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
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.
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.
On May 8, 2013, I joined fellow Tampa Bay Rays fans at Tropicana Field to participate in “Tweet-Up at the Trop.” I joined Twitter in 2011 to follow the Rays and to promote my blogs. Since I am in college, away from my family (also huge Rays fans) it was nice to talk with other fans about the game online since my roommates aren’t really into sports. During one of the games, I saw an advertisement for “Tweet-Up at the Trop.” The event allowed fans to purchase a $25 ticket, which includes:
- In-game recognition
- Discounted seat in the Lower Level
- Tweet-Up T-shirt with a custom Twitter user name
- Trivia and Prizes (autographs, jerseys, etc)
- Pre-Game Q&A session with Dave Wills (Rays Radio Announcer)
- Early entry to see the Rays’ batting practice
I entered through Gate 4 – the gate that only media and homeplate club members can go through. I picked up my shirt and was deeply impressed with it. I heard the last Twitter event had white shirts; the blue ones are much better.
Once I reached the section, Raymond was there to meet the fans and to take pictures with. At 5, in-game host Rusty Kath and radio announcer Dave Wills arrived to answer question. Wills discussed how he uses Twitter to up-to-date with other sports teams and how great it is to let fans become involved in the sport – the Rays use Twitter to let fans ask the broadcasters questions about the team.
After the question-answer session, I met up with some of my Twitter friends. Thanks to the shirts, I was able to recognize their Twitter names. Once the game began, all the special events took place in section 128 – The first pitch was thrown by the winner of a Twitter question. The Rays also had several trivia questions on Twitter throughout the night – one of the prizes was an autographed picture of Desmond Jennings and another prize was a Roberto Hernandez jersey.
The game ended up being perfect for a Twitter night, expect for the part when the Rays lose. But besides that, us Twitter users spent our time on our phones tweeting. In the beginning of the game, Sean Rodriquez was called out at home, even though replays show that Rodriquez slid across home plate. Coach Joe Maddon argued the call and was ejected after pointing out how there was evidence on the plate that Rodriquez slid across. The next event was when Blue Jays pitcher J.A. Happ was hit in the eat with a ball. Images showed blood coming out of his ear. (Happ is now on the DL after being treated at Bayfront Hospital). Within minutes, Happ began trending on Twitter since all the fans were praying and thinking about him. After the bullpen gave up the lead (again) fans took to Twitter to vent.
Though the Rays lost, I had a great time at the game meeting other Twitter fans. The seats were great and it was great meeting Rusty and Dave in person – everyone there was friendly. My only recommendation would be having a player answer a few questions. I’m looking forward to next year’s event.
I am excited to announce that I will be running my first 5K Race this Saturday. On May 11, 2013, PNC Bank Miles for Moffitt will be taking place at the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida. Miles for Moffitt consists of several races in which 100% of all donations and registration fees will benefit H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research. I personally volunteer with Moffitt cancer patients and have heard wonderful stories about Moffitt’s staff; I’m excited to help Moffitt with its goal of getting rid of cancer.
Besides the 5k, there is also a 5 mile, a 1 mile, and a run with the Tampa Bay Rays’ mascot Raymond (each child also receives a finisher medal). Raymond is not the only Ray participating in the race – Rays third baseman Evan Longoria created a team (Team Longo). And yes, being a huge Rays fan I had to join his team.
Longoria had this to say:
Moffitt Cancer Center supporters,
As many of you know, I am a fan of the work Moffitt Cancer Center does in the Tampa Bay community and want to support it in many ways.
I would be honored if you would join my Race Team and help me raise money for the life-saving research at Moffitt Cancer Center.
You can join my team and run in one of the races on race day, or support Moffitt as a Virtual Runner (and still get the t-shirt!).
To sweeten the deal, I’ve committed to the following incentives for those who sign up to be on my Race Team:
1) Each individual team member who raises $500 will be entered into a random drawing for baseball autographed by me
2) Each individual team member who raises $1,000 will be entered into a random drawing to watch the Rays batting practice and personally meet me prior to a mutually agreed upon Rays home game in the 2013 season
Please join my team to help save lives!
For more information of Miles for Moffitt, click here.
If you would like to donate to my team or leave a positive word of encouragement, click here.
Today the Tampa Bay Rays faced former Ray pitcher James Shield. As every fan knows, Shields has been part of the Rays organization for 12 years and leads many of the pitching records for the team. He (along with pitcher Wade Davis and infielder Elliot Johnson) was traded during the off-season for several prospects, including power-hitter Wil Myers. Before today’s game, several Rays’ players, coaches, and reporters spent time catching up with Shields.
- Desmond Jennings CF
- Matt Joyce LF
- Ben Zobrist RF
- Evan Longoria 3B
- James Loney 1B
- Yunel Escobar SS
- Luke Scott DH
- Jose Molina C
- Ryan Roberts 2B
- Alex Cobb P
- Alex Gordon LF
- Alcides Escobar SS
- Billy Butler DH
- Eric Hosmer 1B
- Lorenzo Cain CF
- Mike Moustakas 3B
- Jeff Francoeur RF
- Salvaador Perez C
- Elliot Johnson 2B
- James Shields P
Due to Cobb and Shields both being amazing pitchers, the game was expected to be a low-scoring game. To the surprise of many, the Rays quickly took the lead in the 1st inning. Lead-off hitter Desmond Jennings singled and then Matt Joyce hit a 2-run homerun, making it 2-0. Ben Zobrist flied out, Evan Longoria walked, and James Loney doubled to make it two-on, one-out, but Yunel Escobar and Luke Scott both struck out to end the inning. In the bottom of the 1st, Alex Cobb allowed only one hit to Billy Butler.
The Royals had a small threat in the bottom of the 2nd when there were two men on with two outs, but Cobb was able to get Elliot Johnson to fly out to left field. The Royals almost scored a run in the 5th inning when Johnson singled with two outs. Johnson stole 2nd then moved to 3rd on a wild pitch by Cobb. Luckily, Cobb struck out Alex Gordon.
In the 6th, Cobb was able to get Alcides Escobar and Billy Butler to ground out, but he allowed Eric Hosmer to double, Lorenzo Cain to single, and Mike Moustakas to homer, making it 3-2 in favor of the Royals. The Royals weren’t done – Jeff Francoeur doubled and Salvador Perez singled, making it 4-2. After allowing six straight hits with 2 outs, Cobb was replaced by Jamey Wright who was able to get Gordon to ground out. The Royals continued to score runs in the 7th inning while the Rays (pitching, defense, offense) all fell apart. With Brandon Gomes pitching in the 7th, Alcides Escobar singled and stole a base. Gomes struck out Butler and intentionally walked Eric Hosmer and then the Rays’ defense fell apart. Lorenzo Cain singled to center field – though three players were capable of catching the ball, none of them did. When Jeff Francoeur was batting, Cain stole 2nd base and Hosmer scored by a throwing error by catcher Jose Molina. Jeff Francoeur triples, making it 7-2.
In the top of the 8th, James Shields is replaced by Kelvin Herrera. Matt Joyce is the only player to make it to 1st – the Rays’ poor offense once again makes its appearance. When the Royals were batting, Cesar Ramos became the new pitcher and walked Elliot Johnson. Johnson ends up scoring a run after a single and two sac-flies. In the 9th, Loney leads off with a single and makes to third when Escobar singles and gets thrown out at second. With Loney on third with one out, Scott flies out to center and Molina strikes out – Rays lose 8-2. What was supposed to be an exciting pitching match between Alex Cobb and James Shields ended up being an embarrassing Rays’ loss.
- Alex Cobb entered the game with 10 wins since August 1, 2012 – tied for the most in MLB in that span.
- With Matt Joye’s home run today, that is a team-record tying 15 straight games with a homer for the Rays (record was set in 2009).
- Since Matt Joyce’s hit lead-off on Friday, he’s homered three times in four games, and has six RBI over that stretch
- James Shields’ wife and parents came to the game today – they must be in a good mood.
- With Luke Scott being called up, Shelley Duncan was sent down to the minors.
- 9 out of 14 games the Rays have lost after having the lead.
Around the League:
- On Monday, the New York Yankees lost to the Houston Astros for the first time since 2003. Former Ray Carlos Pena had 1 RBI and 1 Run in that game for the Astros.
- Kevin Youkilis is back on the DL for his sore back.
- Another slow start for the Los Angeles Angels may mean coach Michael Scioscia may be out of a job.
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.
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” (mlblogstbchick2011.wordpress.com)
Before the Tampa Bay Rays played the Kansas City Royals, David Price was at the Negro League Baseball Museum in Kansas City to receive his Bullet Rogan “Pitcher of the Year” Award. Charles Wilber “Bullet” Rogan was an American pitcher for the Kansas City Monarchs in the Negro baseball leagues from 1920-1938. He was considered one of the best (if not the best) pitcher in the Negro League. When Rogan wasn’t pitching, he was playing the outfield and hitting home runs. After receiving the award, Price toured the museum with first base coach George Hendrick, pitching coach Jim Hickey, and hitting coach Derek Shelton.
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 (mlblogstbchick2011.wordpress.com)