Do not be alarmed. The Rays Tank you see on your computer screen is real. No, you aren't late for work, stop panicing, it is in fact Saturday morning. Weekend Rays Tanks are just a 'thing' now, like Zombies, Jeggings and Gangnam Style...
So before your college football, we've got your baseball fix covered with Rays news, notes, and lots of links.
After blasting the Jays, The Rays are now 81-70, just 4.5 games back in the American League Wildcard race with 11 games left to play. If the Rays hope to get back to the playoffs for the 4th time in 5 years, they are going to need to pull within 3 of the Orioles by October 1st when they will host a 3 game set with Baltimore at the Trop to have any hope of catching The Fighting Showalters.
However, creating Game 162: The Sequel, is not exactly going to be easy.
The Rays will need to play lights out down the stretch and hope that the Orioles stumble. Not to mention the Angels, who are right there in the thick of it. Longo and the boys will need to harness their inner 2007 Rockies, a team that won 14 of their last 15, including a come-from-behind 13-inning victory in the tiebreak game, to come from 6 back in the Wild Card race in September and not only advance to the playoffs but get all the way to the World Series.
Is it possible? Sure, why not. I've learned enough over the past few years to never count this squad out.
The thing I keep reminding myself though, is that as Rays fans we are spoiled. The 2007 Rockies and Game 162 are magical because they just dont happen all that often, perhaps even just once in a lifetime. The idea of the same team performing this unlikely feat two years running is simply unrealistic.
But that is the joy of this team. They always surprise us. 2008 was beyond unrealistic. Thursday's 9th inning rally over Boston was unimaginable. Game 162 was miraculous. Perhaps, just maybe, the remarkable Tampa Bay Rays have one more incredible story left to tell.
And now, Links!
- The biggest story yesterday is that suspended Melky Cabrera took himself out of the running for the batting title and MLB is apparently cool with this, perhaps setting an awkward prescident for future rulebreakers. So, MLB wouldnt change Jim Joyce's out call in Armondo Gallaraga's (im)perfect game but they will pretend Cabrerra's .346 batting average doesnt exist? Also of note, we still give awards based on batting average...
- The Pittsburgh Pirates organization has been running their minor league training programs like a US Marine style bootcamp, complete with hand-to-hand combat excercises and 5 a.m. wake up calls, prompting Jeff Passan of Yahoo! to call them the laughing stock of Baseball. Meanwhile, the Major League club has collapsed in the second half for the second straight season, prompting Gareth Rees of some internet blog to call them the laughing stock of baseball.
- Buster Olney of ESPN thinks David Price will be trade fodder this off season, and he may be right. While I'd hate to see Price go, the haul on a potential Cy Young winner could be massive.
- Some Cubs fan calling himself Bradley Woodrum (Sweet psuedonym, dude) asks if James Shields makes sense for the Rays beyond 2012?
- Brighthouse customers rejoice! Time Warner Cable and NFL Network have finally come to an agreement to bring NFL Network and NFL Redzone to the networks lineup. It's about damn time.
- Finally, my wife dragged me to see Trouble with the Curve last night, and here is my mini-review. The film is basically a chick flicky version of anti-moneyball (Scouts good, computers bad) that pretty much any self respecting baseball fan should be embarrassed by. The plot is hackneyed, cliche, mighty predictable and at times downright insulting to the game of baseball. Clint Eastwood is more entertaining talking to an empty chair, which is essentially the same role he played in Curve. Justin Timerblake and Amy Adams are cute but the chemistry feels forced and the romance is ripe with the typical rom-com pitfalls. Finally, this movie is slowwwww, like watching the Rays go 9 scoreless with 2 hits and 10 strikeouts kind of painful. Ultimately, a swing and a miss, avoid at all costs.