Pitcher’s Duel Dooms Rays
I got to the stadium tonight at about 5 minutes before the gates opened as usual and was strolling around just saying hello to a few friends and fans. I got over by the Ted Williams Museum and saw one friend who told me a pretty distrubing bit of news about one of the Trop’s imfamous fans.
It seems tha Cowbell Kid had been on WDAE a local talk radio station some time during the day and had opened his mouth as bit about a certain mother-daughter pairing at the Trop. It seems that Cowbell found it a bit odd that a person who was born in New York city and wore a NY pendant around their neck can not be a true Rays fan.
He urged the radio audience to go up to her and yank that chain off her. Now the thought that some strange fan, or Cowbell-ite might go up and yank a chain off someone neck like a two-bit theft made me a bit more than angry. You see thei guy has been given multiple chances by the Rays management to try and be a positive influence to the fans.
I use another Myspace superfan as an example. If you got to a Chicago White Sox game, ask about Soxman. I have read alot of positive thing about him in the community, and in the press for his humanitarian and civic gestures. Positive thing led to positive action from a team.
This latest flap has me all up in a roar and wanting this guy finally banished from the stadium. I love the fact he is a super fan. And I can truly understand and empathize about the struggles of being a Rays fan before this year. But to make a request that some do a crime against another fan, and someone he has also been on local television stations with is beyond belief and borders on insane.
For this reason, I am going to move thru the crowd at our annual Wall of Fame reception on Thursday and ask the Rays true faithful for their support in finally getting this guy either on page with the masses, or boot him to the Ferg’s parking lot where he can park cars in his Marge Simpson Wig and fake grill.
I have spoken to the mother-daughter cheering team and let them know they have my total support in fighting this maniac. The word “fans” of course comes from the word “fanatic”. I enjoy fans, but you have to curb your fanatic edges sometimes, even for baseball.
Last night at the Trop we saw a classic pitchers duel unfold. We saw on e of the American Leagues primier pitchers thae last 5 years going against a Rays’ upstart. Roy Halladay had lost 3 pervious starts against the Rays squad this year, and the odds were that Halladay coulr rebound at any moment.
On the other hand, James Shields is being regarded by many around baseball as having some of the most explosive stuff in the league. Shields came to the mound seeking his 12th win of the season. What Shields ended up with was his 8th loss of the year in a hard fought game.
Shields went 6,2 innings and gave up 9-hits and 4-runs during the game. Shields got in trouble in the 4th inning as Toronto’s Alex Rios duobled to center and Adam Lind walked on 8 pitches. Lyle Overbay then came up and sent the first pitch he saw to the deep centerfield gap and Rios and Lind scored to put the Jays up 3-0.
The energy level felt around the stadium tonight was at an all time low for this season. For some reason the stands as well as the players seemed to be in a bit of a lull instead of their usual upbeat, cowbell thumping maniacs. I do not know what to contribute to this lack of enegry tonight.
Maybe it is the fact that the contest Sunday could have been a emtional drain for the guys in the dugout, but with a day off on Monday you would think it would have washed off their psyches and they came out with a new attitude. You never know, but the Rays never seemed to have that visible spark or eruption of visual stimulation you usually see of from these guys on gameday.
Some people might have a unreal realization that this team no longer loses at home. Well, on most night’s that is true, but even tho we have one of the major’s best records at home doesn’t mean down this stressful last month we will not have mistakes or losses at home. But with only 15 games left in the home schedule, you would hope that the Rays could muster as many wins as possible to avoid having to pick up wins on the road.
The Ray finally got a huge offensive momentium going in the 6th innnig when Akinora Iwamura led off the inning with a single to center. After B J Upton struck out, Carlos Pena hit a ball into left that moved Iwamura to seocnd base and in scoring position.
Then 5 pitches into Cliff Floyd’s at bat, Haladay threw a Wild Pitch and both runners advanced a base to put Iwamura 90 feet from the Rays’ first score of the night. Floyd ened up striking out and Willy aybar was hit by a pitch and loaded the bases for the Rays. Eric Hinske came up with the bases loaded and 2 outs in the inning. Hinske singled to left and scored both Iwamura and Pena to bring the Rays within striking range of the Jays, 3-2.
This was the last offensive surge for the Rays in the contest.
In the game, the Rays had only three batters to the plate 5 times in the contest, including the 1-2-3 9th inning where the Rays struck out twice in the inning. On the night the Jay’s pitching staff got 11 strikeouts and only produced 7 hits on the night. Ben Zobrist and Junstin Ruggiano both came up as pinch-hiiter in the 9th inning and struck out for the Rays.
Worst thing about this contest is that the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees were battling in their contest during the Rays game. Boston ended up winning the game and moving 3 1/2 games behind the Rays. The next three series are critical for the Rays as we battle American League East foes who want to knock us off our perch on top of the standings.
Not since 1997 has another team beside the Yankees or Red Sox been at the top of the standings at this point in the season. In 1997, the Baltimore Orioles topped the Yankees for that position. In that season the Orioles ended up winning 98 games and only finished 2 games abive the Yankees.