Tagged: Major League Baseball

Tampa Bay Rays Win on Opening Day

Happy Opening Day!!!

I hope everyone went to the doctor and received prescriptions for high blood pressure and anxiety medication over the off-season because this season is expected to be the most exciting one in Tampa Bay Rays’ history. Several sports analysts predict the Rays will make it to the World Series. Now before Rays fans get too excited, there are 162 regular season games to be played.

Toronto Blue Jays

  • Jose Reyes SS (left with hamstring tightness) –> Ryan Goins
  • Melky Cabrera LF
  • Jose Bautista RF
  • Edwin Encarnacion
  • Dioner Navarro DH (remember him? 2008 Rays All-Star catcher)
  • Brett Lawrie 3B
  • Colby Rasmus CF
  • Maicer Izturis 2B
  • Josh Thole C –> Erik Kratz
  • R.A. Dickey SP

 

Tampa Bay Rays

  • David DeJesus LF –> Brandon Guyer
  • Wil Myers RF
  • Ben Zobrist 2B
  • Evan Longoria 3B
  • James Loney 1B
  • Desmond Jennings CF
  • Matt Joyce DH
  • Jose Molina C
  • Yunel Escobar SS
  • David Price SP

Game Recap

David Price looked ready for the 2014 baseball season as he walked to the mound. Price had a quick 1-2-3 inning by getting Jose Reyes to fly out to center, Melky Cabrera to ground out to shortstop, and Jose Bautista to strike out. Rays leadoff hitter David DeJesus popped out, but Wil Myers wasted no time showing fans what to expect of him this season by hitting a double. After Ben Zobrist struck out, Evan Longoria singled to bring Myers home. Isn’t the Myers-Longoria threat beautiful? Price repeated his awesomeness in the second inning, quickly bringing the Rays back up to bat. Both Desmond Jennings and Matt Joyce are expected to be better offensively and both showed a positive sign that they were heading into that direction; Jennings doubled and Joyce walked. With two on, Jose Molina struck out, Yunel Escobar flied out to right, and DeJesus walked, bringing Myers up to bat in a bases-loaded situation. Myers being Myers, he singled to bring Jennings and Joyce home. At the end of the second inning, Rays lead 3-0.

In the third inning, Price allowed a walk to Colby Rasmus to end his 6-player retiring streak. Bautista singled, but Price was able to end the threat by getting Josh Thole to ground into a double play and Ryan Goins to ground out. The Rays added to their lead with Longoria leading off with a walk, Loney moving Longoria over by grounding out to pitcher, Longoria moving to third on a wild pitch, and scoring when Joyce hit a sacrifice fly to center. It looked as though the replay challenge was going to be used when Longoria slid into second base, but the Jays decided not to challenge it (Longoria was safe in the replays). The fourth inning was scary when Cabrera singled to center and Bautista singled to left, but Price was able to strike Edwin Encarnacion and Brett Lawrie out while getting Dioner Navarro to fly out to center.

At the bottom of the fifth inning, Zobrist led off with a walk. Longoria popped out to third (darn these infield popups), Loney walked, but then Jennings grounded out into a fielder’s choice, sending Loney back to the dugout. With two-on and two-out, Joyce doubled to right, bringing Zobrist and Jennings home. Molina flied out to center to end the inning, but the Rays now lead 6-0 over the Jays.

In the seventh inning, Loney lead off with a single and stole a base. Joyce doubled to send Loney to home plate where he was out. Molina ended the inning with a hit to shortstop (at least he hit the ball this time). Erik Kratz hits a 2-run homerun in the eighth inning. Kratz replaced pitch-hit for Thole, making his debut for his new team (so of course he hits a homerun on the first pitch against the Rays). After Price struck out Goins, Joe Maddon made the call to the bullpen and Joel Peralta was sent out. Price allowed 2 runs on 6 hits with 102 pitches. Peralta retires the next two batters to end the inning. In the bottom of the eighth, Dejesus comes out after being hit by a pitch during a pickoff at first. Brandon Guyer replaces DeJesus and waits on first as Myers approaches the plate. Myers ends up scoring both Guyer and himself due to a throwing error by pitcher Jeremy Jeffress and a throwing error by Bautista. Zobrist walks his third walk of the game, Longoria singles, and Loney hits a sacrifice fly to score Zobrist. Jennings singles to load the bases, but Molina (once again) ends the inning by grounding out. Rays now lead 9-2.

In the ninth, Brandon Gomes struck out Encarnacion, gave up a hit to Navarro, struck out Lawrie, and gets Rasmus to ground out to end the game. Rays win 9-2!

1 game down, 161 to go…

What I like:

  • Offense: Almost every Ray contributed to the game today and some runs were even scored when the base runners were in scoring positions AND there were two outs. Crazy.
  • Defense: Desmond Jennings make a spectacular catch in the first, a great start for the team since the defense wasn’t the best last year. Minus a ball that past Yunel Escobar’s glove, the defense looked what it is expected to be all the time.
  • Pitching: David Price looked amazing – he wasn’t 100% perfect, but he looked ready to lead the team to plenty of wins his final year in Tampa Bay. Joel Peralta and Brandon Gomes.

What I didn’t like:

  • Evan Longoria and Wil Myers being separated. Joe Maddon probably has some explanation, but shush and put the powerhouses next to each other.
  • It’s still too early and I’m determined not to bring up the past, but certain players need to stop being an instant out (who know who I’m talking about).
  • The construction on I-275 is making the usual 30-45 minute drive to St. Petersburg to a 2-hour ordeal. For any Rays fans planning on making the trip to St. Pete this season, please leave early or expect some fun times on the Howard Franklin.

 

Game Stats

Jays haven’t won a series at the Trop since April 2007.

Replay challenge was used for the first time this season during the Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates game. The play was upheld and took a long time of 2 minutes to decide it… Good-bye 10 minute yelling matches between managers and umpires.

 

David Price still hasn’t heard from MLB

After the “he-said, he-said” incident between Tampa Bay Rays pitcher David Price and homeplate umpire Tom Hallion, Price and several other Rays are waiting to hear if they will be fined by Major League Baseball. In 2012, MLB created a new law that forbids baseball players and coaches from criticizing umpires to the media – not surprising considering how much MLB protects the umpires. While players can be fined and suspended for one incident, it takes three incidents for an umpire to be suspended and even if he is punished, MLB will keep it a secret. Hallion was suspended in 1999 for bumping a player and a coach; he has a history of being an instigator.

Price also believes the ESPN video clip of him leaving the field distorts what happens – which is true. When I was watching ESPN, the clip made it seem that Price was talking to the umpire when he headed back to the dugout and that the umpire ejected him, but in reality, Price was just talking to himself (which he is known to do) and Jeremy Hellickson was actually ejected. Hellickson seemed to be the scapegoat since all the Rays were upset at Hallion because several players heard Hallion use the F-word to Price. Several sports analysts seemed to believe Price started the argument, when it was Hallion.

Price believes that none of the Rays players should be fined and that he was unaware of MLB’s social media that prohibits players from posting content “that questions the impartially of or otherwise denigrates a Major League umpire.” Besides Price, Jeremy Hellickson, Matt Moore, and Sean Rodriquez make comments on their Twitter accounts that criticized Hallion. Even if the four players are fined, MLB may choose to not punished Hallion at all. 

Sources:

Marc Topkin Price hasn’t heard from MLB yet, still upset at ump’s language  Tampa Bay Times

Umpire tells David Price “to throw the ball over the F-in Plate”

The game was tied 3-3 in the 7th inning when Tampa Bay Rays pitcher David Price stepped onto the mound. The Cy Young Winner has yet to win a game this year and he was determined to pitch a scoreless inning. After allowing a single to Conor  Gillaspie, Tyler Flowers hit into a double play. After David Price threw a “strike 3” pitch to Dewayne Wise, he and Rays fans were surprised to see the ball was called a “ball” instead. Throughout the game, homeplate umpire Tom Hallion had a strict strike zone – the pitch had to be perfect for it to be called a strike. Though Price was able to get Wise to ground out to him and end the inning, he was not happy.

After the commercial break ended, Rays announcer Todd Kalas announced that Rays pitcher Jeremy was ejected from the game. According to Price and several other players, after the inning was over Price was upset at the umpire, but did not say anything. The umpire, seeing Price was mad at him, told him to “throw the ball over the f-in plate.” This caused the Rays players, especially the pitchers, to get upset so Hallion pointed to Hellickson and ejected him. As fans know, Hellickson is the stereotypical country boy; he’s quiet, polite, and well-behaved so for him to get ejected is really surprising.

After the game, it wasn’t the win that the Rays were talking about first, it was the ejection of Hellickson. Coach Joe Maddon was surprised that of all the players, it was Hellickson that was ejected. When Hellickson was interviewed, he looked as though he couldn’t even harm a fly, much less cuss at an umpire. Hellickson has never been ejected, but less been in any kind of trouble. Price took to Twitter to defend him and Hellickson’s actions – asking his followers “Someone give me the definition of a coward please.”

Meanwhile, Hallion told a reporter, “I’ll come right out bluntly and say he’s a liar… I’m denying what he said I said, pretty strongly…I said ‘Just throw the ball.” That’s all I said to him.” Hallion also claims he ejected Hellickson because “He was told to know if off, him and Moore were at the dugout rail and I told them to knock it off, and he thought it was okay for him to have his final comment, at which time he was ejected.”

Once David Price heard the umpire called him a liar…

Price is not the only Rays player on Twitter upset. Fellow pitchers Matt Moore and Jeremy Hellickson, plus infielder Sean Rodriquez expressed their disgust at the umpire.

This episode shows that umpires need to be held accountable for their actions. Instead of claiming Price is a liar even though other players and fans at the game heard the “F” word, the umpire should of acknowledge his mistake, apologized to Price, and accepted his punishment. Instead, he called Price a liar and took his anger out on Hellickson. Umpires are supposed to be anonymous, not the antagonist of the show.

Umps Continue to make Bad Calls Against the Rays

It was the bottom of the ninth, two outs, a runner on first, and a 3-2 count – the Tampa Bay Rays had a nine inning rally going on. Ben Zobrist was batting and Evan Longoria was up next; the two best Rays hitters were up and could make a difference in the game. Texas Ranger closer Joe Nathan threw what appeared to be a ball; catcher A.J. Pierzynski’s glove touched the ground when he caught the ball. As Zobrist began his trot toward first base, home plate umpire Marty Foster shouted “strike!” The game was over – Rays lose 5-4.

It was obvious to me and viewers everywhere that it was a ball – it was low and nearly bounced into Pierzynski’s Sports analysts, sports journalists, baseball fans, Rangers fans, and even football players took to Twitter to comment on how that was obviously a ball. Rays fans took to Twitter to express their anger about the call; how once again, the Rays lost because of bad umpiring. Now, there are those who will say “the game shouldn’t have been that close to begin with” or “mistakes happen, you try being an umpire” and I would go to bed angry and wake up in a better mood, except I’m tired of hearing those excuses. Why do umpires continue to determine the outcome of a Rays game? This is hardly the first time an umpire made a bad call against the Rays, it is becoming way too common for Rays fans to witness umpires controlling the game. Former Rays pitcher Matt Garza was switched in the pitching rotation because one home plate umpire believed Garza’s strikes were actually balls. Another umpire had trouble with B.J. Upton’s batting – the two would argue every year they met. And if the Rays are playing the Boston Red Sox or New York Yankees, Rays fans expect to different strike zones – one zone favored the big market team, the other ruined the Rays’ chances to win. As a low-market team with a small fan-base  Major League Baseball (MLB) probably prefers a team that will bring in television ratings in October.

There has been seven baseball games this season and already two of the games involved umpires making bad calls against the Rays when they had momentum on their side. On April 4th, the Rays had another ninth-inning rally going on when Evan Longoria was called out for passing up Ben Zobrist while they were running bases. The cameras show that all the umpires were looking toward outfield to see if the ball was a homerun, none of them were watching Longoria and Zobrist running. When coach Joe Maddon asked them to huddle together to make sure one of them saw Longoria pass Zobrist, they refused.

Now, umpires will make mistakes because they are human, so why does MLB continue to believe technology will hurt the game? Maddon could have “challenged” a call and had it reviewed – it would take a minute and all fans would be satisfied with the call.  Other sports like football, basketball, and hockey use video-replay and the games have not gone on for half-a-day. As long as MLB continues to favor umpires, the umpires will continue to be the bad guys. MLB made a rule that coaches and players cannot argue balls and strikes, meaning umpires can get away with an unique zone. If a player complains about an umpire, he is fined but some umpires were allowed to complain about certain teams making the games last more than 3 hours. Now there is a possibility that certain umpires may try to hurry games along by using the strike zone to their advantage. But as baseball fans know, baseball is played in all 9 innings – the Cincinnati Reds scored 9 runs in the 9th to beat the St. Louis Cardinals just the other day. And if an umpire is ever in trouble for making a bad call, it is not made public like coaches and players. If MLB continues to let umpires take the blame, fans will continue to believe that baseball favors certain teams over others. Its time for MLB to stop letting umpires get away with bad calls but removing some of the human element and replacing it with technology – it is 2013, not 1913.

What happen to Bobby Valentine?

 

English: Robert John Valentine. 日本語: ボビー・バレンタイ...

 Robert John Valentine. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Remember Bobby Valentine? The 2012 Boston Red Sox manager who was able to destroy Red Sox Nation in only one season? He was able to make several players “disappear” (Carl Crawford, Kelly Shoppach, Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett) and his fight with Mr. Red Sox Kevin Youkilis is one reason why Youkilis is now a New York Yankee. Valentine was never afraid to speak his mind, even joking about punching radio hosts in Boston. Though he had to deal with injuries throughout the year, the way he would bad mouth players on the radio probably played a huge factor in the reason why he was fired released by the Red Sox after the season ended. The Red Sox ended the season 69-93, the worst in 46 years and are predicted to have trouble selling tickets this year, according to the Red Sox President.

Well, Valentine has moved on with his life and was hired as the Sacred Heart University Athletic Director. Sacred Heart University is in Fairfield, Connecticut, about 20 miles away from Stamford where Valentine grew up. On Tuesday, February 26, there will be an official news conference to introduce Valentine, who takes over the position in July. “This is what I do. I accept challenges, and I enjoy life. And to hell with public perception.” O Valentine, he still has that lovely mouth.

David Price prefers his Beard over the Yankees

 

David Price of the Tampa Bay Rays doing first ...

David Price (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In an interview with Fox Sports, Cy Young Award winner David Price discussed the possibility of being with a new team in the next few years and how much he will miss his current team, the Tampa Bay Rays. O, he also talked about how he wouldn’t play for certain teams due to their strict rules. “It’s a joke to me, that I had less rules in college than I would on some major league teams. That’s not my style, man. I couldn’t do it on some of these teams I hear about. I couldn’t do it. I’m a grown man” says Price. When told that he would have to shave his beard if the Yankees traded for him, Price stated “I wouldn’t stay there very long then. I wouldn’t sign a long-term deal there. Those rules, that’s old-school baseball. I was born in ’85. That’s not for me. That’s not something I want to be a part of.” Price went on to praise Rays coach Joe Maddon’s care-free environment in the club house, where players can play any type of music in the locker room and wear any type of hair (or beard) style.

Yankees fans (and probably the Yankee Organization) did not like what Price said about the strict rules over at New York. On Thursday February 21, Price began doing damage control with the Yankees by calling them the best organization in sports, saying anything could happen by 2016, “My hair might fall out by then.” But Price stuck to his principles, saying that he “never aspired to be a New York Yankee” while growing up. Price says though money is a factor, he wants to be comfortable where he plays, “The last thing I want to think is that I’m signing a long-term deal — regardless of the money — and not having the feeling I have here.” Though money is always important in signing a contract, Price makes an excellent point on feeling comfortable spending years with one team. Former Ray Carl Crawford signed an expensive contract with the Boston Red Sox and ended up hating his time there, admitting he regretted his decision to play there several times. Luckily for Crawford, the Los Angeles Dodgers could afford to cover Crawford’s contract. If Price becomes the most expensive pitcher in baseball history, that means he can’t count on another team to bail him out but will have to remain with the team. The chance that a team would not like Price is slim though since he brings laughter to the Tampa Bay area.

According to Price, the Rays’ club house is a special place in all of major league baseball. It isn’t just recently traded pitcher James Shields that will miss the Rays, “It’s everybody that’s been traded or hit free agency from here and left and got their millions of dollars. They all miss it. We do things differently over here. We have freedom. We’re treated like grown men. Other places, it’s a penitentiary.” The Rays fans know that while the players love playing in Tampa, it is common to see players leave due to money issues. Center-fielder B.J. Upton signed with the Atlantic Braves this past off-season since the Rays could not afford him, and Price knows he probably will not be a Ray forever. Price’s contract with a new team could be worst almost $200 million, a price that the Rays cannot compete with. Though Price is a Ray for the next two years, there is a possibility that he will be traded before then; some even speculate that as soon as the All-Star break 2013. Price refuses to think about it and to spend the rest of his time here having fun while playing baseball. As with Upton, Crawford, and several other former Rays, the fans will continue to speculate how long Price will remain a Ray.

Tampa Bay Rays Promotion Schedule


The Tampa Bay Rays have released the promotion schedule for the 2013 baseball season.

Promotion

Date

Time

Opponent

Requirement

Schedule Magnet

April 2
Tuesday

3:10

Orioles

All Fans

David Price Cy Young Figurine

April 6
Saturday
7:10 Indians First 20,000 Fans
Evan Longoria Wall Cling April 7
Sunday
1:40 Indians Kids 14 & Under
Drawstring Bag April 21
Sunday
1:40 Athletics Kids 14 & Under
Joe Maddon Gnome April 24
Wednesday
7:10 Yankees First 10,000 Fans
Rays Flower Pot May 12
Sunday
1:40 Padres First 10,000 Women
Rays Snap Watch May 26
Sunday
1:40 Yankees Kids 14 & Under
Rays Rope Necklaces June 9
Sunday
1:40 Orioles Kids 14 & Under
Jeremy Hellickson Headphones June 16
Sunday
1:40 Royals Kids 14 & Under
Cheer Stix June 26
Wednesday
12:10 Blue jays Kids 14 & Under
Matt Joyce Race Car June 30
Sunday
1:40 Tigers Kids 14 & Under
Evan Longoria Retro Bobblehead July 6
Saturday
7:15 White Sox First 20,000 Fans
Super Zo Utility Belt July 7
Sunday
1:40 White Sox Kids 14 & Under
Cheer Stix July 11
Thursday
12:10 Twins Kids 14 & Under
DJ Kitty Confetti Globe July 14
Sunday
1:40 Astros Kids 14 & Under
Rays Backpack August 4
Sunday
1:40 Giants Kids 14 & Under
Rays Lunchbox August 18
Sunday
1:40 Blue Jays Kids 14 & Under
Moore Cowbell August 24
Saturday
7:10 Yankees First 10,000 Fans
Jennings the Jet Action Figure August 25
Sunday
1:40 Yankees Kids 14 & Under
Raymond Bobble Belly September 22
Sunday
1:40 Orioles Kids 14 & Under