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 mlb.com. 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 mlb.com 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.