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Rays Nuggets

A potpourri of Rays-related content on the internet(s)

---The Devil Rays' official site has an interview with Rays Senior VP of Baseball Operations Gerry Hunsicker as their feature story today. Most of the story is a complete waste of time, with nearly all of the questions either focused on useless information, such as the numerous questions devoted to horse racing and Hunsicker's background in finance, or the relevant questions are softballs. That's what you get I guess, for reading something put out by the PR department. Alas, there is one useful question and answer in the piece. For those of you, like myself, curious as to what the structure of the front office is actually like (the Rays, contrary to what Friedman's authority may encompass, do not have a General Manager). It centered on the awkwardness of a baseball veteran such as Hunsicker working for someone who has not reached the age of 30.

Wallace: What's it like to work with Andrew Friedman on a daily basis?

Hunsicker: Well, it's been very interesting, to say the least. It's a much different situation than I've ever been in before. It's been really stimulating and rewarding for me, in the sense that, from an age standpoint, Andrew could very well be my son. And I am reporting to him in the business sense.

I think our personalities have allowed this relationship to get off on a good start. I came in here clearly understanding my role, and therefore I have been very respectful of Andrew being in the No. 1 chair and being here to lend my support, and helping in the thought process as we move forward.

Consequently, I think he's been respectful of my background and experience to engage me in all aspects of the operation. It's been a lot of fun for me. Certainly, we have some great challenges ahead, and I think we have created a very unique partnership here.

It is a good read in that it provides some insight into Hunsicker's past prior to being in baseball, but don't look for any real insight on the actual team in the article.

---Happy Birthday to former Rays pitching prospect Jason Standridge, who turned 28 today. Standridge never had much success in St. Pete after being drafted with the Rays' No. 1 pick in 1997, but his career prospects are looking up after two decent years in the Reds bullpen. We wish him all the best in his exploits in the Queen City.

---Looks like the situation with Elijah Dukes' conspicuous absence from AFL games has been made clearer, thanks to the investigative reporting of our own Jacob Larsen.

What did Elijah Dukes do now to draw the ire of the AFL? He had his game-winning homer, played the next game, then got replaced by Cody Strait as a last-minute scratch. Did he sprain his ankle? Or did he just do something that he shouldn't have? With the AFL, I've noticed if you do something bad or get injured, you usually get sent home quick. So, Niemann sticking in the AFL with his "soreness" and Dukes just missing games but not going home is a bit calming to a Rays fan. However, I'd rather see them in action than sticking on the bench. --Jake

Jake, you've become an AFL Mailbag mainstay, but you need to step away from the ledge. Dukes' issues in the past have been well-documented, but is it necessary to automatically jump to that conclusion when he misses some time in the Fall League? Maybe he has to prove that he can get past those problems, but presuming he's gotten into trouble right away isn't going to help anyone. For the record, Dukes hasn't played since Nov. 2 because of shin splints. It's a problem he's had in the past and his legs have been bothering him in Arizona because he had to dial it up so quickly after he was added to the Phoenix roster. You can take a deep breath. It's not anything serious.

Well, there you have it...shin splints. Doesn't sound too major, as the entry says. Looks like you are becoming a mainstay over there, Jacob, I like the bolded comment. Aside from the fact that it takes a subtle dig at you, it shows some personality that is rare in MLB-run chats.

---Justin over at Future Rays did some nice work with a commentary on the Rays' defense. However the piece is notable not for the writing, but for the excellent compilation of good defensive plays in the YouTube video on the site. Good work, and it includes a number of good plays from surprising sources. I especially enjoyed a scene later in the video during which White Sox shameless homer announcer Hawk Harrelson was spewing his usual bias as Ross Gload was thrown out at the plate. Sometimes, enjoyment in life like that you just can't put a price on. Hurry up and enjoy it quick before the Rays go all NFL on YouTube.

---A quick update for Bay Area residents who are looking forward to seeing the Vero Beach Dodgers Devil Rays come visit teams in the FSL's Western Division, well, you have at least part of the idea of when that will come. Vero Beach has not yet released their schedule, but several FSL West teams have, excluding the Tampa Yankees (monopolistic bastards) and the Lakeland (insert team name here). The V-Rays will be visiting Clearwater from May 9-12 and June 1-4. The buses take them to Dunedin July 11-14. The schedules become weird as I looked up the time when the Rays would be traveling to Sarasota. The Rays are set to play in Ed Smith Stadium from June 2-5, however if you had been paying attention earlier, you'd know that they are also supposed to be in Clearwater that day. Hmm. They may want to fix that before they come out with their final schedules. My bet? I suspect that the Rays will be in Sarasota for that time period, as the contradictory Threshers schedule would have Vero Beach making two visits to Bright House Networks Field, and in the past I do not know of any FSL team that has done that.

So while the schedule remains tentative for now, those are my bets. Granted, I would have enjoyed seeing the Rays come to town more often, but perhaps when they move to Charlotte County they will also be moved to the FSL West, which means more games in the Bay Area. Still, the 12-16 games outlined here are still 12-16 more than I would have seen of the Rays' high-A affiliate last year, and all of the tentative series' so far are weekend matchups, so you won't see me complaining.