It was supposed to be just another meaningless home finale on Monday night against the Evil Empire. But something amazing happened. It only took 156 games. 156 games. Well, 154 games if you count the two where Joe Maddon took a mini-vacation with his girlfriend. But, if you missed it last night because your significant other was making you watch The Bachelor, Joe Maddon finally snapped. And its about time. Maddon and pitching coach Mike Butcher were ejected in the first inning after Butcher questioned the locations of Jae Seo’s pitches. It was only the third ejection for Maddon this season (Lou Piniella could get three ejections in his sleep), but this was the most memorable. Butcher had to be restrained after being shoved by one umpire and then returning the favor. By this point Maddon was nose to nose with the home plate umpire gradually moving the umpire backwards until he was nearly pinned against the backstop, at which point the home plate umpire, Alfonso Marquez, appears to shove his head into Maddon’s cap. Either he was trying to back Maddon up or he was trying to make it appear as if Maddon had hit him with his cap. Either way, it was clear that Marquez initiated the contact…Still, the important point is that Maddon apparently is capable of getting in the grill of an umpire. After most questionable calls this season, Joe Maddon seems more inclined to compliment the umpire’s wife on her cooking than to actually argue the call. Most of the time, he is too lazy to even leave the dugout, choosing instead to yell niceties at the umpire from the top step of the dugout…Oh by the way, Jae Seo had his worst outing of the season, allowing 8 runs in 1.2 innings and the Rays lost to the Spankees 16-1. The Rays lone run came on Ty Wiggington’s 24th home run of the season.
- Its a minor point, but last night the Blue Jays beat the Red Sox 5-0. Normally, this game would have little significance for two disappointing teams that have already been eliminated from the playoffs. However, with the win, the Jays moved ahead of the Sox into second place in the AL East. Why is that significant? In every year of the Rays existence, the Yankees have finished first in the division and the Red Sox have finished second. That streak could end this season. Further evidence that the Red Sox have just rolled over and are now playing dead.
- The Rays have six games remaining and need to win three to avoid 100 losses. All six games are on the road where the Rays are 2-26 since the All-Star break.
- The Tampa chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America named Carl Crawford the Rays MVP and James Shields was named rookie of the year.
- Two Devil Rays minor leaguers were named to the all-level minor league All-Star team. Reid Brignac was named as the teams shortstop, and Juan Salas was the only relief pitcher named to the team. In addition, Kevin Witt was named as the DH to the AAA All-Star team and Eliot Johnson was named as the second baseman for the AA All-Star team along with Salas. Along with Brignac, Chris Nowak was named to the High-A All-Star team as a first baseman. Jeremy Hellickson was one of four starting pitchers named to the short-season All-Star team, and catcher Nevin Ashley was named a rookie level All-Star.