Random Thoughts: Playoffs and Year End

ST. PETERSBURG - SEPTEMBER 28: Infielder Reid Brignac #15 of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrates after the Rays clinched a playoff birth against the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field on September 28 2010 in St. Petersburg Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)

A few random thoughts concerning the Rays, the playoffs, and the end of the season:

-As my fingers bang away at this keyboard the Rays players and front office types alike are likely still covered in champagne and beer. I mean, I assume they'll shower eventually, but one can ever be certain. Perhaps Reid Brignac will go on a Ron Artest like journey where he doesn't take off his booze soaked uniform for days. Who knows.

-When Adam Jones helplessly whiffed at a Rafael Soriano offering for the final out, I was extremely happy. I may have even fist pumped the air a few times. Making the playoffs two times in three years in the American League East when your team name is not headlined by ‘New York’ or ‘Boston’ is an amazing accomplishment. The entire organization should be extremely proud. But, there’s so much more to do. When the celebration crescendos and drunken night turns into hung over day, the Rays will return to the field against Baltimore. Five games are left (one vs BAL, four vs KC) and winning out is a very real possibility.

-The first game of the playoffs will start my heart on ride I’m not sure it’s ready for. October 2008 drained my emotions and my wallet all the same. What’s the youngest heart attack victim on record? Probably not 24, but I might come close in the coming weeks.

-It seemed the extra BP that Carlos Pena took with Joe Maddon paid off last night. Pena hit just his second home run of September, crushing a low fastball into the right field stands. He is very capable of getting on a hot streak, and if he does he has the capability to carry this offense for games at a time. It’s hard to put too much emphasis on the bat of one player, but if the Rays could use one player to hit well in October it’s Pena.

-B.J. Upton and Carl Crawford have a chance to join the 20HR/40SB club over these final five games, and unless Alex Rios goes nuts and steals six bases in these final games they will be the only ones. Upton is currently at 18/41, Crawford 17/46. It would take a little hot streak for each of them to do it, but the Orioles and Royals don’t exactly have the best pitching staffs. If the 20/40 club doesn’t sound that impressive, well, it should. No one has done it the past two seasons, and only a handful has over the past five to six years.

-I know I’m not the only one, but the Rays’ “Playoff Access Club” that Steve posted about earlier doesn’t sound appealing at all. Your $100 entry fee into the club guarantees you access to purchase ONE ticket to the each of the first two home ALDS games. I wouldn’t mind the $100 fee if I was able to purchase more than one ticket per game. The face value of any playoff ticket will likely be $100+ anyway. I don’t feel like spending ~$200 on one ticket. I’ll take my chances with being selected in the drawing I signed up for, or with the scalpers outside of the stadium.

-As much as I love David Price, he shouldn’t win the Cy Young. I know Gary Shelton disagrees, and a pretty good case could be made for Price, but the way Shelton went about it is not it. He says things like “Hernandez’s numbers are insane. He has by far the best in the league” and talks about how wins aren’t the best way to define a pitcher’s success. That’s good. But then turning around and throw out subjective terms like “essential pitches” and phrases like “Hernandez wasn’t as important to the 2010 season as Price was” is not. You can’t have it both ways.

-Seeing the reactions of the rookies, namely Brignac and Jaso, and the veterans, Dan Johnson, who have never been here before was fantastic. Johnson could not have looked any happier in his post game interview.

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