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

RAYS 5, RED SOX 3

THE GOOD: Red Sox Roadkill. According to CoolStandings.com the Red Sox still have a 6.2% shot at making the playoffs. That’s being generous. In reality, the Red Sox season ended this weekend. Dan Johnson put them on life-support and Carl Crawford and James Shields pulled the plug last night. Even if the Rays go just 16-16 in their final 32, the Red Sox would have to finish 22-9 just to tie. How unlikely is that? The Rays still have 13 games against the Orioles, the Mariners and the Royals. Meanwhile, the Red Sox still have 16 games against the Yankees, White Sox and Rays. Yes, it is safe to say, the Red Sox are roadkill…Dan Johnson. It was shades of 2008. DJ just knows how to raise his game against the Red Sox when the Rays need it more. And now, 3 of his 4 home runs in a Rays uniform have come against the Red Sox. Let’s just hope that he doesn’t turn back into a pumpkin until after next week’s series in Fenway…BJ Upton. He was 0-4 last night, but we didn’t want to go without mentioning his home run from Saturday night which has been overshadowed by Dan Johnson’s big blast. If not for Upton double-clutching and then crushing a Clay Buchholz curveball, Johnson may never get a chance to recreate his role as Red Sox killer. Upton now has 5 home runs in August. That is his biggest single month since October, 2008.

THE BAD: Attendance. There were only 23,438 tickets sold for last night’s game, and there were probably less than 20,000 in The Trop. Of course, much of that can be blamed on ESPN moving the game to 8pm on a school night. The rest can probably be blamed on bandwagon Red Sox fans that have never even been to Boston and have now jumped ship.

THE TELLING: Carl Crawford is just the 8th big leaguer with 100 home runs, 100 triples and 400 steals…Yesterday was James Shields’ 145th career start and 56th career win. Both broke Scott Kazmir’s franchise records…The Charlotte Stone Crabs extended their minor league affiliation with the Rays through the 2012 season…Catcher Nevin Ashley was promoted to Durham.

WHERE THEY STAND: The Rays are 80-50, tied with the Yankees for first place in the AL East. They are 6.5 games ahead of the Red Sox in the wild card (7 in the loss column). After 130 games in 2008, the Rays were 79-51.

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • We are traveling today. RI will return a normal schedule tomorrow.
  • Dan Johnson talks about his walk-off home run Saturday Night (Video). [The Heater]
  • Here is video of Dan Johnson getting the shaving pie treatment after is big blast on Saturday night (Video). [Sun Sports]
  • Durham pitching coach Xavier Hernandez will join Houston Baptist University next season as an assistant coach. Hernandez had previously coached at HBU. [Houston Baptist]
  • The Biz of Baseball explains how the Rays are an example of how revenue sharing works. And also notes that the Rays need new revenue streams (e.g. a new stadium) if they are to maintain their current level of success. [The Biz of Baseball]
  • Noah Pransky argues that the Rays revenue problems are not a problem of the Tampa Bay market, but a problem inherent to Major League Baseball. [Shadow of the Stadium]
  • Mark Simon compares the defensive abilities of Evan Longoria and Adrian Beltre. Longoria has 54 “good defensive plays” this season. That is second only to David Wright (64). [ESPN]
  • Jeff Niemann was mic’d up on Saturday night (Video). [Sun Sports]
  • Joe Maddon said that the first of two waves of minor leaguers to be promoted after Sept. 1 will include 4-5 players, one of which will be a catcher (Dioner Navarro). Jeremy Hellickson and Brad Hawpe are also expected to be in the first group. A second group will join the Rays after the Bulls complete their playoff run. [St. Pete Times]
  • Grant Balfour is battling some rust and may not be back on Sept. 1 as originally expected. [Tampa Tribune]
  • JB Long sat down with Joaquin Benoit and talked about his strong comeback season (Video). [Bright House Sports]
  • Manny Ramirez is expected to join the White Sox today. [MLB Trade Rumors]

DOWN ON THE FARM

  • Check out Rays Prospects for boxscores and more detailed recaps. [Rays Prospects]

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23 Comments

  1. Don says:

    Dan Johnson had one leg on the bus back to the minors half way thru the game on Sat night, that is… if I didn’t try to kill him first after his many strike outs….BUT…
    He does seem to have the ability to pull up that little extra in tough situations…a coincidence? doesn’t look like it…
    He could be very valuable as a late inning pinch hitter or even DH in the future…who cares about his fielding..Without him….in this series what happens???
    Attendance would have been 30,000+ or sell out on Sun. afternoon….family day?
    How many familys had to go to school/work today (Mon)..instead of going to baseball games till midnight on Sun. BUT the national exposure (ESPN) was worth it!

  2. brian h says:

    The only problem with the national exposure was, ESPN took tha opporunity to expose our attendance problem with out explainging the regional issues. It was more ammo for the national media and mindset that there we are not a good baseball market.

    I personally thought this game was gunna be huge. So rare to have a sunday night game. I think it might be our biggest indivual attendance dissappointment to date.

    • Don says:

      You don’t understand the work/school habits of the general public… plus the elder people who love day games….sporting events till 11:00pm/midnight on SUN night is NOT prime time…no matter what ML baseball or media types think!

      • brian h says:

        I understand it. but this was a pennant race game, against a bitter division rival, in the national spotlight. My point is not that there arent reasons for the attendance being what it is sunday night but that it is a dissappointment. Ownership will point to this game when the stadium talk becomes more heated. As they should.
        Although I understand why it is the way it is currently, its proof there needs to be some changes made, that being the location of the stadium. I know whole heartedly that this is a great baseball market, this organazition is still in its infancy compared to some of the other franchises rich history’s.

  3. d-money says:

    I love they kept saying how they couldn’t understatnd why the game wasn’t sold out because it was Sunday night Baseball. Like that was some magical gift that was bestowed upon us by ESPN and MLB.

    I would have much rather listened to Dewayne and Kevin and watched the game yesterday afternoon. I’m sure the turnout would have been much higher for the usual family day afternoon game.

    Its nice to have the Rays showcased on a national stage but as far as I’m concerned they can take their Sunday night Baseball and shove it.

  4. Brett says:

    Anybody notice when one of the ESPN guys referred to the Rays and the Jays? I think it was during the 6th or 7th inning.

  5. Brett says:

    *correction- “referred to the Rays as the Jays”

  6. d-money says:

    Does MLB give an award for comeback player of the year like the NFL? If they don’t they should create one just for Joaquin Benoit.

  7. Gus says:

    When you have a small season ticket base, moving to a late time on a school night will drive the gate negative. Premium pricing for Red Sox games doesn’t help matters. Other two games drew better.

    But the crowd was still loud, and the Trop will be a great playoff advantage, especially if the Rays can win the AL East.

    And I don’t care if there are 5,000 in there, when they play like that, the team should be the story, not 2011 contracts, stadium leases or attendance. This is a great story — David v. Goliaths.

    Getting contributions from guys like Upton and Dan Johnson is what teams need to do to win pennants.

  8. Kelsey says:

    Next time a Rays game is on espn (which will probably be the next time we play Boston or New York) I am putting my tv on mute!! All those guys care about is the Yanks and Red Sox.. they start to try and give us a compliment and the other guy takes it away buy trying to say the Red Sox are still in the race. Then they hate on our attendance.. a lot of other teams have worse attendance and it was 8 pm on a school night or else usually Sunday afternoon games are packed with kids.. Red Sox may sell out games but that doesnt make them a better team!!! GO RAYS!!

  9. Rob says:

    As much as Joe Morgan annoys me, he did point out that there weren’t as many Red Sox fans as usual and he more or less said that if the Red Sox have a chance at the postseason, it’s because the YANKS lack the starting pitching that the Rays have.

  10. Hal says:

    For the first time ever, I actually longed for the sound of Kevin Kennedy’s voice. I guess ESPN’s idea of prep is to tape a conversation between Joe Morgan and CC and play a couple of clips of it. They seemed to lack even a cursory understanding of the Rays and highlighting the attendance was weak. Most Sunday day games draw well – I would have been there with my kids if the game kicked off at the normal time. One slip of “Jays” is o.k. – but multiple????

  11. Thad says:

    Can’t wait until the Rays build a brand new, state of the art, retro themed, retractable roof stadium in Westshore or South Tampa or next to RayJay or Downtown Tampa or Ybor or anywhere NOT IN PINELLAS COUNTY and shut everyone up about how bad of a market the Bay Area is. If you build it, they will come (just not in downtown St. Pete. on a school night). Remeber Rays, Jays and A’s are the only teams left in MLB w/o a new stadium in the last 20 years.

    The nat’l media will have a field day with this Jays series coming up. A similar weeknight series against the Jays in late August of 2008 in the middle of a pennant race drew crowds of 12,000 and change. It’s not going to be any prettier this week. But, as we all know it’s not the market, the market is in love with the Rays. It’s the stadium and the location. And almost as important, the season ticket base. Until those three things improve, the walkup attendance on weeknights during the school year just ISN’T going to be good.

    • Don says:

      Yea…I can’t wait till the Rays move to Tampa…then they can draw as good as the Bucs….and the lightning….
      If that would have been a Bucs game…. Sun night in TAMPA there wouldn’t have been 10,000!
      So lets move over there!

  12. Dew says:

    You know I was a big supporter of bringing up Dan Johnson. He hasn’t been the help I was originally hoping for so far but is coming around and had two big hits this weekend. He has the potential to be our first baseman next year if he can get it going and we lose Carlos. Which I hope we don’t.

  13. Huey Lewis says:

    I hate to say it, but all of the above posts are EXACTLY why this is not a good baseball (or any sport) area.

    An ESPN Sunday Night Game anywhere vs Boston in the heat of a pennant race has to sell out or come extremely close. And it does everywhere else except here, school night or not.

    • Sarah says:

      I don’t doubt that a Sunday night could sell out in some other cities. But why do the ESPN announcers need to dwell on attendance? Why not just focus on the game on the field? I get the sense that the national media, esp. in the NY/Boston circuit, have decided that poor attendance is “the story” in the Tampa Bay area (and for some fans in those areas, evidence that the Rays and their fans “don’t deserve” to be winners) and they won’t let it go. I haven’t watched that many ESPN Sunday night games — does every game they show feature a sell out? And if it’s not a sell out, do the announcers make a point of mentioning that several times in the evening?

      • Huey Lewis says:

        Last Sunday Nights game: Angels @ Twins, 40,385

        August 15, Phillies @ Mets, 31,345

        August 8, Red Sox @ Yankees, 49,096

        August 1, Dodgers @ Giants, 42,922

        July 25, Cards @ Cubs, 41,406

        July 18, Phillies @ Cubs, 39,333

        July 11, Cubs @ Dodgers, 45,398

        All the rest are very similar numbers.

        It really is sad that more people do not come out to see, IMO, the best team in baseball. And, if you think these embarrassingly low attendance figures do NOT impact the teams ability to compete, and resign their own players/go after FA’s, you are wrong. GO TO THE GAMES PEOPLE!!!

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