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Tampa Bay Rays News and Links: Rays drop series to Nats but still (fingers crossed) likely playoff bound

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Tampa Bay Rays v Washington Nationals Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Rays News

Because baseball will always have the last laugh, the Rays dropped a two game series against the struggling Washington Nationals. To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, to lose to Max Scherzer may be regarded as misfortune; to lose to Anibel Sanchez as well looks like carelessness.

They remain in first place in the American League East, 3.5 games ahead of the Toronto Blue Jays. I was going to start tracking magic numbers but now that they’ve dropped two games and lost ground it feels like it would bring on the evil eye. I will note that the Rays odds to win at least some playoff spot is, according to ESPN, 100%, which I guess means it’s not time to panic.

The Rays have a rare Wednesday off day today, and will begin a home series against the Red Sox on Thursday.

Warning: a rant

I guess I should thank Frontier and Fox Sports for sparing me the misery of watching the last two games — but I won’t thank them because I’m furious. I pay a bloody fortune for cable via Frontier, which has dropped Fox Sports over a contract dispute. I also pay for the MLB TV package, but they have me blacked out because they want me to pay for my regional sports network. Which I do, but I still can’t watch.

This has been going on since September 1, and seems to be getting far less angry attention that it ought to. It can’t be good for Fox Sports and its advertisers to lose some half of its viewers. It can’t be good for Frontier to lose customers like me who pay for their service in large part to follow local sports teams.

It can’t be good for the Rays, who of course get their payments from Fox Sports regardless but who surely will not benefit when fans can’t follow games in person or on television. Is this how you build a fan base in a year the team seems to be playoff bound?

C’mon guys, recognize the shared interest in broadcasting games, split the difference, and let us watch baseball.

Around MLB

Rays are moving up in Michael Baumann’s power rankings.

The League will be celebrating the legacy of Roberto Clemente today, with many players wearing his number 21 ($)

Man, even when the Yankees are mediocre they still suck up the attention of the national media.

You hate to see it!

But at least the Athletic had to mention the Rays as they project potential playoff teams.($)

Monday was Labor Day. That MLB players get a decent percentage of the sport’s revenue and have at least a little bit of say in shaping their career trajectory is thanks to organized labor. Marvin Miller’s role needs to be recognized, writes Jay Jaffe.

Here’s ESPN’s overview of the pennant/playoff races.

The Mariner’s Taylor Trammel reflects on his experiences growing up and playing baseball as a Black man.

Well this is fun! MLB has now made it easy to search for video clips. Say good bye to getting anything done at work.

Very recent old friend alert: Jose Martinez optioned by Cubs.

We know the days of the workhorse starter are largely gone, but nonetheless Mike Petriello’s chart is noteworthy: