Baseball Rays Style
Hey there all,
Here we are,a little more than a month before the Big Day in Camden Yards in Baltimore. Season 11 has a great vibe to it. To make it feel even better was the Leap Years Spring Training opener that was won by our Rays.
Edwin Jackson gave himself a leg up on his quest for a slot in the rotation with a solid effort for two innings. Eric Hinske put a exclamation point on his search for a roster spot by producing a game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning. Perfect start to a season with high and lofty goals.
An interesting sidebar to the game was that James Houser was the winning pitcher for the Rays. As you might remember, Houser was suspended by Minor League baseball last year for violations of banned substances. there is a wild technicality where, if the Rays ( they did) put him on the teams 40-man roster in the off season, he can be invited and participate with the parent club during Spring Training. He can be returned to the minors without worrying about the suspension if the Rays keep him on the 40-man roster for the season. Stay tuned to this one, it might be interesting.
I was listening to my favorite Morning Show,Fisher and Boy on 97X, when they interviewed uber-stud Scott Kazmir about the upcoming season. This was before Scott had his elbow situation that will sideline him for a few weeks. Scott was on track to be the Opening Day pitcher again for the Rays. This will probably put a damper on that goal, but might resurface as he should be in line to be the Home Opening Day pitcher where we can voice and cheer until we are hoarse for him.
I have to give thank here to a special friend who has left the Rays family after many, many productive and joyful years with the Rays. I will miss John Franzone this home opener. For those of you who have not met john, or know him, he is the brainchild behind the “Rays vision” in-game productions. John was also the mastermind behind the commercials a few years back with Aubrey Huff( fishing) and Carl Crawford( Dog track) that were on local televisions.
He was a tireless worker who I used to see talking into his headset daily to anyone, and everyone who would listen to him. I used to love to chat with him and had the great pleasure to be in a Franzone production of “Braveknobs” a few years ago. I was graced with a speaking role and a central location for the commercial where I was seen in a lot of the scenes.
Whichever team now employs John Franzone is a lucky franchise. He is a true gem who will shine for a long time in the video world. I was not able to call him before he left the Rays and tell him how much his chats and his in game videos and production meant to me as a Rays Season ticket holder. John will never be “thanking the Academy,” but I hope a Clio or an Emmy is in his future.
Last, but not least. I will make a comment on Delmon Young here. I like him as a player and a future All-Star in this league, but as a person, he needs a bit of practice. I will never doubt or hide the fact that he is a true 5-tool player that has a mouth of a pre-teen boy. I applaud and laugh at the verbal exchange he ad with Carl Crawford this week. Carl is an honest and pretty shy guy when it comes to commenting on his teammates, or former teammates.
For him to even say those things concerning Delmon, he truly and honestly feels those comments in his heart. Carl is growing into a clubhouse leader, both by on-field example, and by standing up and being counted on by his peers. I applaud Carl, and laugh at Delmon.
You might be an All-Star for a decade, but I can not cheer for a guy who doesn’t respect rookie traditions and team practices, and the holy unwritten rules of the game. I wish him luck.
With that out of the way, I have been browsing the web and found a true Delmon Young gem that will show what talent he has when he loves the game. Minnesota Twins fan will salivate at this, and hope it can happen in the friendly confines of their dome in the not to distant future.
See you in the Berm this Spring. Do not forget, this is the last year we are training and playing at Progress Energy Field. Come catch the Rays before they head to Port Charlotte next Spring. Support our guys this year.
By the way, my tickets arrived today for the Bon Jovi/Daughtry concert at the St Pete Times Forum on April 27,2008, after the Boston Red Sox game. I will be sitting in Section 209 in the Canon private suite that looks directly at the stage area. Free food and drinks and my sexy lady by my side, and thinking of………..