Results tagged ‘ MC Hammer ’

St. Petersburg and Oakland Could be Sister Cities

 
 

Going into this weekend 4-game series between the Oakland Athletics and the Tampa Bay Rays, I decided to take a little look under the municipality covers of both locales and see if there is any similarities that would provide a common thread to mend these two communities together. My reasoning is simple here, both are not the largest cities within their regional boundaries, but yet they both currently support a Major League Baseball American League franchise within their own unique city limits.

With something like this in common, you know there has to be more than a few links and similarities that might have gone unnoticed to most people outside these two cities. Let first step into the cities themselves and provide a few interesting facts, then we will end with the two teams common bonds within the scope of Major League Baseball.

*** Both cities lie on the western most shorelines of their separate natural harbors or estuaries. St. Petersburg is located on the western edge of the Tampa Bay estuary, while Oakland is situated within the larger San Francisco Bay estuary.

*** Both cities are relatively close in size with Oakland encompassing 56.1 square miles of land, and St. Petersburg having 59.6 square miles of land.

*** Both cities were incorporated within 25 years of each other with Oakland being established on May 4,1852, and St. Petersburg being incorporated on Leap Day February 29,1876.

*** Both municipalities got their prominent starts thanks to the growing railroad industry with St. Petersburg being a main railroad terminus thanks to one of the city’s founders Russian railroad tycoon Peter Demens, and Oakland owes its debt to the Central Pacific Railroad.

 
St Pete Trolley Line

*** Both had little known trolley systems with Oakland’s system expanding into the modern day Key System while St. Petersburg’s trolley system, which ran from its most western point at Park Street down St Pete’s main road, Central Avenue to the eastern ending point at the end of the Million Dollar Pier.


*** Both cities boast a special place in aviation history as St. Petersburg was the site of the first known commercial airlines (1914) flight. Oakland was the starting point of Amelia Earhart’ s final flight on her World-wide flight plan. She had envisioned landing again in Oakland to conclude her journey.

*** Both cities primary newspapers started within 10 years of each other. The Oakland Tribune started in 1874, while the St. Petersburg Time started it first printing in 1884.

*** In both cities, local Major League Baseball support groups have been critical and instrumental in changes for the MLB’s team future homes. In Oakland, “Let’s Go Oakland” (Keep the A’s) has been a grassroots civic group trying to keep the team in Oakland. They even have a face book page to advertise their plight. While in St. Petersburg, POWW (Protect Our Wallets and Waterfront ) has been instrumental in blocking the formulation of plans for the Rays 2008 vision of a waterfront ballpark on the site of the team’s former Spring Training stadium.

*** Both Oakland and St. Petersburg are currently fighting to keep their MLB team’s within their city limits, with Oakland currently losing their battle to have team leaders consider a future home in O-town. St. Petersburg officials and Rays personnel will discuss more details following the 2010 Rays season as to their future plans.

 

*** Both have cities on the eastern coast of their estuaries fighting for recognition in the MLB team’s fight for a new state-of-the-art stadium. Oakland has the east shore communities of Freemont and San Jose fighting for the Athletics, while St. Petersburg has Tampa wanting the Rays to relocate in the downtown region of the city.


*** Both communities had team employees who went onto brilliant careers after serving as batboys for the teams. Tampa Bay had Jesse Litsch, who served as a Devil Rays batboy and worked as a team intern transform his baseball talents into becoming a member of the Toronto Blue Jays rotation. In Oakland, A’s owner Charlie Finley hired a local dancer, Stanley Burrell as his team’s batboy and also gave him an honorary title of Executive Vice President. Most of use know him by his stage name M C Hammer. Also interesting, both were locally born natives of the region’s where the teams are located.

***Oakland has long been known as the home of the “Moneyball” system of baseball talent evaluation set up by Athletics GM Billy Beane. Tampa Bay is home to the risk management style of players evaluation made famous by new MLB hotshot Rays Vice President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman. Both are considered baseball wunderkinds for their new provocative ways of evaluating their farm system’s talent.

 

*** Both team’s primarily use their farm system to restock their MLB 25-man rosters with limited outside Free Agent signing. Free Agents are brought in to fill holes, not institute major roles within the team’s core, which keeps both team’s payrolls within some of the smallest payrolls in the Major Leagues.


***Oakland closed their Third Deck seating areas to fans in 2006, including the famous “Mount Davis” sections built by Oakland Raider’s owner Al Davis to push his NFL football capacity to over 60,000. This effectively lower the A’s potential sellout capacity to 34,077, the smallest current MLB stadium capacity.
Tampa Bay covered up a higher section of their Upper Deck or 300 sections with blue tarps to lower their usual game attendance to 36,048 ( not counting Standing Room Only tickets). During the Playoffs, the Rays can remove the tarps and increase their stadium overall attendance to over 41,810 seats.

*** According to their 2010 Opening Day payrolls, the Tampa Bay Rays are ranked 25th ($ 63,313,035) and the Oakland Athletics are ranked 26th ($ 62,310,00 ) respectfully in Major League Baseball.

***
Both teams are also ranked in the lower third in attendance with Tampa Bay currently ranked 22nd and Oakland holding onto the 28th spot within the MLB’s 30 teams. Surprisingly, the Rays hold the bottom spot at number 30 in 2010 road attendance with a 22,780 road attendance average, while Oakland sits at the 20th spot with an average of 29,416 fans in the stands at away games.

 

As you can see these two communities definitely have a few things in common beside their future fighting and wrangling about their stadium situations. But what is amazing that even with this uneven playing field in front of them, both teams are above the .500 mark in 2010. One team (Tampa Bay) has a chance to secure their second AL title, while the Oakland will just have to be happy to play the spoiler role in 2010.

But both teams have one of the best baseball talent evaluators in their front offices, and one of the best stocked farm systems with young talent to keep their payrolls under control for many years. Maybe one day, both these communities could become “Sister Cities”, or would that just feel too darn weird?

 
 
 
 
 
 

Rays escape with Victory # 57

 

 

Rays 6, Blue Jays 4

 

 

Last night, MC Hammer rocked the Trop with his songs and his high energy dancers. This group had all the energy of 3 Energizer bunnies with some pink fluff to spare. It was one of the best visual concerts I have even been to in my life.

 

Hammer had his music programmed, so he did not have to move around band members or stage equipment. The entire stage for set up for “Hammertime”, and he delivered a lights out show for the Trop fans.

 

I was especially looking forward to a old sone called, “They put me in the mix.” It is a great song with some expanded bass and awesome backbeats. It was also a favorite of mine when I was a skaterat a long time ago.

 

 

Last night’s game was a pitcher duel as expected. We all knew that the first pitcher to blink and show some form of weakness would be the loser in this contest. And the game lived up to it’s billing totally. Toronto ace, Roy Halladay was consistent on the mound for 6th inning.

 

In the Rays bottom of the 6th, the game took a turn for the Rays when Ben Zobrist led off the inning with a single to left. Akinora Iwamura then pushed a bunt single down the third baseline that hugged the white chalk before resting in fair territory for another Rays’ hit. It was Aki’s 15th infield hit of the year.

 

Carl Crawford put down another bunt single to the pitcher to load the bases and set up the drama for Carlos Pena. Pena responded by driving a single to the opposite field and score Zobrist. With the Rays up 1-0, and the bases again loaded Evan Longoria came up and on a 0-2 pitch drilled a grand slam to left.

 

With the bases empty,  B J Upton reached on a infield single to thrid, while Dioner Navarro put down another beautiful bunt to get on for the Rays. Zorbrist ended the Rays inning by grounding out to first.

 

 

B J  Upton had another caught stealing last night against the Blue Jays. Upton, who leads the majors with 12 caughts stealing situation this season, was out significantly on the play.

 

I have said it before, sometime this team give too much leeway to Upton on his baserunning decisions. Most of his baserunning blunders have been self-imposed  because of ill advised leads or bad jumps. But this steal was a perfect example of the cather knowing his tendencies and reacting to them without a flaw.

 

                            

 

Cliff Floyd  has gone 6-20 in the last 6 games. He has also srated in 5 of the last 10 games, and with a single on Friday night, snapped a 0-20 streak  with men in scoring position.

 

Floyd expanded on his streak by 1-4 with his 7th homer of the year. The homer would provide a cushion for the Rays later in the game. Floyd has a .340 average lifetime at the Trop.

 

 

Rays starter Matt Garza pitched 7.2 innings of 2-hit shutout ball before giving the ball to the Rays bullpen. Garza got 6 strikeoyut on 102 pitches to get his 8th win of the season.

 

Garza pitched a brilliant game mixing his pitches against the Jays and retired the first 6 batter to face him before Scott Rolen singled to leftfield.  Garza then retired the next 12 Toronto batters before giving up a single to  Matt Scutaro to start the 7th inning.

 

Garza was replaced by J P Howell in the 8th inning. Howell got ther last out of the inning and was replaced by Trever Miller to start the 9th inning.

 

The 9th inning turned out to be the big inning for the Jays. Miller, who had come on to relieve Howell gave up two  quick hits to put Adam Lind and J oe Inglett on second and third with no outs.

 

Miller was replaced by Al Reyes, who had just come off the DL with shoulder tendonitis on Friday night.  Reyes quickly gave up a single to Marc Scutaro that scored both Lind and Inglett.

 

Then Reyes got Alex Rios to pop out . Reyes then serving  up a ground-rule double to  Matt Stairs to right that hopped over the short wall  by the Bullpen Cafe’ area. That put Scutaro and Stairs in scoring position with 1 out.

 

Dan Wheeler came on without a huge amount of warmup time and got Rod Barajas to ground  out to second base. The play scored Marc Scutaro and the Jays slimmed the Rays lead to 6-3.

 

Wheeler then gave up a double to Lyle Overbay that scored Stairs and cut the lead again to 6-4. Wheeler then got Rolen to foul out to Navarro for the last out and secure his 4th save of the year.

 

All in all, it was an intersting game for the Rays. For the first time in a while, the Bullpen did not come through for the team and gave up 4 runs in less than an inning. But the Rays defense stiffened and got the 57th victory of the year for the squad.

 

The Rays did show that they are overcoming their problem with hitting with men in scoring position, but still left  7 men on base, 3 in scoring position.

 

Last night’s come-from-behind victory was their 25th of the season, which is ranked 6th in the AL. The Rays also improved to 17-11 in 1-run games, only the Ranger at 19-11 have a better record than the Rays in the major leagues this season.

 

Since the Rays swept the Jays at Disney World April 22-24th, they are 20 games over .500.  They entered that series in 5th place in the AL East at 8-11.

 

 

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