Place this Las Vegas Sun article under the category of 'Things I would never find but contain slight references to the Devil Rays'. Former Devil Ray Toby Hall, whom you may remember shot from the lip not once, but twice before signing with the Chicago White Sox last month, did an interview with the Las Vegas newspaper that appeared in their morning edition today. Why, might you ask, is Toby Hall speaking to a Las Vegas newspaper? Well, he is a former UNLV baseball player and was in town for an alumni game.
I pick apart the interview and run down my opinions after the jump, as my opinions ran a little longer than I thought they would.
Q+A: Toby Hall [Las Vegas Sun]
Ex-Rays revel in winning feeling [St. Petersburg Times] (10/5/06)
Months later...Toby Hall is still an ass [DRaysBay] (12/14/06)
Hall Finds a Taker [DRaysBay] (12/17/06)
Now that we have that out of the way, over the course of the interview Hall answered several questions pertaining to the Rays, including some about his previous comments. But first, let's set the record straight about the possibility that was reported a couple months ago that the Rays were on the verge of offering him a minor league contract...
A: The whole thing is, there was no contract even out there. I guess someone must have popped off at the GM meetings or something. That's the way it went down.
So there you go, nothing too offensive there, and it clears up the facts. But wait, let's get to the good stuff...
A: Let me tell you what. For having to catch the worst team in baseball for five years, I was the most politically correct guy. I did pretty good about keeping my mouth shut. So when they came at me like that - hey, my quote made sense.
Oh poor Toby Hall. You made the "sacrifice" in being the starting catcher for a major league baseball team for five years while earning millions of dollars. Could it be that, perhaps, the Devil Rays might have been the worst team in baseball for five years because you were among the worst starting catchers in major league baseball for five years? No, that can't be it. Surely, you lived up to all of the things that the team expected of you throughout your career. You were the lone star on an otherwise bad team.
Well guess what, class knows no employer. Just because you are no longer employed by the team doesn't mean it "makes sense" to start blasting an organization that continually gave you at bat after at bat of playing time despite you clearly not deserving it. It doesn't "make sense" to blast a team that was willing to support your charitable event. It doesn't "make sense", and you just don't get it. There was no reason to make that remark, you could have just as easily ducked the question. So considering that the team never insulted you directly in offering you a minor league deal, as you say yourself didn't happen, why would you just pre-emptively attack an organization that gave you so many chances for so many years. It may "make sense" to you, but it is shows a "lack of class" to anyone who observes the full scope of your remarks. Oh no, but don't stop there.
A: I've had people come up to me and say, "You're right." All I was doing is sticking up for the community because they deserve good baseball in Tampa.
How is that sticking up for the community by insulting the team that plays there? I don't doubt that there were some who made that response to you, if you look at any story on the St. Petersburg Times' web site you will see a bevy of comments from people with similar sentiments. The truth value of the statement you made is a matter of opinion, and that is an issue that everyone here clearly holds an opinion on, which I will not get into. However this is not something that you should be addressing. As a player who was responsible for the lack of "good baseball in
Tampa ST. PETE, you shouldn't be opening your mouth to complain, and the lack of class that it carries and that I espoused about above still stands. You are a major league baseball player who has moved on from the ball club. Apparently the Devil Rays' organization has moved on and taken the high road instead of sinking to your level but you have not, instead displaying a Neanderthalic yearning to get attention.
A: My point when I wanted to be traded out of L.A. is that there was no future for me there. When you play every day and then you get traded and you don't play; I've seen people sit around and accept not playing. I don't believe in that.
Breaking news, 'Soul Patch', you aren't playing everyday on the South Side of Chicago either. You are playing only against left-handed pitchers, the only group of players against whom you can manage even the slightest bit of mediocrity when facing. I don't know what you expect to find in Chicago now that you are on the same roster as A.J. Pierzynski, but you don't deserve to play everyday. You are a horrible baseball player. You have a .265/.301/.384 career batting line. Maybe instead of blasting the organization that gave you opportunity after opportunity to acquire that terrible career batting line, you should keep your damn mouth shut and stop pretending that you are an everyday player.
A: I played in Tampa and it's not a big market. You try to do the best you can but your name doesn't quite get out there. I did the best I could do there, but now I'm getting a chance to go to a big market. So let's see what happens.
Oh yes, that's exactly the reason that you didn't have much interest this off season. It was because the team you played with didn't play in a big market. No, the reason that little to no interest was shown in you was because you are a terrible baseball player. A .684 lifetime OPS speaks for itself. Don't go blame the fact that you played for the Rays as being the reason that few teams had an interest in you. Believe me, if you played for a large market team, you wouldn't have sniffed the opportunity to be a starting catcher, and you would have been riding the buses in Triple A long ago.
Oh, and one more thing, because you've said this many times. Other than the few times in which you played spring training exhibitions against the Yankees in Legends Field, you never played a game of professional baseball within the Tampa city limits during your whole life. You played your home games in St. Petersburg. Ring a bell? Please don't tell me that your lack of intelligence extends to simple geography.
That is all I could really pull out of this interview to rant about. The sad thing is, Toby Hall was always one of my favorite Devil Ray players. Despite the poor production, you always seemed like a nice guy who did a lot for the community, and you still do engage in many activities that are helpful to the community. I even dismissed the first remark you made and defended you out of my respect for you as a player. But with each remark you make, each time you open your mouth, you prove yourself to be the classless, primitive brute that I didn't want to acknowledge for so long.