Monday, October 20, 2008

Know Your Enemy - Rays - Fall Classic Edition

The Tampa Bay Devil Rays (from St. Petersburg, Fl.) started play in 1998 and have finished above last place only twice, first in 2004 and again this year. Before this year they were known for ugly uniforms, an uglier stadium, and a lack of both fans and wins. But these aren't your 20th century Devil Rays. Let's get to know the 2008 Rays.

Unlike perennial AL East powerhouses New York and Boston, Tampa assembled their winning team through the draft and by trading older, expensive players for younger ones. Take a look at their lineup and how they came to Tampa.

Carl Crawford - 2nd round draft pick.
Rocco Baldelli - 1st round draft pick.
BJ Upton - 1st round draft pick.
Evan Longoria - 1st round draft pick.
Dioner Navarro - acquired from Dodgers for Toby Hall and and former 76ers forward Mark Hendrickson.
Carlos Pena - free agent.
Akinori Iwamura - free agent purchase from Japan.
Cliff Floyd - free agent.
Jason Bartlett - acquired from Minnesota as part of the Delmon Young trade.

Matt Garza - acquired in a trade with Minnesota for prized offensive machine and umpire battering outfielder Delmon Young.
Scott Kazmir - ripped off the Mutts in getting Kazmir for Victor "Not Carlos" Zambrano.
Andy Sonnanstine - drafted in the 13th round.
James Shields - drafted in the 16th round.
Edwin Jackson - acquired in a trade with the Dodgers for closer Danys Baez.
David Price - the potential closer and playoff phenom was a first round pick from last year.
Dan Wheeler - acquired in a trade with Houston for Ty Wigginton.
JP Howell - acquired in a trade with Kansas City for Joey Gaithright.
Grant Balfour - acquired in a trade with Milwaukee for Seth McClung.

Of course, the stadium is a piece of crap and they still don't have fans, so they aren't totally different from your 20th century Devil Rays.
About That Ballpark
I visited Tropicana Field during the inaugural 1998 season and I was severely unimpressed. Considering that my frame of reference was the rat-infested, "cookie cutter" Vet, that tells you what The Trop is like. [No offense to The Vet, the greatest stadium ever, may you rest in peace.]

The Trop was built in 1993 in an attempt to lure a major league team to Tampa/St. Pete and was originally called the Suncoast Dome. It was later renamed the Thunderdome although Mad Max never lived in the dome. The juice advertisement came with the baseball team.

Some other ballpark quickfacts:
- It is the only facility to have artificial turf and all-dirt basebaths and not just dirt "sliding pits."
- The dome is home to the Ted Williams Museum/Hitters Hall of Fame.
- Despite building the dome with goal of getting a baseball team, no one designed a space for the bullpens. They are down the left and right field lines, very much in play and often becoming obstacles for outfielders.
Hey, Whose Number Is That?
The Rays have retired two numbers so far. One is the mandated number42, the other is Wade Boggs' number 12. Boggs played his final two unspectacular seasons in St. Pete, collecting his 3000th hit in the 1999 season just before retiring. So why would Tampa retire his number? Is it because of his many superstitions, like eating chicken before every game? Is it because he's the pitch man for Medical Hair Restoration? Nope, it's because the guy once drank 64 beers on a single cross country flight. They should have made him change his number to 64 before he retired.
Can We Get A Do-Over?
The Rays have made some great moves to put this championship team together. But not every move they made worked out. Here are my favorite two mistakes.

1) Devil Rays trade Randy Winn to Seattle for the rights to negotiate with Lou Pinella. They gave away their only All Star for a manager. Too stupid to even mock.

2) Bobby Abreu to the Phillies for Kevin Stocker. Abreu was the D-Rays' sixth pick in the 1997 expansion draft, but he was immediately shipped to Philly. Best trade in Philly history?
Worst Logo Ever
This vomit-inducing work of graphic design was actually the cap logo for the Devil Rays in 1999. Uuuuugghhh.



GM-Carson said...

Today in Phils history-
1980: Finally, Victory! Nearly 66,00 fans at the Vet witness the Phils beating the Royals to take the 1980 World Championship. Tug McGraw fanned Willie Wilson to seal the victory.

JMS said...

Happy birthday (yesterday) Mickey Mantle!

And c'mon, don't hate on Kevin Stocker.

GreggyD said...

The talking heads at ESPN can't get enough of the Rays and especially David Price. I know that the WWL loves them some American League baseball, but I'm sick and tired of the whole playing favorites thing. As I look at the "SC Live" board right now I see the following: fall classic, interleague dominance, and why Rays win series. On the same note, upon clicking a link for "World Series Preview" on their site last night, I heard Steve Phillips and John Kruk (two of the few people I actually respect on that network) have an orgasm over David Price and how he is pretty much unhittable. Can someone remind me how many games he has pitched in? What's that? Less than 10? Wow, I thought he was up for the Cy Young with the way these guys talked. They actually compared him to K-Rod at one point the other day. Ridiculous.

I understand that the guy got the save in game seven, but good lord. This is a bit ridiculous. I've seen one "expert" pick the Phils to win this series. Then again, they also all picked the Dodgers to win and either the Angels or Cubs to win the Series. Is it Wednesday yet?

GreggyD said...

I had to get that rant out of my system. Hadn't had one in awhile.

GM-Carson said...

I liked Kevin Stocker, without him there would have been no '93 playoff team. After '93 he sucked though, and it was a miracle the D-Rays took him in exchange for Abreu.

David Price is a rookie, a hot-shot rookie, but still a rookie. With that said, he could play a pivotal role in this series in shutting down our lefties (Utley and Howard) late games.

ripjgarcia said...

1 reason to hate this Price fellow...

He's a Braves fan.

Soss said...

I don't know about all this hatin' on the Phillies from ESPN. I can't remember who, but of the 3 guys I saw making picks, all 3 picked the Phils.

JMS said...

Carson, I'm a Stocker. I'm a little biased. I know he sucked from '94-'97, but that didn't stop me from loathing Desi Relaford when I was 12.

GreggyD said...

I'm going off of the ESPN World Series page which shows that Caple, Law, Kurkjian, and Neyer all picked the Rays. Gammons did pick the Phils. I haven't heard any predictions on TV so if Kruk, Phillips, etc made picks, then I did not include them. Not that it matters anyway.

Maria said...

Kruk and Phillips both picked the Phillies. I'm puzzled though because Steve Phillips said the Rays had the better bullpen, starting rotation, bench and defense. My question to him-so why do you think they'll lose? He's trying to jinx us.

C.M.R. said...

every time i turn on espn theyre talking about the rays and their miracle season

vegas oddsmakers say the rays are the favorites. screw them.

BloodStripes said...

Mitch is picking the Phils.

SirAlden said...

Phillies in 6.

Go Phillies!!!!

dr. steve said...

I don't understand how a team that goes to game 7 and has a bullpen that blows two games in a row with poor starting pitching...

...can have it completely erased and suddenly their pitching is amazing and it is as if they swept the regular season and the playoffs.

The Phillies are also treated as if they have no players, no hitters, no pitchers, not even a coach. It's as if they won those games by some kind of coin toss, and not in dominating fashion where they lost two games TOTAL.

It's bullshit. It's just bullshit. Cole and Myers better take the first two games so we can end this in Philadelphia.

Aaron said...

It's our year everyone ....I feel it in my bones. Our day has finally come.

BloodStripes said...

Let 'em all pump up the Rays. Lull them into a false sense of security. We know the Phils have what it takes. They will be quietly confident. Phils do it better.

Aaron said...

This is gonna sound retarted but...
I think we should use So taguchi as the DH tommorow.
I just got this weird feeling that some how some way that idiot is going to so something to help us win the world series and then every time he comes back to philly after we don't sign him in the off season, we will be giving him the same standing O that Cards fans gave him.

BloodStripes said...

What I remember most about that Cardinal World Series win was Taguchi's clutch hits. So will come through sooner or later.

GM-Carson said...

I wouldn't be shocked to see Taguchi batting 8th or 9th playing LF tonight will Burrell DHing batting 5th.

I was listening to "The Show" on XM yesterday on my ride home and they were talking about how the Phils haven't been getting any love from the media the entire postseason.

Hugging Harold Reynolds said...

Wade Boggs once threatened to "kick my fat lips in."

GM-Carson said...

Wow that a racist comment by Sir Boggs. Not only did he cheat on his wife repeatedly he hates blacks too.

Anonymous said...

Ahaa, its fastidious dialogue on thе topіс of thiѕ post hеre at this ωebѕіte, I have
read all that, so at this tіme me also commenting here.

Feel free to vіsit my web site :: boom trucks
my website > altec bucket trucks

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodnеss! Impressiѵe агtіclе dudе!
Μаny thanks, Ηowever I am gοing thгough diffіcultieѕ with your RSS.
I don't understand why I am unable to subscribe to it. Is there anyone else having identical RSS issues? Anyone who knows the solution can you kindly respond? Thanks!!

Feel free to visit my web-site; used bucket trucks for sale
Also see my site :: bucket trucks

Anonymous said...

Thankѕ fοr finally writing аbout > "Know Your Enemy - Rays - Fall Classic Edition" < Loved it!

my web page; tenѕ
my site -