proposal if the Rays changed there name to the St. Pete Rays. A nice analysis of the of this request by the Prof follows the quotes. No chance in hell. Let's hope this is not a sticking point for getting this thing built (Rays Index).
  • Excellent article from a Korean news service translated into English. "I want to be like Park Chan-ho" says Ryu. At least he's aiming high (Donga).

The Morning After: 4 Game Winning Streak

Unfortunately, for those of us outside of the Bay Area the audio for the game was not available through's Gameday Audio. The live stream of WHNZ 1250's website does not include major league games as stipulated by the MLB so we were out of luck. But how can we complain, we got a "live" box score. The thrill cannot be overstated.


  • We won. Four in a row.
  • Sonny came out to pitch in the ninth with a one run lead and shut the door on the Tigers. He was facing minor leaguers, but it is good he looks sharp early on regardless of the competition.
  • Gomes got two hits. One of which was a solo homer. If he wants significant playing time this season it is important that he play well in the spring or he could just wait for Rocco to get hurt.
  • Iwamura had a triple and scored a run.
  • Zobrist kept up his hot start - getting on base two out of his three plate appearances.


  • Garza faced ten batters, five of which reached base. It also took him 35 pitches to get out of the first inning . Neither of those things is a good sign. Let's hope he can get things turned around. Maybe he was trying to hard to impress his new team?
  • Willy Aybar made an error at third .
  • A number of other pitchers besides Garza pitched poorly.

A win is a win. We definitely would have liked to see a better outing for Garza, but it's early and we presume that he may have put a lot of pressure on himself. This game goes to show that the Rays can hit with anyone on any given day. If the pitching is not as consistent as we are all hoping it will be (as is often the case with a young staff), the offense should be able to pick up the slack a lot of the time. E-Jack is scheduled for the start tomorrow against Tampa's own Boof Bonser and the Twins.


Monday, March 3, 2008

Around the World: Goofy Looking White Guys That People Love

The Avenger's comments below about goofy looking white athletes (in The Obsession with Rocco Baldelli) really got me thinking. Here are some other athletes that deserve mention:

  • The Manning Brothers: The love fest for these two started way before they both had rings on their fingers.

  • Shaun White: Best Snowboarder in the World. The "Flying Tomato" has appeared in commercials ranging from Target to Hewlett Packard. I think he was hitting on my girlfriend, but that's another story...
  • Steve Nash: White MVP in the NBA, really, what's not to love?

  • An anonymous "Sports Indeed" insider: White, goofy, and adored. Get Some!


The Obsession with Rocco Baldelli

If you have ever been to a Rays game you know that the fans love them some Rocco Baldelli. One can still see more Baldelli jerseys then any other jersey, although Kazmir is definitely catching up. This got us thinking: why is Rocco Baldelli so popular? It's not like there aren't significantly more productive players on the team (i.e. Carl Crawford) or players that stay relatively healthy (see rest of team). Well here is our take on why Baldelli is so popular:

  • He is goofy looking (see above). If there is one thing people like. It's a goofy looking guy. He is not so goofy as to look weird/repulsive, but is more in the "hey, this guy looks like that nice odd kid who lived down the street and ate paint chips" category. Yes, that is a good thing.
  • He is white. Most of the people who watch baseball are white and they like to root for a white guy. This is the only way to explain Baldelli's continued popularity over CC, who seems to have much more personality and is a better baseball player than Rocco. I mean, he's a goofy-looking Italian American from Rhode Isalnd who is 6-4, runs a 4.4 40, and has a 40 inch vertical. Could there be a more appealing combination to the average baseball fan?
  • He is young. In fact, he was only 22 when he first made it to the show in 2003. Everyone likes to root for the guy who shot up through the minor leagues. It's much more fun than rooting for the guy who spent 8 years in the minors.
  • He is oft-injured. After three early seasons where he showed great promise, Rocco has been hurt. This has only caused his popularity to increase. You remember him being good and then daydream of how good he could be if he stayed healthy for a whole season. If he was actually playing everyday you wouldn't like him as much because you would be constantly reminded that he is not an all-star and has yet to put up any numbers that would suggest he will be one.
  • He was one of the first signs of hope. The first years of the franchise were marked by managing ineptitude and horrific free agent signings. After the Hit Show disaster, the presence of Baldelli gave fans hope that this thing could get turned around by developing talent through the minor league system. We believe that this year will be the first where that initial hope sparked by Baldelli and others begins to be full filled.

Around the Rays Universe March 3rd

  • Kazmir has moved to phase 2 of his "rehab." Basically, this means he has stop just sitting around and has begun to do exercises (Marc Lancaster at
  • Devil Ray Guevera currently thinks that Longoria will be on the opening day roster and that Maddon will be back next year (Rays Index).
  • A detailed look at Chad Orvella (Outs per Swing).
  • They love Rays farm prospects Ryan Royster and Mike McCormick in their hometown of Eugene, Oregon (The Register-Guard).
  • Roger Mooney (and apparently the Rays staff) agrees with Cork that the key to making the starting rotation is to throw strikes (Bradenton Hearld)
  • Some D-Bag radio hosts in Tampa had Scott Kazmir on a few days ago. Two pieces of important information: Kazmir thinks the Rays should be playing in October and that he should win 20 (You Tube).
  • Guy who is from David Price's hometown makes a "priceless" video about Price (You Tube).

The Morning After: Rays Start Spring Training 3-0

I was sitting around the apartment here in Northern Indiana doing nothing yesterday. In case you forgot, let me remind you that there is very little to do in Indiana so this is not what one would label a rare occurrence. Well, it was about 2 pm and I decided to look to see how the Rays were doing against the Pirates. I went to check out the "live box score" at While promoting a live box score is bad enough, the box score is, in fact, rather far from "live." Often there are no updates for 30 minutes at a time. "Watching" the live box score is not what one would call scintillating action. Thus, I remained bored. Until I saw a link to "audio" for the game. Now I debated whether or not to buy gameday audio since I have already decided to get Extra Innings so I can watch the games on TV. This internal debate lasted about five minutes, at which point I decided it would be worth 15 dollars not to have to watch the NBA for the next three hours.

Spring Training basbeall on the radio. We all know spring training isn't exactly an enthralling event in and of itself. Then trying to follow everything on radio -- well, let's just say that I dozed off a few times. But at least I got my Rays fix in and didn't have to watch basketball. Perhaps the most annoying part was how the announcers for 1250 whnz kept talking about what a beautiful day it was -- 80 degrees with 20% humidity I kept hearing. It was 30 degrees here yesterday, which may seem bad, but is actually the warmest it has been in about two months. I miss Tampa.

At any rate, the Rays won 7-5 (3-0).


  • Bossman Junior got two extra base hits. Of course, one should have been a flyout, but whatever loser was playing center for Pirates lost the ball in the sun. Apparently, it fell about a foot away from him.
  • Navi got a hit in his first action of the season
  • Even though he pitched only one inning Neimann allowed no runs.
  • Believe it or not, Ryu pitched well allowing no runs over two innings.
  • Houser came in and shut things down in the ninth after Wade Davis let things get a little dicey (see lowlights).
  • They won -- third in a row. I know it's spring training, but small victories are good things as a Rays fan.
  • Evan Longoria came back down to earth going 0-2 with a walk.
  • Navi got caught going from first to third. Apparently, he would have been safe except for the fact that he "overslid" the bag. Maybe he should just take it easy for the first couple weeks of spring training. We need him over the long haul.
  • Joel Guzman injured his thumb, but apparently it is only a bruise.
  • Wade Davis got shelled and had to get pulled in the 9th because he was about to lose the game for us. He and McGee have both had a rough time during their first outings this spring.


Does it really matter that the Rays are 3-0 to start the spring? No, it does not really matter. But being a winning ballclub takes a certain attitude. That attitude is being instilled into the rest of the team by two of our veteran free agent signings -- Troy Percival and Cliff Floyd. But at the same time, just hearing about it from teammates is not enough. The young Rays need to learn how to win and experience what it feels like to win. Spring Training is a good time for them to get used to the idea of winning and learn how to keep it up. For veteran teams (Yankees) or teams that have had recent success (Rockies) spring games hold almost no import. But for the Rays, I think it is nearly critical for them to continue their winning ways and set a precedent going into the opening series against Baltimore.


Sunday, March 2, 2008

Our Very Own Tampa Bay Rays!

As you scant readers may have noticed this blog has mostly focused on football at both the collegiate and pro level. A variety of angles (from humor to reporting to analysis) have been used in our discussion of football. While we plan to continue writing in diverse styles, we have decided to switch focuses to the Tampa Bay Rays. This will of course be a huge disappointment to our loyal readers who eagerly away our monthly post. However, we feel that our original, interesting take on all things Rays will keep these readers while hopefully attracting new ones.

Why the Rays? Well, all of us met at Hillsborough High School in Tampa. We have been baseball fans our whole lives (still remember the day they said we were getting the "Tampa Bay Giants."). More importantly, we have been Rays fans from day one of the franchise and will continue to be fans. Thus, the writing will often be biased because it is from the perspective of long term fans. We feel there is enough objective baseball analysis out there. We need more sites for and by Rays fans (no slight to RaysIndex or Rays of Light). The new owner group has infused optimism in the long time fans and its time we shared this feeling with other Rays fans throughout the country and world (any international Rays fans out there)? Some of us still live in Tampa, while others have moved to disparate parts of the country. We hope this multi-regional analysis will bring about some interesting insights into the state of "rays universe." Universe>Nation therefore Rays>Red Sox. Foolproof.