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Tampa Bay Rays News and Links: Just wake me up when the postseason starts please

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MLB: Oakland Athletics at Tampa Bay Rays Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Rays News

Yesterday was Bark in the Park, and I think we all wanted to do a little howling as the Rays seemingly ran themselves out of the game.

Rays struggling to score any runs while their challengers are feasting against Baltimore means that that clinching day, which seemed so close we could taste the bad champagne, just keeps getting postponed. Can we....not keep losing? Of course the Rays start a series against the Blue Jays tonight, with Cy Young candidate Robbie Ray on the mound so things don’t get any easier.

Trying not to get too excited, but Shane Baz makes his MLB debut tonight. As of Sunday there were still plenty of $10 outfield seats available (and of course a lot of seats in other parts of the stadium) for locals who want to be part of this event.

Yes, MLB, we know:

Marc Topkin’s paean to catcher Mike Zunino ($) Rays fans are understandably thrilled to be getting offensive production out of the catcher spot, but let’s also remember that a team using dozens of pitchers, some with no or little MLB experience, is very dependent on a catcher who can settle nerves and call a good game.

Not surprising but Rays are among the most affordable teams in the league. Not that a day at the park is inexpensive! Before you get sticker shock from the numbers here, recall that the author is calculating expenses for a family of four, and including food, parking, and merchandise along with the price of a ticket ($).

The Rays called up local player/Brett Phillips buddy to replace Kevin Kiermaier, who was isolating with COVID-like symptoms (not clear if he’d tested positive).

Walk-off wins are always fun. But when your team comes from behind, gets a homer from a home town hero, and has an elite photojournalist on staff to capture it all? That’s a lucky combination:

For long time Rays fans, would this be your photographic Mt. Rushmore?

Around the League

We know that the some of the minor leagues are used as laboratories for possible MLB rule changes. Among those is a pitch clock. There is some evidence that a pitch clock is shortening games ($). But wait, here’s evidence that MiLB games aren’t getting shorter after all.

I know he plays for a competitor, but Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is the sort of exciting player who is hard to dislike. He’s always had the potential, this year he’s had the results.

When MLB created the second Wild Card I recall some complaining that there would be less tension around the final push to the postseason. Wrong! Here is an update (as of Friday) on the teams looking for those last spots.

MLB will have a vaccination requirement for coaches and other non-player personnel in the postseason:

Reading with Thor: The injured Mets pitcher has established a reading club ($). Follow him on social media for more details: