Results tagged ‘ Todd Kalas ’
So even if I am upset with myself for accidentally falling into a story, I am excited that we have a high caliber replacement like Kennedy for Joe Magrane. I was sorry to see Magrane go to the MLB Network. Not so much that I would miss his tall sense of humor and inside jokes during the broadcast, but I liked his analogies during the game. He had a special bond with these players having played at this level and had his own success on the mound. I recently saw a review of the American League East, and Magrane looked troubled to have to chat about his former team. He will be great at MLB Network, and I truly wish him the best.
Kennedy finally made it onto a major league squad as a coach with the Montreal Expos in 1992. He was hired by Tommy Runnels , but ended up coaching under Felip Alou after Runnels was let go by the franchise. He only stayed in Montreal for one year before getting his big break in 1993 when he was hired by the Texas Ranger to take over as manager of the team. His squad posted a 86-76 record for the year and placed second in the American League West division. But the best was yet to come as in 1994 when he won his first divisional title. Kennedy is still the only manager to ever win a division title with a sub-.500 record. When the 1994 strike put a premature end to the season, the Rangers were standing atop the four-team AL Western Division, with a record of 52-62. They had finished ten games over .500 in 1993, and their record in the strike-shortened season was considered a serious disappointment, leading to Kennedy’s dismissal.
Within the last two months it has been learned that Fox will terminate the pre-game show featuring both hosts and that might have opened the door for the Rays opportunity for Kennedy. MLB on Fox has not decided on their 2009 direction, but they will now have to stay the course without Kennedy on board the ship.I think this hiring is an excellent decision by the Tampa Bay Rays. They get a guy who is respected for his baseball knowledge as an ex-manager, and as a network show co-host for several seasons. Kennedy was also very pro-Rays during the 2008 season and will bring great insight into the managerial and network side of sports for the viewers. He will also be a great speaker for the Rays in civic events and will be a firm foundation for the broadcast team in 2009.
He comes on board with Staats who has now done over 4,400 broadcasts in his career, and is always a finalist for the Hall of Fame’s Frick award.Kevin Kennedy might not have been my first choice to fill that position, but I also did not even know that he was available at the time. People like Bobby Valentine were mentioned for the job, but Kennedy bring with him the clout and the prestige that the Rays need to push their image nationally in the coming years. Again the Tampa Bay Rays front office get kudos for their smart decision and quick grasp to get Kennedy into the Rays fold.
If you missed the Tampa Bay Rays Rally at Straub Park in St. Petersburg on Monday, you missed a party 10 years in the making. Not that we have a habit in this area of saving our parties for special occasions, but this day was for celebrating baseball in general. I got there about 1 P.M. to meet with a few on the Maddon’s Maniacs and participate in a short promotion video that will grace the Jumbotron this week during the two ALDS games at the Trop.
It is a short little diddy around our lovable mascot Rayomnd and the “Feel The Heat” theme song that is a huge success for the Rays. It was not a long shoot, and it was a bit corny for my tastes, but you never know what the video genies will do with a small piece of film. We shall see on Thursday.
After getting that video situation out of the way, I scoped out my stage right standing position right next to the lous speakers that would be blaring music by the 80′s group Survivior in a few hoiurs. It was about 2:30-ish and I had a bit of time before the activities were to start. Florida Sports Network and Sunshine Network were setting up to broadcast the event and provide some commentary and extra footage from the Rays Television trio of Dewayne Staats, Joe Mcgrane and Todd Kalas.
As 5 P.M. got closer, Rusty, the Rays usual Tropicana Field game M.C. got us all excited and reminded us that the Chicago White Sox vs. Detroit Tigers game was still in a rain delay. This is important to us Rays fans so we can decide who to email and hassle before Thursday’s game. At 5 P.M., Rusty came out and started the event off by letting us know that national figures had sent a few videos kudos to the team.
We had the usual ESPN people and members of the TBS broadcasting teams shot during the All-Star game, but there were a few unusal greetings also sent to the Rays. Rob Schneider, of “You can do it” fame sent a bizzare, but really thought out diddy that even included his dog pimping out for the Rays. Kevin Costner unvealed his new song, “It’s All Up To You” written for the Rays as a show of respect from Costner and his band, Modern West. The video was a montage of the visit by Costner and the band last November to help promote the new uniforms, and included some batting pratice pieces from Progress Energy Field.
Orlando, a popular DJ from 98.7 radio station in town also brought his new song for the Rays to be unveiled today during the Rally. The song was titled, “The Trop. Boys”, and it had a grat beat and was a cool sounding song. I know we will be seeing more of that song here in the playoffs at the Trop.
After that, it was onto the introduction of the players. I am going to post an additional blog with the picture on it to save some space here today. The Television guys, Staats, Mcgrane and Kalas all started the program off with a video recalling the highs of this magical season for the team. the video played up the Boston, Chicago and Angels series sweeps, and showed the walk-off wins for the team in 2008.
After that, Todd Kalas came out and got into the player and coaches introductions of our 2008 Rays team. The most applause of course went to skipper Joe Maddon and Don Zimmer today. After the coaches took their place on the stage, the players were intorduced one by one, with Akinora Iwamura getting the “Aki” chant from the crowd. the guys were all sporting their Rays white uniforms, and it made a great background for the hundreds of cameras snapping their every move. After getting through all but one of the players introductions, Kalas introduced B J Upton, who I still believe is the most unsung hero of this season.
After that, Kalas introduced a few people I know well, but Tampa Bay should get to know. Bullpen Catcher, Scott “The Enforcer” Cursi is one of the most tireless workers I have ever met, and is a great guy to boot. Chris “Chico” Fernandez does a great job getting game and scouting video for the team. And last, but not least is the Rays clubhouse manager Chris “Westy” Westmoreland. I have heard fron a number of people that he runs the best clubhouse system in the major leagues. Kudos to him for that.
After these last 3 important introductions, Kalas turned the mic over to the skipper, Joe Maddon to talk a bit to the crowd. Madden as usual, was uplifting and totally believeable and the crowd showed its energy by clapping and cheering for the boss. After he was done speaking, the mic was turned over to the team’s charismatic Carlos Pena who pumped up the crowd more by urging them to come out and make the Trop deafening with their noise and enthusiasm on Thursday and beyond in the playoffs.
After the players left the stage, Rusty called up a few local icons who have been true Rays fanatics for years. The first was current WWE Champion John Cena, who confessed he used to live in Boston, but has converted into a true Rays believer now. Cena also provided one of the best moments of the Rally when he informed the crowd he had heard from Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield and first baseman Sean Casey that the Rays had no heart.
Well, Cena decided to call Sean Casey on his cellphone, but Casey was probably either at the Red Sox Rally held that day before the hit the airport for California, or he was not going to take the call because he knew he would hear a load of crowd noise in the background. Cena made sure Casey had an interesting voicemail and proclaimed that the Rays did have spirit and heart and you heard the entire crowd roar towards the stage to voice their opinion on Casey’s comments.
Right before Cena was going to leave the stage, he called up the Rays appointed 10th man, Brian “Nasty Boy” Knobs to the stage for some comments. Knobs came onto the stage in his usual manner blowing smoke and fire from his nostrils and pumping the crowd into a frenzy. Of course, Knobs could not leave the stage before getting the entire crowd to chant, “Let’s Go Rays.”
After that, the show was winding down and Rusty intoduced the band, Survivior who put on an amazing concert for about 2 hours. During this time I got to go sit in the VIP section in front of the stage courtesy of Trisha Johnson of the Rays and snapped a few hundred pictures. I am thinking I might include a few of them on the blog. The band did an amazing show and ended it with “Eye of the Tiger” to push the crowd into a frenzied climax to the event.
At this time we still did not know who was going to be our opponent for Thursday, but the White Sox were up 1-0 at the time. As I was walking to my car in the Pier parking lot, it hit me that this might not the only Rally this year for the Rays. That we have a possibility of 2 more Rallies and a few hundred chances of cheering for the team between now and a possible World Series game. I am not going to jinx or put a hoax on anything, but 10 years ago, that was not even in my mindset for this squad. Wow, how times flies when you are having fun!!!
It must be a true rush to be on stage and singing……….that is something I wish I had done in my younger life….totally, totally into music
I remember the first time I met Joe Mcgrane outside of a baseall uniform. It was here in St Petersburg at a local watering hole and Mcgrane was pitching for the St. Petersburg Cardinals of the Florida State League at that time. I remember the quick and dry wit of Joe and thought he might be an interesting broadcaster some day.
Little did I know that Mcgrane would again come back to St. Petersburg after a long and properous baseball career to form a dynamic duo with Dwayne Staats broadcasting the Tampa Bay Rays games. So it is with great pride and honor that I lket you, the Rays fans know that MLB and the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, have nominated Four current Rays broadcasters for the Ford C. Frick Award.
Current on-air Television talents’ DeWayne Staats, Joe Magrane, Todd Kalas and Radio’s golden tonsils, Dave Wills are in the running for the prestigious award.
Balloting for the 2009 Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting excellence is going on now, with the top three recipients of fan votes automatically qualifying for the 10-person ballot that will be formulated by a 20-member committee and announced Oct. 6.
The winner will be announced Dec. 9 at the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas and will receive the award during an induction ceremony on July 26, 2009, at the Clark Sports Center in Cooperstown, N.Y. Fans may vote for up to three of their favorites among 210 broadcasters eligible in balloting conducted exclusively on the Hall’s Web site, baseballhalloffame.org, which will carry biographical sketches of each candidate. Fans can vote once a day throughout September. Results will be announced when voting concludes Sept. 30.
Here are the Rays nominees for this great honor:
I always like to watch these Ranger series games in Arlington. Not that the female fans are the only reason to want to see the scan shots of the seats in the stadium, but sometimes you see that gut who doesn’t know he is on camera and the dip in his mouth is drooling down the side. To make matters worse, he did not know it and kissed his girlfriend who promptly popped his cowboy hat off his head.
Seriously tho, this series is one of the wildest series the Rays usually have during the year. Both squads are equally matched and the Rangers have an offensive advantage in their home digs, but the heat gets to both teams. That is the main reason this game is played at night instead of 3 PM. The temperature on the field would be around 105 degrees and fluids would be flowing like water in the dugouts between innings.
Heck, with that kind of heat, you might as well put a water cooler behind the pitcher’s mound, or at least have semi-inning sprinklers come on to drench the players. I know playing outdoors in August in Florida is usually both a humidity bath and a sweat factory. Now when the Marlins and Rays play in South Florida, the afternoon games begin at 11 AM to try and fool the Florida heat, but that never seems to work for either team.
But the Texas heat can be murder in the middle of the day more because of the non-humid conditions that tend to have the sweat bake on your sakin and a huge sunburn can be blistering and reddening by the 9th inning. So, thse night games might seem weird for viewing fans, but the players love it because of the slight wind that does sneak into the stadium at night fall.
Scott Kazmir has had problems with his pitch counts in most of his 2008 starts. Kazmir has been averaging 18 pitches per inning this year and needs to bring that number down to be able to stay in the ballgames longer and help the Rays’ Bullpen situation.
Tonight, Kazmir collected his 9th win of the season, and went 6 inning. He still threw 114 pitches, but did not have the control he wanted in the game. Kazmir walked 4 in the game and struck out 7 Rangers’. In his previous two starts against Texas, Kazmir was 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA.
Kazmir only ran into real trouble twice in this ballgame. In the 3rd inning, after a Ian Kinsler double and a Walk to Brian Boggs, Michael Young hit a single down the leftfield foul line that just fell in by a foot to score Kinsler and give the Rangers their first run of the night.
In the 5th inning, Travis Metcalf took a 0-2 pitch deep to left field for a solo homer for the Rangers. That was the end of the Ranger’s scoring against Kazmir.
During the contest, viewers at home did not see the result of Carlos Pena’s broken bat in the his first inning at-bat. The baseball fan, in the red shirt, is assisted by security and medical personnel after being hit in the face with a portion of a broken bat. Rangers. Pena popped out to third during the at-bat and the fan was escorted away following his injury.
The Rays got hot in the start of the 3rd inning as Gabe Gross led off with a double down the leftfield line that Gross originally thought was foul and hesitated out of the batters’ box. Considering the situation with B J Upton on that Friday night, Gross looked more embarrassed than worried about Rays Managers Joe Maddon’s comment to him later in the inning.
B J Upton then came on and doubled down the leftfield line also to score Gross and give the Rays an early 1-0 lead. It was Upton’s 55th RBI of the year, and his 28th double of the season. Ben Zorbrist then 1-hopped a ball to the wall in rightfield and settled for a single.
With men at first and third, Carlos Pena came up to bat. Pena took the second pitch he saw from Ranger’s starter Dustin Nippert and deposited it in the rightfield stands for a 3-run homer, and an early 4-0 Rays lead. Pena now has 6 homers in his last 12 games for the Rays.
But the Rays were not finished with the scoring in the game. Eric Hinske lead off the 4th inning with a double to deep left centerfield. Jason Bartlett then came up with 2 outs and hit a single to right that scored Hinske.
Then BJ Upton, who was batting in the lead-off spot tonight, hit a 2-run homer to right for his 8th homer of the year. The homer put the Rays up 7-1.
The Rays did have some Bullpen trouble in the 9th inning as Grant Balfour came in for the Rays. Balfour started by walking Ramon Vasquez on 9 pitches to load the bases for the Rangers.
Balfour then got Brian Boggs to commit a potential double play, but the Rays only got one out on the toss by Iwamura to Bartlett. The Rays Manager Joe Maddon came out to argue that Vasquez went intentionally for Bartlett’s legs, but was overruled by the second base umpire, Tim Timmons. Boggs then went to second during Michael Young’s at bat on fielders indifference and put 2 runners in scoring position for the Rangers.
With Josh Hamilton up to bat next for the Rangers, Maddon decided to intentionally walk Hamilton and let Chris Davis score from third on the walk. The play was a calculated guess by Maddon that the walk would be the least amount of damage by Hamilton, and the Rays were still leading by 3 runs at the moment.
After the walk, Balfour was replaced by Dan Wheeler, who came in and struck out Marlon Byrd to record his 5th save of the year.
Before the game, Rays Television guru, Todd Kalas talked with Cliff Floyd about the recent B J Upton situation. Floyd did agree with the punishment and the severity of the situation and will take Upton under his wing the rest of the year and try and mentor him to be more aware of game situations in the future.
Floyd also stated that Upton has to be careful how he is percieved from this moment on. Players who have shown a tendency to be difficult or problem children have had a hard time finding a position in the majors. He commented that showing respect by running every play out, by playing hard every moment of the game will make this sitation disappear faster than words at this time.
Great comments by a veteran player who is also the barometer of the clubhouse right now for the Rays. The Rays had a chance to get Floyd a few years ago right after he became a free agent with the New York Mets, but Floyd went to the Chicago Cub instead that season. Maybe if the Rays had such a veteran leadership in the clubhouse a few years ago, this year would be more expected than as a surprise to most teams in the league.
I was watching an old classic baseball movie last night on Starz and was wondering if the 1919 White/Black Soxs’ might have been the only club that was involved in any odd hanky panky.
Baseball’s Game fixing did not start with the 1919 White Sox. Although the Black Sox scandal has come to define the crime to the public . It actually began when the National League was barely one year old. The first-place Louisville Grays made a number of uncommon errors and mis-guided plays during an East Coast roadtrip, causing them to lose seven games and only win one.
This prompted speculation that the players dumped game, and the pennant intentionally. And it turns out, they did!
Western Union telegrams linked players with a known gambler and 4 players were banned for life from the game.
The first two decades of the century were filled with small episodes of baseball coruption. First baseman Hal Chase served as their poster boy, having been linked to several “fixed” contests before finally earning his ban in the Black Sox scandal.
Could this have been a prelude that the Sox might have been charmed by Chase to committ the crime, or could a greedy owner who did not pay his players a living wage, been the prelude to the entire scandal. You be the judge!
Trivia Fact of the Night:
An embarrassing situation happened when Ebbett’s Field opened on April 15,1913, in Brooklyn. No one could locate the keys to the gates, leaving thousands of fans roaming outside the stadium waiting to be seated.
The Rays are 6-0 now when Andy Sonnanstine pitches after a Tampa Bay loss.
With that fact in mind, you can summize that the Rays, who now own the BEST record in baseball won against the Pirates 4-3 on Sunday. This win comes on the eve of the Rays playing a 3-game series against their AL East foe, the Boston Red Sox.
Missing from this series will be the mani aggressor of the on-field actions in Boston. Coco Crisp will be serving his suspension during this trip into the Trop, and this might take alot of tension from the series for both squads.
Sonnanstine pitched an effective game going 7 innings of 5-hit, 2-run ball for the Rays. Before this start, Sonnanstine had averaged 5.2 innings in his 17 starts. Andy threw 98 pitches today and used his off speed pitches to confuse the Pirate batters. Sonnanstine is gaining more confidience in his slider and is usung it more as an out pitch against opponents this year.
B J Upton again started this game with a bang.
This is the second day in a row that Upton has lined the first pitch into centerfield to start on base for the Rays. B J is hitting in the lead-off spot until Akinora Iwamura is back on Wed.
B J also reached base on a single to left before getting caught leaning off of first base. Upton currently leads the majors in being caught stealing with 10 for the year.
In the bottom of the same inning, the Pirate’s Freddy Sanchez sent a long fly ball into the gap in left center. Upton closing on the play could not get the ball before it hit the turf.
But instead of picking the ball up and throwing it in, Upton kicked the ball into left and Carl Crawford had to retrive the ball for the Rays. Upton recived his 7th error on the play. The play also put Sanchez on third with no outs. Jason Bay hit a Sacrifice Fly to score Sanchez from third and tie the score at 1-1.
Willy Aybar, filling in for Aki at second, again proved to have the offensive stuff today.
Aybar hit his 3rd homer of the year to left in the 6th to put the Ray up 2-1. It is the 2nd homer of the year from the right side for the switch-hitting Aybar. Aybar went 2-4 today with 2 runs scored and is hitting 257 for the year in his limited role.
In the 8th inning, Aybar also hit a single to right, but reached third on a throwing error by Xavier Nady. Carlos Pena scored on the play to put the Rays up 3-2.
Speaking of limited role players coming up big for the Rays, you have to put back-up catcher Shawn Riggans on the top of that list.
Riggans has seen very limited duty with the emergance of Dioner Navarro, and his playing time has diminished considerably this season. Shawn has played in 18 of the Rays’ last 48 games this year.
But in the time he has played this roadtrip, Riggans has almost orchestrated a no-hit bid for the Rays, and come through with clutch hits and moves behind the plate. Riggans hit a single to center in the 8th inning to score Aybar and put the Rays up for good, 4-2.
In the 4th inning, Riggans, who also caught Jonny Gome’s pinch-hit homer to the Rays Bullpen on Sat. night, hit a monster shot over the Rays’ Bullpen in center. It was Riggan’s 4th homer of the season. He also went 3-4 at the plate upping his average to .274 for the year
The Rays Bullpen again came in and got the victory for the Rays. Troy Percival got his 19th save of the year in 22 pitches for the Rays. Troy is curently 2nd in the the majors this season in opponent’s batting average at .140. The only reliever above him is the Chicago Cub’s set-up man Marmol, who has blanked the oppostion to a .138 average.
All of Percival’s 332 saves have come in the AL, second only to Mariano Riveria of the Yankees, who has 461 saves.
The Rays have now allowed 4.05 runs a game, this would match the 1931 Philadelphia Phillies for the 4th greatest decrease in opponents’ from one season to the next in the majors since 1900. The Rays are on pace to give up 288 less runs than they did in 2007.
Andy Sonnanstine is also chasing the Rays record for wins before the All-Star break. He currently has 9 wins and trails only Rolando Arrojo( 10 in 1998) and Scott Kazmir ( 10 in 2006). Wit his win today, Sonnanstine has tied Victor Zambrano also with 9 wins ( 2004) before the break.
The Rays will be holding a braodcast auction on Monday with the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association (FRLA) to benefit the Rays Foundation and the FRLA Foundation. The auction will be conducted via ION television network and will feature many awesome and one-of-a-kind dining and travel experiences. Here is a short list of some of the items:
The live auction items include four travel and game packages to California’s Wine Country, Boston, Chicago and Toronto.
The auction will also feature a Celebrity Chef Private Dinner at Tropicana Field with special guest Dan Wheelerand Dewayne Staats
A Latin-flavored VIP Dinner with Ybor City’s favorite family, the Columbia Restaurant’s Gonzmart family.
Another great outdoor’s adventure is a golfing four-some, which will include Rays broadcasters,Joe Magrane and Todd Kalas at the Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor, Florida
Each of the travel packages includes airfare, accommodations, VIP tour of the city, meals at high end restaurants, and tickets to watch the Rays play other MLB teams in the respective cities.
Bid often, and bid high for these great adventures with the Rays