Ladies, gentlemen, and kapaafires, welcome to the Labor Day edition of the Rays Tank. And in honor of all you working class heroes out there -- and because MLB video has one again let me down on the actual important/cool clips -- we're gonna take a look at some guys who had themselves a Day. You know the kind of day I'm taking about: the ones where you can't wait to get to the watering hole and tell your buds about it. The ones where something good happens later on, and your first thought is yeah, that was a'ight, but it was nothing like That Day. The Day that, twenty years from now, you'll still be talking about. Because you were on. Days like this:
September 7, 2010. The Rays have lost three in a row -- the latest a big loss in the first game of the series against the Red Sox -- but are still in second, just 2 1/2 back of the first place Yankees. And then Carl Crawford goes and has himself a Day.
Okay, really the whole team had a Day. It's just that some of the other guys had lower case days. Longo hit a monster shot over the scoreboard and into the parking lot. Bartlett had a dinger. Zobrist too, and Upton. Heck, Dan Johnson even hit one of the few meaningless homers of Rays' career. But it was Carl Crawford and his Day who set the stage for it all.
You have to set the wayback machine for 1993 to see Mark Whitten have A Day like few people have ever had, for the Cards against the Reds.
His four homer game helped him tie Jim Bottomley's record for RBI in a game, a mark that had stood alone since 1924. That's a Day.
Now, a Day need not involve incredible plays. Sometimes, they can be as simple as "Hey, A.J., 'member that time in '01 when you almost killed Billy the Marlin?"
Not everybody gets to live the dream long-term. This is true in baseball and in life. Ex-Ray Russ Canzler has three major league homers. This is his first.
Sure, he only lived the dream for a few months in Cleveland in 2012. But how many of us never got to get to live our dreams at all? So good on you, Russ.
Here's my take on the steroid era: 1) I'm glad they test for them; 2) I'm glad offensive numbers are more in line with what they were historically 3) But I still don't get why we crucify guys for going after an advantage that wasn't against the rules at the time; 4) Plus, MLB is just as complicit in the scandal as any player, if not more so.
In that light, this is Big Mac having one of his many Days from the summer he & Sammy saved baseball.
Someday, these guys will be remembered properly: as players who played in an offensively inflated era, and did it better than anybody else.
Here's some September 7ths which allegedly happened, but I can't show you because old timey people were great at hats and mustaches, but sucked at video:
- 1908: "Big Train" Walter Johnson tosses a two-hit shutout of the Yankees in the first game of a Labor Day doubleheader. This is the third time he has shut out the Bombers in four days, topping Saturday's four-hit shutout and Friday's six-hit shutout. There was no game Sunday due to New York's Blue Laws which prohibit games on Sundays.
- 1916: The New York baseball Giants beat the Dodgers 4-1 to start their Major League records 26-game win streak. They make up nine games during the streak, but never climb out of fourth place. So quit your bitchin' that all the wrong teams are winning.
- 1923: Howard Ehmke tosses a no-hitter for the Red Sox against the Philadelphia A's at Shibe Park. The no-no is apparently broken up in seventh when Ehmke's pitching counterpart, Slim Harriss (no really, it's Harris with a double s) hits a double, but he's called out for not touching first base. Somewhere, somebody started whining that pitchers shouldn't be allowed to hit.
- 1962: In a 10-1 loss to the Pirates (Unwritten rules? "We respected the game in my day?" Hello???), Maury Wills steals four bags, giving him 82 for the year and breaking the modern National League record.
- 1973: The Rangers fire Whitey Herzog six months into his tenure, with a 47-91 record, and replace him with Billy Martin. Herzog does okay in his next gigs with the Royals (three division titles) and the Cards (three division titles, two NL pennants, one World Series title). The Rangers continue to be the Rangers.
- 1974: I so wanted video of this one. Against the White Sox, Yankee third baseman Graig Nettles shatters his bat on a disallowed infield hit. Why was the hit disallowed? Because the bat was stuffed with six super balls. Nettles, who would be suspended for ten games, claimed that the bat was given to him by a fan in Chicago. Oh, and the Yankees won the game, 1-0. On a homer. Hit by Nettles earlier in the day. But PEDs ruined the integrity of the game.
- 1984: Dwight Gooden fans Ron Cey of the Cubs to set a new rookie mark for strikeouts in a season with 227.
- 2010: Trevor Hoffman earned his 600th save. There actually is video of this, but it's boring.
But enough ancient history. On to the Link Dump!
- Haha, just kidding. It's Labor Day! Nobody is writing anything today! Go grill something.