Minutes before the Rays quieted the home crowd and got rolled 4-1 in tonight’s opener, Stu Sternberg was on WDAE-AM 620 squawking about how a mere $10 million payroll increase over the Rays’ current $40+ million would have made the club significantly better.

Thanks, Stu.

Hope you have more fun spending that $10 million on cognac, pork futures, Mets tickets and whatever the hell else is more fun than a closer on your baseball team.

That written, money wasn’t the issue tonight, and neither was the bullpen. Damon, Longo, and Manny busting out 0-for-12 will kill the Rays every time.

Joe nearly fell off his bar stool when the Rays had two outs on two pitches in the first inning. A change in hitting philosophy, perhaps? Ben Zobrist was first-ball swinging later, as well.

Of course, there’s been no visible change in B.J. Upton’s baserunning acumen. Forget the horrendous call that saw the shortstop run over Upton during a rundown but the umps foolishly called Upton out of the base path. Upton never should have been picked off second base down four runs in the eighth inning. C’mon, B.J.

So it goes. The Rays have to win these games at home when the pitching is solid. Let’s hope Baltimore isn’t this good.

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16 Comments

  1. I understand BJ made an error, but I DON'T want place all the blame in that play on him.

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    • Lroy10 says:

      It was a horrible call, I think of a couple of times he's been called out for being "out of the baseline". He should have taken off on any one the 3 pitches prior to the walk and it wouldn't have been an issue. Thats hind site for now and if we're lucky, for site next time. Was nice to Bossman squash the same pitch that made him look like a little leaguer early in the game.

      The loss was a group effort, thats my 2 cents anyway. 161 to go.

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      • Don says:

        "HE should of taken off on the 3 prior pitches"..your as bad as BJ & Maddon
        What difference does it make if he is on 2nd or 3rd behind 4 runs and one out...
        IF jaso gets on which he is good at (hit or Walk) ZO is up what does he do in the 9th...then what is the score....somebody wake up!

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        • Lroy10 says:

          I should have said IF he is going to go, mi malo. None the less, how on earth can you possibly know that BJ standing on third with only one down wouldn't have changed anything.

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  2. Joe says:

    I don't know if Stu Sternberg is aware of how he sounds what he says. A shame he isn't questioned about it, because my respect for him has waned BIG TIME over the past 12-18 months. I don't want to be a pawn in his game he can't win with local leaders and politicians.

    Still waiting for Gary Shelton to ask him about "five better cities" than Tampa Bay. Bueller??? Bueller??? Bueller???

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  3. Jake says:

    It was one game give me a break... Give it a chance!

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  4. dustin says:

    The complaints about Sternberg's comments are insipid. It's worth taking a second to understand this about his relationship to the team: if the Rays do well, one can figure that attendance goes up; if attendance goes up, revenue goes up; if revenue goes up, there is, presumably, more money to spend on the team, which, hopefully, contributes to a positive-feedback cycle.

    Stu is right that the Rays would be better if they had more money to spend. But they don't, and anyway who's out there for ten mil that would make the Rays appreciably better? Or even twenty? If you had the money to do it, to whom would you give a reasonable short-term contract this year?

    If your answer is something close to nobody, then you and I think alike. Look: watching Damon tonight in LF made me miss CC, but there is absolutely NO EFFING WAY the Rays could afford to pay that guy what he should, and did, command as a free agent. The kind of money it took to lock up Crawford would, even if the Rays could've paid it, have hamstrung the team. That would've been stupid.

    Obviously the same kind of calculation goes into the thinking about Soriano (and a lot remains to be seen about that guy; will he put together back-to-back healthy, effective seasons for the first time in his career? I guess we'll find out, but I'm kinda glad the Rays aren't footing the bill for the experiment), as it does for Pena (who, given a friendlier park and lesser competition, may or may not bounce back).

    I guess what I mean to say is this: Joe can take is complaint about Stu and blow it out his ass. Stu was nothing more than obviously correct to say that more money would help the team. It's not a particularly profound or insightful statement. The more interesting question is this: pretending you're Stu, and you've got an extra ten million dollars for THIS YEAR, who would you've picked up, and how would he make the team better?

    Hell, assuming you're like any of the three teams expected to contend in the AL Central, who're gonna be spending North of a hundred million this year, who do you pick up without (a) gutting the farm system or (b) locking the team into a contract that, however good it is for now, commits them to long-term money for a player whose value is likely to expire before his contract does?

    I don't really see a scenario in which either (a) or (b) could be satisfied, let alone the two in tandem. So, Joe, unless you do see such a scenario and are willing to share it, I humbly request that you quit your bellyaching.

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    • Joe Rays Fan says:

      Respect Stu and his team's work wholeheartedly, but the reality is that the team is profitable and he's got the $10 million. So therefore it blows to hear the owner share that he didn't build the team to the best of his ability within reason. If you don't get that, I can't help you.

      In the interview, Stu himself talked about the Yanks ability to buy (overpay) Soriano, and how much of a financial strain it was for the Rays to buy Soriano for 2009. With that money, he cleary was talking about an arm -- be it Benoit or someone else.

      There are plenty of fans overly concerned with contract values and the team's finances, which is quite funny since the team doesn't open its books and its value has doubled or so in five years.

      The average "Joe" likes to believe there's part of his ownership group that wants to win at all costs. This year, Stu's done what he could to kick that guy in the balls. We knew it was coming, but it doesn't make it feel good.

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    • Derek says:

      Jenks, Balfour, Rauch. I can come up with a few more if you would like.

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      • Derek says:

        Vlad signed for 8 mill. One year. With ten million extra, the Rays could have signed Vlad, not signed Manny and Damon, added more to their bullpen, and have Jennings start the year with the big league team. It's laughable to think 10 mill would have done nothing to improve this team. Ill add that I like Manny and Damon more so than Vlad, but I'm just pointing out that 10 million opens a lot of doors.

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  5. Don says:

    IS there any DOUBT that BJ upton maybe the dumbest person that ever played MJ baseball....if so please build your case..
    Also lets not leave out my buddy Maddon ...Does he and his "coaching" staff do ANTHING with baserunners during a game as far as giving them a hint on what needs to be done....MY little league coach is rolling over in his grave....BJ wouldn't play for a month after a stunt like that on my little league team..
    ALso. Joyce & Brignac have a long way to go to prove to me they are every day ML players...
    SHowalter Vs. MAddon.... no contest....watch out for the cookies!

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  6. robert says:

    I saw this game many times last year....

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  7. Raysfan137 says:

    I was as mad as anyone about the call. But just watched it again on MLB.TV in HD. IT WAS THE RIGHT CALL. In full speed it looked like BJ just got clobbered while trying to switch directions. But he was clearly in the process of trying to dive to his right to avoid the tag, which is not legal and should be called out for leaving the base path. Unfortunately for us, the umps got this right.

    BJ does things that don't make sense to us all the time. We all know he doesn't have the best mind for the game. But Maddon knows that as well. We cannot complain about BJ any longer. If he's got a green light, then Maddon gave it to him. And therefore Maddon has resigned to live with the risk for the potential benefit. We all know that stealing in that situation isn't the best mathematical strategy. But if he pulls it off and we go to runners on 2nd and 3rd, and then launch a go-ahead rally, you're all on here talking about this being the year of BJ. Seriously, forgetting the names involved, go back to last year when Crawford gets put out for the last out of the game at third, trying to tag from second on a fly to right. Any of you call him the stupidest player in baseball ? It was an aggressive play and BJ simply got anxious and jumped the gun. He leaves a third of second later and we're standing on second and third and he's incredible you and all call him a risky but talented player instead of an idiot.

    That was game one guys, and we've already fired Maddon and traded BJ for a bag of peanuts. Seriously, people, try Prozac.

    Couple of points none of you are discussing:

    - Every time we face a pitcher that throws lots of strikes (Guthrie was at 3:1 strikes to balls most of the night) we're behind in counts and don't hit well. Shelton must be using a single minded strategy to look at a lot of pitches because that's what he did as a player. He clearly isn't a good game-day hitting coach. I would have at least told certain players to swing hard at the first pitch if it even looks close.

    - Our pen pitched shut down baseball

    - Longo hit two balls really hard, just happened to be right at people. Those will start falling in.

    - Is Zorilla back ? Hot D at 2nd, HR, hmmm.

    - Someone actually called Rich H. and complained because Manny was smiling and singing autographs near the players' parking lot after the game.

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    • Derek says:

      There is a lot of potential in McGee and Russel. Russel didn't impress the fans with his spring, but he has the ability to be a very good arm out the pen, for several years I might add.

      If Zobrist and Johnson can show any kind of life, this team also has a lot of potential. But it is the first game, so we shall see.

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  8. St. Aug Ryan says:

    BJ will never learn. He was picked off a few days ago in spring training. A couple a k's and being picked off, looks like nothing has changed. I hope I am wrong but it looks like another .230 BA and 160+ k's.
    If the Rays don't hit then they wont win many games and we wont have to worry about the bullpen.
    Anyways I hope to get back to the Bay area soon to catch a game live.
    It is early, Go Rays!

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