One of the features that I've been looking at doing for some time now is taking notes on the Rays' weekly 'Countdown to Opening Day Show', an hour long program that airs every Monday. Well, I finally got around to doing those notes tonight, and for those of you who don't want to listen through an hour of radio show, I've condensed the important things into these notes that follow the jump.
-The show started off pretty funny. Host Dave Wills said of the large attendance at Training Camp: "Even Aubrey Huff showed up early".
-The guests tonight were Rays Front Office Executive Gerry Hunsicker, Pitcher Casey Fossum, and Catcher Toby Hall. Bullpen Coach Bobby Ramos was supposed to be squeezed in, but alas, we didn't get to hear the wisdom of his words tonight.
-A few interesting notes on ticket sales. Apparently, a large number of Opening Day tickets have already been sold, with the lower seating bowl already sold out. Season and Individual ticket sales are also way up. The opening day ticket sales are in marked contrast to last year, when we couldn't even draw 30,000 for the opener.
-Wills and co-host Andy Freed commented that Edwin Jackson was throwing great with just his fastball and curveball, and that Doug Waechter has undergone a mechanics adjustment. Casey Fossum also commented on adjustments to his mechanics made by new pitching coach Mike Butcher, who is helping Fossum pitch later into games and build up his endurance so he doesn't tire late in the season like he appeared to last year. Fossum is also working on a changeup.
-A few blurbs...Toby Hall said that the players, as already mentioned elsewhere, are 'more loose' under Maddon, and that catchers are working on, 'the Scioscia block' in camp, gee wonder who brought that over...Tropicana Field might not look that new to you, but Dave and Andy said 'nothing has really been done yet', and 'It is a work in progress'...For those of you who were familiar with my rants in gameday threads last year about that annoying Troicana commercial, you will know how happy I was to hear it played during the show...Next week's guests are Stu Sternberg and Matt Silverman.