- Disappointing crowd for a sunday afternoon game against the current AL East division leader (admittedly, not even Orioles fans expect that to be the case for much longer).
- It's clear that the Rays' ticket office uses the same formula for reported attendance as every other professional and college team: Season ticket sales + Sales for just that game + Player's and coach's guests + a random number that the supervisor throws in just for shits and giggles = Reported attendance. No, I'm not kidding.
- A number of Rays fans left right after the 6-run 5th inning. That's after the Rays scored 6 runs, not the O's. Did they not watch a single game last season? Were they not aware of how bad our bullpen is capable of being? I don't even have a term for these people, fair weather only works when your team is losing the game.
- Parking is no longer free, unless you have 4 or more in your vehicle. Luckily, we were rolling 5 deep in the Durango. Cha-Ching.
- A significant number of fans still rocked the devil ray green, including myself, but the vast majority has gone out and purchased the new gear. Very impressive. My guess is that the $2 million price tag of the name/logo/color change has been more than made up by the spike in apparel sales.
- The "Value Meal" at the concession stands advertises that you can get a hot dog, a drink, and a "snack" for $6. Right below you see the list for "snacks," which include soft pretzel, nachos, roasted peanuts, etc... Do not be fooled by any of this, the value meal "snack" = cracker jacks. I can think of one Rays the Roof writer who was none too pleased with this turn of events, maybe I should have sprung for the $10 cheesesteak sandwich. Maybe, except for the fact that my value meal came with....
- .... a healthy amount of delicious karma. Let me set the scene for you: one of my friends at the game is an orioles fan, we went to get food at the same time, I was in front of him in line, he witnessed my cracker jack-related debacle, he says out loud "That doesn't look so good anymore, I think I'll just get the heater hot dog (a footlong chili cheese dog)", to which I respond "Don't you make me the f-ing guinea pig, you better order the f-ing value meal and be as miserable as me", he doesn't listen and orders the heater, we get back to our seats just in time to watch the Rays drop 6 on the O's. Justice is apparently a dish best served with cracker jacks and a normal-sized hot dog.
- Number of times I yelled "That's karma, bitch" and "How's that heater taste now?" at my buddy: Incalculable.
- I hadn't had cracker jacks in years, and they were actually really good.
Alright, on to the game:
- Neimann was just tremendous. He worked himself out of a bases loaded, one out jam in the 1st inning unscathed, scattered 6 hits over 6 innings, gave up only one run, and earned a win in his first major league start. Bravo you enormous hoss, bravo.
- When a 6'9" pitcher throws a breaking ball that ends up as a called strike, I stand up and take notice. The downward break on that pitch is just plain silly.
- J.P Howell, yeesh. He started the 7th inning and proceeded to load the bases without recording a single out. Super.
- Dan Wheeler and Trever Miller, this tandem was worthy of game MVP considerations. Wheeler relieved Howell and wound up only letting one of the runs score, while recording 2 outs. Miller then came in and shut the door.
- Bossman Junior jacked what looked like a pitch from batting practice into the left field stands and turned a nice 3-run inning into a 6-run pounding.
- Crawford stealing a base never gets old. Crawford stealing 3rd base is especially fun.
- Bossman Junior needs to learn to call his teammates off. I know the coaches have told him to go and get any ball he thinks he can get to, but he almost collided with Crawford and Bartlett during this game. His confidence and athleticism are impressive, but these near-injury causing plays have got to stop. We've got enough guys on the DL already.
Any day the Rays spend .500 or above is a good day. The win got them their first home series (actually any series) win of the season, which is especially important. If we truly have dreams of rooting for a .500 or better team this year, they need to protect the Trop. Good win, fellas, can't wait to come back.