When your team’s literally on pace for 100 wins (after 100 games), plus young and relatively healthy, it can be challenging to find fault.

That’s where the Rays are.

Maddenology is breaking new ground. Joaquin Benoit and MFIKY have found a new level of shutdown nasty. And the Rays have shown major signs of what Joe’s been seeking for weeks: a true championship swagger.

It may sound stupid, but teams don’t win it all without that swagger. The talk radio chatter is all abuzz with scoring a right-handed bat, but Joe would gladly pass on that for some real team-wide, refuse-to-lose arrogance.

It seems like Matt Garza’s no-hitter may have been the dose of sh*t-don’t-stink the Rays needed to win games like the last two, where they just willed themselves on the Tigers in the late innings.

And that brings Joe to Willie Aybar’s pathetic baserunning from third base on a critical safety squeeze attempt during Wednesday’s 7-4 win.

Aybar knew what was coming, and his heart should have been pumping wild, with him ready to explode toward home plate on contact. We’re talking about one of the most exciting situations for a baserunner the game has to offer.

But Aybar breaks late and gives up on the play. No slide. No collision at home plate. Just a guy pulling up like a dress-wearing schoolgirl who doesn’t want the catcher to get her hair dirty with the tag.

As Joe tweeted during the game, if that was B.J. Upton, all of Raysland would have lost its mind and raised its pitchforks.

There was no excuse.

The championship swagger is spreading very fast, but it hasn’t made its way to Aybar and some other guys.

Joe’s confident it’ll eventually make the rounds.



  1. Gatorbuc15 says:

    Keep on rolling RAYS!

  2. Leighroy says:

    I can't really find fault in Aybar on that play to be honest with you. Bartlett very poorly executed that bunt and Aybar was dead to rights as soon as the ball bounced only 3 inches in front of home plate and went straight to the pitcher. Personally, I don't expect him to collide in the 100th game of the season. I would however, if it were the 161st or beyond and we were down a couple runs during a tight WC or division race....

    If you want to find fault with anyone because of that play, find fault with Derek Shelton. I'm glad we are using the bunt play a lot more than we ever have been than in the past, and I think playing small ball like that is really conducive to our team speed. But our execution on these plays continues to be mediocre at best. Most of our bunts seem to be foul balls and the ones we do execute are too few and far between it seems.

    • ramedy says:

      Not only do the Rays lead MLB in bunt hits with 34 (the Red Sox have 5), but they also are runaway leaders in bunt hit percentage; 49.3% of the Rays' bunts result in hits, with the Angels second at 36.1%. Bunts are going to go foul from time to time, but it's pretty clear the Rays know what they're doing.

  3. JoeRaysFan says:

    Leighroy - At some point you have to lay the responsibility on the players. Bartlett's got to get that past the pitcher, and Aybar has to be steamrolling home. ...The bunt was a little better than you're making out, and Aybar has got to bringing it, there's still the fielding of the ball and the catch and tag. It was a 5-4 game for goodness sake. Aybar had a 25 yard sprint. he shouldn't have been able to pull-up so easily -- mentally or physically

  4. Amanda says:

    I'll disagree with you on the Upton comment, soley on the fact that BJ would have already been in the dugout sipping Gatorade before Aybar reached home. 🙂

  5. Matt says:

    I think you're too confident. Remember that we're about to start a three game series against the Yanks with Davis, Garza, and Shields as our starters. Our two aces will be missing them.

    If we take at least 2/3 from the Yanks I'll feel a little better...

  6. Don says:

    Dear Joe Buc...you better hope football season is coming soon...you are sounding dumber & dumber..
    Willie Aybar had NOTHING to do with being out at home on a mis-hit bunt by Bartlett!
    I don't care WHO was on 3rd base (Dion Sanders), they would have been out by a mile..."explode to home plate".... would put Willie in the same moron mentallity as someone like you!

    • JoeRaysFan says:

      Please, Don. Since when is running hard and being alert not synonymous with championship baseball? Your better than that.


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