Earlier this week, Rays Radio released a short clip centered around the Top Moments from the 2017 Rays season. The moments included: Evan Longoria and Logan Morrison hitting back-to-back home runs in the 15th inning; Longo’s cycle; Steven Souza’s walkoff homer; Corey Dickerson breaking out of an 0-for-21 slump with a dinger; Kevin Kiermaier pwning the Red Sox; and many more. Bless their hearts, they noted that the team improved by 12 wins and had several strong moments. They’re not wrong. Not by any stretch of the imagination.
But any sports fan knows that’s not how most of us think. Ask Bill Russell which of his 11 titles he remembers best, and he’ll probably say he actually thinks about his 1966-67 Eastern Conference loss to Wilt’s Sixers more than any of the 11 actual rings.
That’s just how sports work. We remember the misses more than the hits. With that in mind, here are a few of the Bottom Moments from 2017. Hopefully this list, and the ensuing vote, can act as a bit of therapeutic cleansing for a season that ended up weirdly frustrating given the real and tangible improvements made at the team-wide level.
Brad Miller early-season error
This was one of the most painful memories of the 2017 season, despite being a seemingly innocuous April game against the Red Sox. However, it was a perfect harbinger of doom for Miller, as well as the first half of the season for Blake Snell. The error meant Snell had to throw another 20+ pitches in the inning, and it led to yet another short outing which, at the time, was just about the worst thing he could have done.
At least he slowed down a bit at the end of the season… Of course, his Baltimore OPS+ by the end of the season was still the same as the career OPS+ figures for Wade Boggs and Rod Carew, so he didn’t slow down that much.
Kevin Kiermaier allows inside-the-park home runs twice in one series
This was a weird one. We all know Keirmaier is one of the best defenders in all of baseball. He trailed only Byron Buxton in centerfield defensive runs saved in 2017, despite missing two months of the season. He had defensive plays in the Top Moments of the season section earlier. Yet, for one short stretch in 2017, his defense got so bad that I surmised he might have been Space Jam’d.
Hechavarria and Beckham don’t make the play
This one was honestly so painful that I’m pretty sure I burned it out of my memory. Luckily our Editor in Pain, Elizabeth Strom, forgets no evil, so she was sure this play was in the mix. It was one of many Chris Archer starts that looked so promising at points but saw the Rays ace never get the “W” he deserved.
Alex Cobb left in too long against Rangers
This game came during the beginning of the end for the Rays. They were six games over .500 (they peaked one game earlier at seven games over .500). They were second in the AL East, only three games back of Boston. Cobb had allowed one run and just three hits through eight innings, and he had been especially brilliant in the middle innings, facing only one more than the minimum after the first inning. Kevin Cash decided to put him back in for the ninth, and the Rangers pounced. A leadoff double from Joey Gallo and then a two-run bomb from Shin-Soo Choo sent the game to extras where the Rangers would win. The Rays would not reach six games over .500 for the rest of the season…
With all those in mind, embrace your inner Grinch and make your vote for the Bottom Moment of the 2017 Rays season:
What was the Bottom Moment of 2017?
This poll is closed
Brad Miller error
Tim Beckham trade
KK inside-the-park HRs allowed
Hech-Beck mess up
Alex Cobb left in too long
Other (leave in comments)