Marlins Rays Baseball

Time to bring back the GBT – The Good, The Bad and The Telling sandwich, where The Bad is nice and lean and the The Telling is ripe.

click above image for boxscore

THE GOOD: Top O’ The Order. 1-2-3 is really starting to cook. Last night they were a combined 6-13 with 5 RBI and 4 runs scored…The Bullpen. We haven’t crunched the numbers yet, but for the past month, this bullpen has been on fire and is as good, if not better than the ’08 version. Last night, 4 pitchers combined to shutout the Marlins over the final 7 outs…James Shields. It wasn’t his best night, but good pitchers overcome nights without their best stuff and despite 9 hits and 2 walks, Shields kept the Rays in the game…BJ Upton. It was a huge double that put the Rays up for good, so we won’t mention how he stood at the plate for a moment to watch the majestic flight of his double nor will we mention how he dogged it for a few steps before turning on the speed. Nope. Won’t mention it.

THE BAD: Uh Oh. Remember when Carl Crawford had like 800 straight steals without being caught? Last night he was caught stealing for the 6th time. Granted a couple came on pickoffs. But one has to worry a bit that all this running and the Field Turf are starting to take their tole on CC’s legs…Dioner Navarro. For those that have been here a while, you know we have long been supporters of Dioner Navarro. Mainly, because even when he couldn’t hit, he played good D. We don’t know what happened this year. He has been horrible behind the plate. Last night’s attempt to block the plate on the throw from center looked like something a high schooler would do, one-handing the ball. Horrible.

THE TELLING: Evan Longoria was back in the lineup after missing a game with a sore hamstring…There are only 3 teams in MLB right now with 40 wins who are not in first place. All 3 of those teams reside in the AL East.

SUNBURST PLAYER OF THE GAME: BJ Upton

DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • We ran a “Happy Hour” post last night with a bunch of links in case you missed it. [Rays Index]
  • In case you missed our post late last night, Andy Sonnanstine has been demoted to Durham and Winston Abreu has been designated for assignment to make room for Scott Kazmir and Chad Bradford. [The Heater]
  • Marc Topkin has some quotes from Joe Maddon and Scott Kazmir [St. Pete Times]
  • In the same piece is a blurb about an apparent fight between a Phillies player and a fan after the game Thursday. Police were called. No word on which player was involved. [St. Pete Times]
  • Not surprising, St. Pete Mayor Rick Baker had some choice words about the possibility of the Rays moving to Tampa, even threatening to go to court if needed. [Tampa Tribune]
  • On Thursday night, the umpires used video to review whether a ground-rule double was actually fan interference. Yesterday, MLB said the umpires erred in using video for that purpose. [SI.com]
  • And the Phillies are apparently pissed off…We are not sure why. It’s not like the league caught one of the Rays juicing and still let him play in the series. [Daily News]
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/baseball/mlb/06/26/umpires.replay.ap/index.html

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20 Comments

  1. Charles says:

    Good luck to The Duke. I think the team made the right call on this one, but it still sucks to see one of the good guys have to take the bullet. Hopefully he gets himself straight and comes back better for it.

  2. bobrittner says:

    I think we need to get off the comments about Upton not hustling out of the batter’s box. With a few exceptions every ballplayer does pretty much the same thing. Kudos to those few who don’t. I hate seeing ballplayers stare at their hits before running, but there is no reason to single out a particular one. For all I know they may be gauging the possibilities to maximize the opportunity, but legitimate or not, it is (and by the way always has been despite nostalgic misrememberings) the standard practice.

    I do think it worthwhile to toss some praise to Bartlett for beating out the DP in the 8th. But Upton is no different from the overwhelming majority of ballplayers, and he most certainly does hustle in the situations that demand it. He is quite the opposite of a lazy or indifferent ballplayer, noted for his dedication to hard work and study of the game. You can see that clearly in his conversations with umpires and his aggressiveness on the basepaths and in the outfield.

    Harping on his tendency to lope out of the box on some plays is worthy of the Heater’s contributors and talk radio ravings. It should have no place in a thoughtful conversation site.

    Crawford was caught on a pitchout and nearly beat it out. I didn’t see evidence of him slowing down, and he certainly ran hard in the outfield.

    As for Dioner, he looked awful on that play at the plate and in his first two ABs, but he really stroked that single off the wall, and to his credit was not lured into swinging at bad pitches in the 8th as he has been doing all year. That walk, which became intentional only after he held back on 3 pitches, was crucial to the victory.

    • I have been critical of BJ and I have defended him. Sometimes it just appears that he isn’t giving max effort bc he makes it look so easy, but sometimes he dogs it. And that was the second time this week he absolutely dogged it. And if somebody else dogs it, I will criticize them also, as I did eRlier this week with Crawford. Do lots of players do it? Sure. And you know, there is nothing that angers fans more.

      • Toby says:

        Every night I see players loafing down the line on routine plays, even routine singles. Usually it is only pointed out when a player gets thrown out or cant take an extra base.

        This is getting ridiculous though. If you are going to get on a player for not going 100% even when nothing comes of it, then start doing it on all players…. When Zobrist beat out that ball at 2nd against the phillies the other night, Burrell was loafing out of the box. When Kapler made that unbelievable slide(that you actually referenced the following day) he was jogging watching to see if the LF would catch his ball, then turned it up once he saw it was missed.

        While I would prefer guys ustle every time, it just doesnt happen any more. Any the public’s constant emphasis on one particular player is pretty interesting considering a majority of players do it. And the insinuation he is lazy is interesting as well. I didnt want to believe it initially, but now I am starting to wonder if a white guy like Longoria would be catching the same heat.

        • “And then it was Gabe Kapler who, we don’t even know what he was doing. He was thrown out lollygagging around third base on Ben Zobrist’s infield single to end the rally in the 4th. Of course, the Rays lost by 1″

          It took me 1.2 seconds to find that passage from a post I wrote on April 11th. So as to your insinuation that my criticism of Upton is racially motivated: Go To Hell.

          If you had spent any time around here at all, then you would know that I am not afraid to criticize ANY players.

          • Toby says:

            Go to hell? First, I didnt directly accuse you of the racial aspect.

            Secondly, reread my post. You only attacked Kapler when it turned into an out. Criticize him for clearly loafing when he had to make a remarkable slide into 2nd base against the Phillies to be called safe. You criticize BJ even when outs arent made, so do it for everyone.

            I clearly said you were criticizing BJ even when outs arent being made, yet arent subjecting other players to your same tired tirades. Then you go and point out you criticized Kapler when he was thrown out. Maybe you’ll have the decency to admit you arent holding all of the players to the same level of “hustle”…

        • and here is me defending Upton last Summer

          “We are of the belief that it is easy for a very athletic person to look like they are giving less than 100% just as it always seems like people that are not very gifted athletically are giving their all because their movements are less “natural” and look more labored.”

          To which we will also add that it was Upton that was benched by Maddon last year for dogging it. Upton and Delmon Young are the only players Maddon has ever benched for not hustling. Is Maddon a racist?

          • Toby says:

            Listen, I never said BJ shouldnt hustle more. I think all of the players should hustle more.

            But the people that turn a blind eye to most of the Rays that dont hustle, yet call BJ “lazy” I certainly have a problem with.

          • I never called BJ lazy so don’t put that crap in quotes. Second, BJ has a long track record of loafing. So much so, that he was benched. So he doesn’t get the benefit of the doubt. And again, when I see ANY of the Rays do something worth criticizing I will criticize.

            Finally, it was me that criticized BJ. It was you that implied it was racially motivated.

          • Amanda says:

            Look, Cork, you’re dealing with a generation that grew up learning that if you point out a flaw in somebody, you’re either “hurting their feelings” or you’re “full of hate.” And then again, part of our generation has taught them that. I know you say some things critical of B.J. and the rest of the team because you LIKE them and that you want them to play up to their capabilities.

            That’s why I like reading your commentary. You’re honest and balanced. The gang here has great fun when things are going good, but you’re even-handedly critical when things turn south. So if you’re reading this, and you don’t think you can handle constructive criticism of the players you hero-worship, why don’t you just find you’re self a nice sheep site where you can all bleet together, where everything is hunky-dory and A-OK 100 percent of the time.

    • Sublime says:

      Bob,

      I rarely agree with your point of view, but Kudos to this post, I am in complete and utter agreement! There is nothing for me to say, Bob said it all! :-)

  3. MikeD says:

    How long has it been since Michel started, or played, for that matter? Time to give him another shot – seems to me Navi did better after Michel started a few games, a month or so ago. As for Sonny, maybe a Durham slot will revitalize him – too soon to tell, of course, with Kaz, but at least the hype has been positive (but isn’t it always?).

  4. wesley says:

    Before I begin this, I want to make it clear that I don’t intend to offend anyone with what I’m going to say and ask. I’m asking this here because out of any discussions, blogs, etc. that Ive found, raysindex and it commentors seem to be the only rays’s fans ive come across that are actual baseball fans.

    i’m a philadelphian currently living in clearwater while my fiance, a florida resident, finishes her degree for dirt cheap, and was at 2 out of 3 games in this weeks series between the rays and my phillies. i left that series with some comments and a few questions for some educated rays fans (ie. you guys here)

    first: i had low expectations coming into tropicana field, as the media makes it sound like somebody smeared shit all over the metrodome, set it on fire and released airborn herpes. but i have to say, i was impressed. granted, its really weird for me to see baseball inside and on a carpet, its really clear how much money the organization has put into making it fan friendly and pleasing to the eye as a dome can be.

    ive seen the plans for the new stadium, and to be honest i prefer what you have now. i for one, wouldnt want to be sitting outside for 3 hours during a florida summer. the air conditioning inside that dome ruled.

    ok, so now onto the questions that i have. again, i’m not trying to be offensive, just curious.

    1. does it bother you guys that an above average percentage of people that attend rays games probably haven’t been to a baseball game before their playoff run last year and don’t fully understand the basic rules of baseball?

    some examples i overheard:
    2nd game of the series right after burrells 2 run shot a guy a few seats behind me spent the next 20 minutes yelling “nice catch stairs!” i finally turned to him and pointed out that matt stairs didnt bobble a catch, and doesnt have go go gadget arms to reach 10 rows back to make an out, and that he should be shittalking joe blanton’s pitching in that situation.

    later in that game: while i was in line for a beer, some guy in line behind me starts in on me with all this nonsense about there being 28 years since the last phillies championship. i asked him how many championships the rays had won. guy gets silent for a moment, like hes deep in thought and says to me “06 right? we beat the cardinals, right?”

    game 3: 2 guys behind me having a conversation, both in those $100 personalized jerseys and the following was overheard “i hope we play the yankees in the world series” i kept my mouth shut, but died a little inside.

    2. does anyone else find the blue wigs, trumpets and cowbells to be really annoying and take alot away from the experience of going to a ballgame?

    and lastly 3. why is everyone so angry?

    as a phillies fan, i hate the mets. ive been to my fair share of mets games, and their fans do come down to philly in decent numbers. there’s alot of shittalk, but most of it is pretty playful. yeah, ive seen fights, but its usually when an asshole phils fan and an asshole mets fan have had a bit too much to drink and take shit a little too seriously. it happens, but its not the norm.

    i also understand that there is obvious resentment for the turnout of the fall classic, but that falls entirely on the way both teams played, not on myself or any other person wearing a phils hat in the stands.

    ive never in any opposing teams ballpark been threatened, namecalled or any of the other treatment i had to deal with coming into these games. i had a few brief conversations with rays fans sitting around me, held onto one guys camera for him while he grabbed food, etc, and i found there to be alot of really friendly people around. on the other hand, i got called or was told the following while walking through the concourse, walking back to the car after the game, etc. etc.

    “faggot phillies fan”
    “cocksmoking phillies fan”
    “go back to phillly motherfucker”
    “im going to stab the next phillies fan i see”
    there were a few more

    i really hope this isn’t the norm and i just had shit luck with the people i encountered.

    with all that said, good luck to your rays on the field the rest of this season.

    w.

    • Jim says:

      First off, I think most of the people that rag on the trop haven’t been there. The most common comment I hear from first timers was something along the lines of surprise at how much they enjoyed it there.

      Now, to your questions.

      1) Yes, but the Rays need fans. Most fans don’t come until a team starts playing well. We’ve seen it with other franchises, even if their fans won’t admit it. If your team has always sucked, it is really hard to pull for them night in and night out. It takes time to develop a good fan base, so while I cringe when some of our fans don’t know Longoria plays third or something like that, I look at it as a necessary evil.

      2) I don’t mind the cowbells, but I think in general noisemakers are something that gets the newer fans to pay attention to the game. It’s along the lines of the jumbo-tron displaying “DE-FENSE” at basketball games.

      3) Sorry you saw that behavior, but I think it happens at a lot of ballparks. I think with every fan base, 20% of them are assholes and they are usually the most vocal. For every 5 fans you walked past, 4 probably went about their business or maybe gave you a good natured taunt, but that 1 asshole will stick out.

    • bobrittner says:

      My guess is that you are a victim of small sample size. Actually, as a New Yorker and Yankee fan for over 55 years who began to follow the Rays from their inception and became fully converted in 2006 when I moved here, I have found Rays fans to be generally as well informed and insightful about the game as NY fans. In fact, as a regular reader of Rays’ blogs for a few years now, I have been pleasantly surprised at the sophistication of a large proportion of the fans who post on them, and find the dialogue generally more interesting and readable than on similar sites in NY and elsewhere.

      As for attitudes toward the Phillies and their fans, although I had no problem, a number of people I know have told me they thought the Philly fans were particularly obnoxious. My guess is they were in a similar situation as you found yourself, remembering and being most impressed by the particularly nasty ones. I think such feelings are exacerbated for die-hard Rays’ fans because so many people here are transplants who retain loyalty to their old teams rather than supporting the Rays. While I understand and appreciate the reasons for remaining fans of the Phillies or Yankees or Red Sox, I also find it irritating to attend home games where I am in the minority and can empathize with those who are resentful while deprecating their rudeness.

      I agree with you that Tropicana Field is unfairly maligned, but also think the Rays have to get a new ball park. As for air conditioning, I really miss the point there, I suppose. I go to minor league games all the time, and am perfectly comfortable in the summer evenings. In fact, I find it absolutely delightful with warm breezes wafting over me on most nights. In any case, the new stadium plans included techniques for alleviating extreme heat to keep it comfortable, and whenever the new plans are presented, I imagine they too will include means for moderating temperatures.

    • Michael says:

      Because Philly fans (Eagles, Phillies, Flyers) are a paragon of virtue, right? I would never participate in some of the things you describe but part of me is pretty happy Rays fans were giving it back after some of the stories from the World Series. At least your grandson didn’t get a beer dumped on his head like happened during the Series. If getting called names and verbally abused is the worst thing that happened to you, I don’t think you have much room to complain considering the treatment all opposing fans get in Philadelphia.

  5. Jim says:

    Totally off subject on this post, but isn’t everybody glad the Rays didn’t sign Bradley?

    ‘Bradley blamed himself for his poor start (.237 batting average), and conceded he didn’t realize how “overwhelming” it would be to be a focus of attention on the North Side.

    “People are always watching and looking at everything I’m doing,” he said. “My personality is more of a guy [who likes to] go unnoticed — to show up, do my job and go home, and really not have a whole lot of hoopla about it.’

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/cubs/chi-27-cubs-milton-bradley-side-jun27,0,3980703,print.story

    How much attention you think he would have gotten during the Rays initial slump this season?

  6. Corbitt says:

    Wesley,

    I, personally, don’t take issue with the lack of baseball knowledge around here yet. While a lot of organizations have the jump on us(despite spring training and minor leagues), one can’t expect to put thousands of people in a place that all understand baseball within 12 years of it being in the area on a nightly basis. Plus, in my opinion, there’s no better way to learn a game than to go to it.

    As for the cowbells and blue wigs and whatnot, that’s our identity really. I only bring the bells against the Red Sox personally, but it’s a connection people make to the team over the last few years. If I am correct, it all started because we used to play the old cowbell SNL sketch at games and people just picked up on the cowbell thing.

    As for why people are angry, well as you know it’s not everyone but there are a few reasons. Being fans in a transplant market brings with it the passionate fans of the northeast that have moved down here. Now while I’ve met plenty of nice people that root for the Yankees, Red Sox and Phillies, the bad fans are far more noticeable, and a young fan base, well they learn from example. The recent series and outcome just adds more animosity for some against the Phils. As someone who grew up and lives near the Phils minor league and spring home I always liked the team. That greatly lessened by the series obviously, but mostly due to the obnoxious members of the fan base that would yell disparaging remarks at me and mine at the games while just tailgating before a game. Now that’s no excuse, but reasoning. I still support the Phils minor league team, personally. On a side note, the nicest of the big fan bases that have come to support a visiting team here that I’ve met were Cubs fans.

    I think in the long run, you had some bad luck that coincides with a little extra distaste from the series. I definitely would encourage you to come out to games more often and enjoy a game that didn’t feature as much animosity. Also if you overhear people with errant knowledge of the game, politely inform them of the proper rule or educate them on history. People can’t learn if no one helps put them on the right path.

  7. Rayhawk says:

    To Bob’s comments , which i thought were great, at least now these fans are trying to get into it, I would to games 98-2005 and just shoot my self. We cant make noise, we need to just sit here like its our living room, while im horse from yelling at an opposing player. “your mother swam after troop ships” or hey ump look through the bars not at them. But during the cubs game to young USF kids from Chi Town were f this and f- that all night so i started clanking the cowbell behind my head,,Thanks Hilda.

    Cowbells were introduced in Dodgertown, in 1948 Hilda would also send notes to the manager about who should be playing, and she gave them to the center fielder..its not perfect, but neither is Philli, except for So. Philli, and the outdoor market…;o)

  8. MikeD says:

    Sooo, the Phillie was Romero, and the beef was over a juicing remark – http://www.tampabay.com/sports/baseball/ml/article1013913.ece

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