Day Off for Rays…………My Scattered Thoughts
Vanishing Rays Radio Broadcasts
I have been a bit upset with MLB.TV and the Tampa Bay Rays lately. I really do not hold MLB.TV responsible at all, but looking at the daily radio and television broadcast schedule and seeing the game listed at 8 am, then missing at 1:05 or 7:05 that day can be a bit frustrating. I know it has more to do with the local end of the spectrum, but hey, I paid my subscription to hear every game of the Spring Training season when the Rays are not at home. Even the local radio station that will broadcast the Rays, WDAE 620, the “Sports Animal” seems to have a limited Spring Training schedule. I mean I would love to hear tomorrow’s game with the Pittsburgh Pirates, but it is not even being broadcast by the Pirate’s media group.
That tends to make me feel a bit violated. Not to the extent of bodily harm, but I am missing some of the baseball I really would love to hear/see. Now I have been lucky enough to get to most of the game this Spring, but that is only because I have a friend who lives in Fort Myers and I have stayed there to cut down on gas traveling from the Tampa Bay area down to Port Charlotte, Florida for most of the games. But there have been a few times in the last week that at the last minute, the games, which should have been on Game cast, seemed to disappear from the radio guide.
I was all ready to hear the St. Louis Cardinals versus the Rays game from Jupiter, Florida, and the airwaves were silent. The game was listed the night before, but when it came time for the pre-game, the listing vanished and so did my chance to hear the game. The same thing happened last night. I could not go to the Team Puerto Rico game against the Rays, so I was excited when it was originally listed on the radio listing for Weds. night. But during the day on Weds., it also went blank from the website listing for game that day. I know it is localized situations, but it frustrates me since I decided not to go, and the game got snagged off my computer speakers.
I am so upset that newly acquired Matt Joyce has not been game ready to make the right field platoon decision more difficult for the Rays. The fact that if he had not gotten a calf strain earlier in camp, he would be right in the mix fighting Gabe Kapler for the right-handed bat part of the planned platoon action. The kid has a great arm, and he did pretty good in limited action for the Detroit tigers last season.
But a recent MRI revealed that he definitely has a calf strain and will be out for some time. It is frustrating that he can not make a play to stay up with the big club and win out this spot in his first camp with the Rays. Nothing against Kapler here. I think Kapler is probably in the best shape of his life, but he is also not the player he was 4 years ago patrolling the Red Sox outfield. Trips to Japan to play, and also limited duties in Brewer-ville did not help his situation.
I just think that this camp would have been more fun with a definite race between these two guys, instead of having the job handed to Kapler by default. Even if Joyce get into his groove before March 20th, would the Rays send him to the minor league camp for assignment, or keep him up with the main squad until maybe April 1st? I think this kid is the real deal and can be in the mix in 2009 from day 1, but his injury has made it difficult for everyone to even pencil him in at any spot. That might even give the edge to someone like Justin Ruggiano, who is hitting for a .429 average this spring.
Maybe it is Ruggiano who should be paired up in a fight with Kapler for the right-handed spot in the platoon. Ruggiano has done everything the Rays have asked of him, but he has played mostly center field this spring. But Justin did play a good amount in right field last year, and does have that experience in the Trop. with the walls and the lights. Maybe this is the two who should be paired up because of the absence of Joyce. With that in mind, Gabe Gross has not been such a sure thing himself this spring. He has only appeared in 4 games, but that might be more of the staff knowing what he can do, and they are giving more time to Kapler and guys like Jon Weber to impress them.
Fan Fest Suggestion
Back during my blog after the Rays 2009 Fan Fest I commented on some of the changes i might make to the event if I was in charge in 2010. This is the main thing I would change, and it is more to give more exposure and attention to this group of fans. With the Rays opening the doors to season Ticket holders at 10 am, and the general public coming into the stadium at 11 am, they had a unique situation that with the players signings not starting until noon to maybe highlight the Rays/Pepsi Wall of Fame Induction ceremony.
Now with the ceremony currently being held at noon, it is pretty well known that people wanting to get autograph were not going to get out of line to hear any of the inductions, or even see any of the event. Maybe that event should start at 11:30 and it would be done about 12-12:15 and give the fans being inducted a bigger crowd base for their ceremonies. Of course there will still be those who will get in line at 11 am when they enter the stadium, but there were a huge amount of people just milling around and wandering until the lines opened up at noon.
Maybe by centering the event before the players signings begin, we can gravitate some of the people away from the signing stands and make that area more open to walking around the stadium. This is just a thought, you can take it or leave it. I just think that there was a space of about 45 minutes there after every one initially got into the stadium that no one was doing anything special, and could have been focused on the third baseline for the event. But I do have to add that except for a huge line at stage one, the event seemed to go off without a hitch again in 2009.