Well, I went to the the final instructional league game of the season today in Seminole at the (insert name here) complex, watching our Rays take on the Pirates' instructs league team. Because I met with fellow Rays writer and former DRays Bay contriibutor Jim Wisinski at the game, I didn't really have that much to add that he didn't already take care of in a post at RaysBaseball. So I'm going to go ahead and pass you on to his notes, third from top.
I did arrive too late to see Jake McGee pitch, thanks to the wonder that is public transportation. But I did stick this one out to the end in a Pirates win. Last week's game was actually played in a spring training stadium, with an operational scoreboard. This one was not, but I'm pretty sure the Buccos won. Unlike last week, Cam Bonifay was not a coach (for obvious reasons), and the only real difference between the two games was that Reid Brignac played.
The only little interesting tidbit of info I can add to Jim's notes is what I encountered to the game. As Jim and I walked through the parking lot to go our seperate ways, we came accross a black Mercedes. At that time, I remarked that former Rays GM (that title sounds sooooo much better) Chuck LaMar had a car exactly like that one, as I had encountered him in a similar car after a game at Al Lang. Well, after we went our own ways, I was walking up the street towards Tyrone Blvd when that black Mercedes passed me. I managed to sneak in a look through the passenger side window, and sure enough, the driver was none other than the Rays GM of the last 10 years. What was he doing at the (insert name here) complex three days after getting the axe? Well, either clearing out his office and knotting together loose ends (read: stealing office supplies), or he was just stalking the team. Either way, Chuckles is still among us, at least for the time being.
One final thing here, in the form of a mini-rant. As anyone who has read my postings at my blogs or at forums on Rays sites knows that I have a special place in my heart for Al Lang Field, the beautiful waterfront spring training home of the Rays. You also know that I will campaign for it being used more often at any time (I might even do a couple full rants this offseason about it). Well, this would apply under one of those circumstances.
Why was this game not played in Al Lang? It does not take that much to open four gates and get a couple people in the press box to operate a scoreboard. That was pretty much all that the Phillies had last weekend. Plus, with the air show this weekend down the street at Albert Whitted Airport, why not open up the stadium so curious passers by can pop on in and check out the Rays propsects. With the recent media buzz about the Rays, people will be much more inclined to lend their support to the team, and exposing them to baseball would satisy their hunger. After that, they can wander on down to the airshow along with the players, coaches, and other fans.
Oh wait. Cancel that. I mean, let's look at the alternative. Why would you play your instructs games in a beautiful waterfront park with good crowd exposure when you could play it in one of the crappiest training facilities in baseball, in the middle of a neighborhood that no one is familiar with. Silly me.
I know this was a pre-Stu decision, but hopefully he will look at simple things such as this and make a move in the future to better this situation, even going as far as putting a GCL or FSL team in Al Lang. I know I'm dreaming again, but Stu represents hope, and for me, hope that a 'diamond in the rough' will get some attention.