This is an unfamiliar feeling.
Labor day is tomorrow and for the first time in franchise history you can use the holiday as an opportunity to downgrade playoff hopes from "long shot" to "miracle". With such, college football and the N.F.L. will take over the local sports spotlight. For all purposes, ‘competitive' - which I'll define as competing for a potential playoff spot - baseball is done for the year 2009. That doesn't mean you should stop paying attention though, oh no, and here's one reason why.
Everyone loves home runs. The Rays rank third in the American League in team homers with 175. They have to average a little under a home run per game to be the third team to reach 200. The good news is Matt Joyce and Sean Rodriguez should join the team soon, and they posses thunder sticks.
Rodriguez has five career MLB homers. The true distances on those suckers per Hit Tracker:
Average: 411 feet
As for Joyce, his career home runs have the following distances:
Average: 403 feet
Long-time readers know how much I've swooned over Joyce's power.
I'm sure they'll experience more cheapies once they reach the major leagues and those numbers will drop, but consider that Carlos Pena, Evan Longoria, and Ben Zobrist average in the 396-398 foot range this year. Of the 172 Rays bombs Hit Tracker has listed this year, 75 have went 400+ feet.
It's not quite the playoffs, but the Rays just might have a hit show to put on.