Indians 3, Devil Rays 2.
On a day when the Rays would lose their season-high seventh straight game, there was some good news that came from the Devil Rays clubhouse. While one could argue that there were 3-4 players with statistics more worthy of the All-Star game, when manager Jim Leyland needed to select a player to represent the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, he chose Carl Crawford…and it was absolutely the correct choice.
Crawford has strong numbers so far this season, but they are below what many have come to expect to the young left fielder. At the half-way point of the 2007 season, in a year many expected Crawford to breakout, his numbers are down across the board. Leyland could have easily selected another player like Carlos Pena (3rd in AL in home runs despite 80 fewer at bats than most full-time players), or Al Reyes (17-18 in save opportunities) or Brendan Harris (.308-8-34). But there would have been no benefit to the franchise to have a 37 year old journeyman reliever or two players that were cast-offs from other teams, represent the Devil Rays in the All-Star game.
In the end, Leyland went with the most talented player on the team. Leyland went with the future of the team and the face of a franchise that desperately needs a new national image. For the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, the pieces are starting to fall in place and this is a team on the rise. But to the casual fan, the Devil Rays are still the same unlovable losers they have always been.
As the team’s most talented and most recognizable player, Carl Crawford is the face of the franchise. With a contract that will have him in a Devil Rays uniform through at least the next three seasons, Carl Crawford is the future of the franchise. He is the one player that Devil Rays fans will be excited to see playing in the All-Star game. He is the one Devil Ray that casual fans will be interested to see play, perhaps for the first time. And if Crawford can hit one of his trademark triples and a national TV audience can see the speed and the talent, maybe…just maybe…the Devil Rays can take a step towards no longer being the laughing stock of the Major Leagues.
Of course then we get to hear all the Yankees, Mets and Red Sox fans talk about how such a talented player like C. C. should be playing for their respective teams. And we will have to deal with laughable trade suggestions of six mediocre AA pitching prospects, and how the Rays would be “crazy” to turn it down. So let us save them some trouble now…Why don’t you throw in one or two of your six over-the-hill, over-priced, under-performing, oft-injured veterans that you can’t stand anymore and we have a deal.
DEVIL RAYS WEBTOPIA…
- Apparently, having to travel all the way to Legends Field and having to play five innings in a rehab assignment for the Vero Beach Rays, can be taxing on a player . BJ Upton say out his second scheduled rehab start because he was “fatigued”. He returned to the lineup on Saturday and went 0-2. He did not return to the game after a rain delay. Our assumption is that he was asleep in the clubhouse. Upton will now report to Durham and his scheduled return on Tuesday has been pushed back.
- Juan Salas has been transferred from Montgomery to Durham. He is eligible to return to the Devil Rays on Tuesday.
- David Price was named the winner of the 2007 Golden Spikes award given to the best amateur baseball player.