Results tagged ‘ World Series 2008 ’

Philly Celebrates a Bit Too Hard for World Series

 

 

I remember a few New Years Eve celebration in Philly in the mid 80’s where the city used to go nuts and celebrate their hearts out. Nothing was too wild or too crazy, but you always had a few people in the crowd who went against the grain and made a great situation worse by either fighting or detroying something.

World Series celebrations are famous for fires and overturned cars. Sometimes they even get into the looting and the shop window replacement business during the night. I was browsing the online editions of the local Philly newspapers and found out some of the statistics of last night’s wild activities.

Unfortunately in St. Petersburg, we could never have this kind of thing happen close to the stadium. Considering the main party place, Ferg’s is directly in front of the St. Petersburg Police station, it would be hard to have this kind of activity go on without major consequences. But, you never know what some people will do in the name of fun.

 

 

 

Philadelphia Phillies fans celebrated the World Series victory well into the early morning hours and there was plenty of evidence of the party — and destruction – up and down Broad Street on Thursday morning. Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey said police made 76 arrests overnight during the disturbances Additional details were expected to be released  on Thursday. “I wouldn’t say the city got a black eye, but it was a little bruised,” he said in an interview this morning.

Arrests during last night’s “revelry” included: Robberies: 1; Assault on police: 12; Arson: 1; Theft: 3; Vandalism: 17; Obstruction of justice: 1; Trespassing: 5; Disorderly conducts: 36. Police said the majority of those charged were college students. No homicides were reported overnight.

The emergency room was busier than usual last night at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital. Hahnemann typically has zero to three trauma cases on a Wednesday night, but last night had 11.

Robinson Luggage on South Broad Street – struck especially hard by hooligan revelers last night — reopened this morning at 10 a.m., though windows remained smashed and the the doors boarded up. Owner Sharon Laudenbach said the shop had been hit by looters and hundreds of upscale bags had been stolen.

 

 

The city streets department this morning would only say cleanup crews were out working all over the city. At Citizens Bank Park there were no signs of Wednesday night’s revelry — outside of the manure left by the horses from the Pennsylvania State Police mounted patrols. Fox29 was hosted its morning show at the third base gate.

At Broad and Walnut Streets city employees were sweeping up beer bottles, glass, and dirt from toppled planters. One worker near the Academy of Music quipped, “It wasn’t much worse than your average New Year’s celebration.”

The glass windows and doors of Robinson Luggage were smashed. Oversized planters were overturned and their contents spilled out onto the street. Closer to City Hall, at Broad and Chestnut Streets, a newspaper honor box remained planted in the window of the FYE film and music store. Two of the oversized FYE plate glass windows were shattered. Outside the Prince Music Theater, the 8-foot high sculpture was listing at a 45-degree angle.

At the Modell’s at 1528 Chestnut Street, 50 fans had lined up by 4:30 a.m. to buy World Series commemorative t-shirts, caps, jackets. Though the store wasnt’t scheduled to open until 5 a.m. Mitchell Modell, the owner and CEO of the chain, opened the doors and let them in early.

Modell said the two biggest sellers were the red Phinally t-shirt with the World Series trophy, the locker room championship hats and a gray hooded sweat shirt that the players will wear during the parade. When asked what he would have done with the merchandise and himself if the Phillies had lost the title to the Tampa Bay Rays, Modell joked: “I’d be looking for a new job and on suicide watch.”

 

Here is another wild story bases out of Philly. I included this story because of the wild end to this caper. You would think if you pulled off a crime in a city you would not go to an area where you might be recognized almost immediately by police.  But to the credit of the theft, at least he had the good sense of what was right and wrong at the time and spent his money wisely. Maybe he was trying to buy World Series tickets and could not meet the Stubhub prices?

 

Phillies fans are known for their diehard, drastic and often drunken support for their team. Crazed Phanatics paint the team’s logo on their lawns or imbibe the same amount of shots as the number on favorite player’s jersey.

It doesn’t matter. You take one for the team.

But one fan may have taken his devotion a bit too far when police say he robbed a bank and later allegedly funded a shopping spree for Phillies gear with the stolen cash. About 10 a.m. Wednesday, a man, who police did not identify, entered a PNC Bank on Welsh Road near Roosevelt Boulevard and slipped the teller a demand note.

Shortly after, the man, wearing a red and gray hat pulled down over his face and a beige hoodie, fled westbound on Welsh with an undisclosed amount of cash, said a detective from Northeast Detectives.

About 20 minutes later, cops found the suspect, who police have not identified, a few miles away coming out of the Modell’s Sporting Goods store at the Roosevelt Mall, Cottman and Bustleton avenues. Police did not confirm whether the man was wearing Phillies gear or not. But authorities said they later recovered  the rest of the cash in a nearby trash bin.

Witnesses positively identified the suspect and police carted the robber off, assuring that the ardent fan would miss watching the Phillies duke it out against the Tampa Bay Rays in the conclusionof Game 5. He might miss the game, but at least he won’t face federal charges, said Jerri Williams, the Philly FBI spokeswoman. Local authorities charged him with robbery, theft and related offenses.

 

Guess he is kicking himself now by going to Modell’s. He could have hid out for the day and been a rich guy buying tons of World Series collectibles on Thursday morning, instead of sitting in a cold jail cell waiting to see the judge. 

 

 

Game 5.5 Signals the End of the Rays Run

 

 

Phillies 4, Rays 3

 

I was told that J P Howell was taking the loss pretty hard last night after the Philadelphia Phillies ended the 46 hour lay-over of Game 5 of the World Series. I do not know why he is thinking it is the end of all things right now. You have to remember that this years’ team went above every expectation set by the coaches’ and management. they flew beyond any goal or lofty intention of every and any fan, and last, but not least, they made us proud to be Ray Fans.

I did not go out to the Trop last night at 3 a.m., I wanted to cheer and  applaud for the Rays for a job well done. But this is private time. I know as an ex-athlete that you need a little space right after a collossial event to get your feet back on the ground. It has been an emotional rollercoaster for the team the last 3 days. And no matter what the outcome, there was going to be some backlash mentally and emotionally.

Just remember guys, on Saturday at the City of St. Pete celebration, it will all seem to fade away. We have 107 days until we start it all over again, and I can not wait personally. Not for the goals and aspirations of 2009, but because the Rays deserve another shot at the title. If Rocco can come back off the canvas, why can’t we get another shot at the ring and the dream.

 

 

Congrats to the World Champions

Seriously, it was a great World Series from Game 1-5. The Phillies have been hungry for a title for 28 years in baseball. Heck, Pete Rose was playing third base back then for the Fightin’ Phillies. What was so special was to see 40-something Jamie Moyer go out to the pitching mound and take a pole and wedge that pitching rubber out of the clay and take it home.

It was an exciting series. And do I enjoy the end result………well, no, but I do enjoy the fact that it was settled on the field and not in a boardroom or in a conference call. We got to finish the game, and for that we have to thank Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig. He wanted to play these games to their conclusions. He did not want a shortened World Series, or a series that would be questioned. He might still be questioned, but I think it was done with the most respect for both teams and was done as fast and as safe as possible.

Game 5 had to be stopped, and the Rays scoring in the top of the 6th inning on Monday gave him ample cause to suspend it and play it under better circumstances. There were an announced crowd of 44,000 on hand Wed. night. That is about 1,000 less than Monday, but those people might have already been on Broad Street preping for a good time by 8:30 that night. We played out the final 2 1/2 innings and the city got to have a dry and cool celebration after all.

 

 

Bullpen Moments

The Rays Bullpen has been a mainstay of this team for so long this season it amazes me that they are taking this loss so personally. If not for the efforts of everyone down there, especially Grant Balfour and J P Howell, we might not have even hit the playoffs at all this season. If you are looking for true MVP’s of this playoff run, you have to consider the entire Bullpen as a whole. They have gone above and beyond themselves all year long, and do not have anything to be ashamed of at all.

Grant Balfour went to the mound in the bottom of the 6th and Phillies Manager Charlie Manuel sent up Geoff Jenkins to pinch-hit for Cole Hamels, who was still the pitcher of record for the Phillies. Jenkins had played with Balfour with the Milwaukee Brewers’ and probably knows his pitching style better than anyone else on the bench.

 

 

On a 2-2 count, Jenkins hit a long fly ball into the right-center gap that hit off the scoreboard just out of the reach of a sprawling Rocco Baldelli. The ball fell to the turf and B J Upton went and retrived the ball to keep Jenkins to a double.  With Jenkins in scoring position, Jimmy Rollins came up and put doen a sacrifice bunt to move Jenkins less than 90 feet from giving the Phillies the lead in the game.

 

           

 

Jayson Werth then came up and hit a shallow looper to the spot between second base and the outfield. Akinora Iwamura went out to try and pull in the ball, but after trying to catch it via a basket-catch, the ball trickled down from his glove to the turf and Jenkins scored to give the Phillies the lead 3-2. That was the end of the night for Balfour, who went 1.1 innings total in the game, but went 1/3 of an inning tonight, giving up 2-hits and a lone run.

 

 

J P Howell then came on to face Chase Utley and got him to strikeout on 3 pitches. Ryan Howard then came to bat and hit a fly ball to Evan Longoria at third for the final out of the 6th inning. In the 7th inning, Pat Burrell came up to start the 7th inning and was hit-less in this years’ World Series. He was currently 0-13, when he hit hanging curveball into the left-center section of the outfield and clipped the high wall to settle for a double.

Burrell was immediately replaced by pinch-runner Eric Bruntlett at second base. That ended the night for Howell as he went 2/3rds of an inning throwing 7 pitches and giving up 1-hit and 1-run for the Rays. Chad Bradford came on and quickly got Shane Victorino to ground out to Iwamura at second base.  This moved Bruntlett to third with 1-out in the inning. Pedro Feliz then hit a ball up the middle for a RBI single and the Phillies were up 4-3 at that time.

Bradford got Carlos Ruiz to hit into a 4-6 force out at second, with Ruiz on first on a fielder’s choice. Iwamura made an amazing play behind second base to get the force out on Feliz. Phillies reliever J C Romero the came up and hit a ball to Iwamura that he flipped to Bartlett at second base for another force out to end the inning.

David Price then came on in the 8th inning and got a quick fly out from Rollins and a strikeout of Werth. He then gave up a walk to Utley before getting Howard to strikeout to end the inning for the Phillies.

 

 

Rocco Baldelli’s Blast

In the 7th inning, with Ryan Madson on the mound for the Phillies, Dioner Navarro struck out to lead off the inning. Then rocco Baldelli came up and on the first pitch took Madson deep to leftfield on a line drive homer to tie the game at 4-all. The Blast was just the first homer of the World Series for Baldelli, but it put life back into the Rays’ hopes for a Game 6 at Tropicana Field on Thursday night.

 

        

 

Jason Bartlett’s Gamble

You have to be pleased with the effort of Jason Bartlett at shortstop for the Rays this season. He has brought a solid defense and a secure bat to the lineup that the Rays have never had at the position. In the top of the 7th inning tonight, Bartlett hit a single to leftfield to try to keep the rally going after Baldelli’s homer.

J P Howell came up and batted in the inning for the Rays. This was an unsusual play as Rays Manager Joe Maddon could have used a pich hitter to hit for Howell since he had David Price and Chad Bradford warmed up in the Bullpen. But Maddon let Howell take his whacks at the plate for the Rays. Howell put down a perfect sacrifice bunt to move Bartlett to second and into scoring position for the Rays.

Iwamura then came up and hit a  infield single to  shallow centerfield and Bartlett was rounding third when Utley faked the throw to first and threw to home to get the streaking Bartlett by less than a foot at the plate. Bartlett was tagged out as he was stretching his hand for the plate and it ended the 7th inning for the Rays. It was a gutsy play by the Rays shortstop, and one that almost made a huge difference in the contest.

You have to credit Utley for seeing Bartlett taking a wide turn at third and streaking for home. If Utley has held onto the ball a split second longer, Bartlett would have scored and tied tha game at 4-all for the Rays. So if you have to find a defining moment in this game……..this was the series clincher fo the Phillies…. at the plate.

The Rays did try amd mount another rally in the 8th inning after Carl crawford lead-off with a single to centerfield. B J Upton hit a ball to short that Rollins turned into a 6-4-3 double play to remove the Rays threat in the inning. Pena then hit a weak fly ball to left to end the inning for the Rays.

In the 9th, Evan Longoria lead off the inning by hitting a fly out to second base. Navarro then hit a shattered bat single to right that fell in front of a hard charging Werth. Maddon then sent in Fernando Perez as a pinch-runner for Navarro. With pinch-hitter Ben Zobrist at the plate for the Rays, Perez stole second base on the third pitch to Zobrist and put a runner in scoring position for the Rays.

 

 

Zobrist then hit a shot to right that was caught by Werth for the 2nd out of the inning. With 1-out left in the Rays season, Maddon sent up Eric Hinske to pinch-hit for Bartlett. Hinske went down on three pitches to give the Phillies their first championship since 1980 in the majors.

 

 

Welcome Home  Rays

The Rays were scheduled to be flying into St. Petersburg-Clearwater Airport at 3 am on Thursday. The team did not have a planned greeting at the airport and the team was to quickly get on their coaches’ for the trip to the Trop. Several people were at the airport waiting for the team, but they did not come through the baggage area and loaded straight from the plane on the tarmac.

 

 

The Rays then trekked from the airport to the back enterance at the Trop. There they were greeted by a few dozen fans who stood out in the cold to cheer for the hometown Rays. Several members of the team did come out and salute the crowd before heading into the Trop to pack and have some private time with team mates and family.

 

 

I will be getting the information on the City of St. Petersburg celebration sometime today or tomorrow. Stay tuned to your favorite Rays blog and I will be sure to pass on all the info I get as soon as I recieve it. Again, remember that this team exceeded all expectations of it during the season and should be roundly applauded for their hustle and determination to even get into the playoffs this season.

The Saturday event will be to celebrate not only the team;s efforts, but the increased support and bonding of the Tampa Bay area this season behind the Rays “Magical Summer Tour 2008″. The region has grown from just a spotty support group for the team, to an increasing fan base throughout the country and the world. The Rays are no longer the loveable losers of yesteryear. We now have tasted the fruits of winning, and it is sweet to our mouths, and we yearn for more……….

 

             Pitchers’ and Catchers’ Report in 107 DAYS.

 

 

Congrats Phillies on a Phantastic World Series

Eric Hinske, after striking out to end Game 5 of the World Series, bows his head as Philadelphia Phillies players rush the field in celebration.

 

Congrats to the Philadelphia Phillies for a hard fought, clean series. the games on the field were some of the best all-around baseball we have seen played against our  Tampa Bay Rays this year.

 

 

You deserve the win, and the celebration. The play where Chase Utley threw to Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz at the plate with the Rays, Jason Bartlett barreling in on him was on the money and the play of the game.

 

Broad Street deserves this win, and  the Phillies and their organization can be proud of the way they handled themselves on the field during the World Series. Congrats to Pat Guillick, who kinds wavered a bit there. Maybe he will comer back for another season Phillie fans?

 

Go celebrate Philly as we plan and have our own party for our boys in downtown St. Petersburg on Saturday, November 1st. It was an end to an incredible season for both teams. We still have a million things to be proud of this season with the Rays.

 

 

I will be posting a World Series Game 5.5 blog in the morning. I think it is only fitting that we let the Phillies celebrate and relish the acccomplishments they have earned this season. In hindsight, it might have taken almost 48 hours more than planned, but the celebration is going on wild in the streets of Philly right now.

 

So, come back in the afternoon for my wrap-up of tonight’s game and for the latest news on the Rays celebration in St. Petersburg on Saturday.

 

Again, Congrats Phillies on a great season and World Championship.

Suspended Game 5.5 Tidbits……………The Wednesday Delaware Edition

      Ot_296728_cass_rays_1

 

The Rays are staying at a posh, very romantic resort in Wilmington, Delaware right now, and it is the perfect place for them to relax and recharge before taking on the Philadelphia Phillies tonight and hopefully, extend this series to at least 1 more game……….or more.

 
The Rays have been in this situation before, and it is nothing usual to them. All year long they have been hearing the whispers and the  chuckles from beyond their ears about their abilities and their chances.
 
It is time for them to …..as eloguently put in the movie, The Program:   ” It is time to put the women and children to bed and go searching for dinner.”  It is the bottom of the 6th, no out, and the world is waiting to see what they are made of tonight. to say it is “put up or shut up” time is an understatement. They came into the Wrold Series as a favorite for only the first time this postseason, and it isa a role they havew not had to play in 2008.
 
 
 
For the Rays to fulfill their  2008 destiny ,they must play error free for 2 1/2 more innings. Put some runs on the board and defend against giving up an inch of ground. And last but not least, keep the confidence level hiked up to 10 until it is all over.  So it is time to relax, and let’s see what kind of place this Hotel du Pont is  like in Wilmington:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 I thought the Renaissance Vinoy was a beautiful hotel to stay in for baseball games, but the Hotel du Pont was the brainchild of millionaire mogul  Pierre du Pont, and shows all his tastes for the finer htings in life, as well as the best that the European hotels had to offer in the early 1900’s.
 
The hotel opened on January 15, 1913 and has over 295 registered guest that day. During the opening week, over 25,00 people strolled the gardens and ballrooms of the 5-star hotel. No expense was spared by Du Pont is creating Wilmington’s crowned jewel.  Throughout the years the hotel has evolved with the times. wooden inlaid floors became marble, mirrored walls replaced with traverstine stone, and the ceilings were carved with scrolls and rosettes. It is a hotel that money could not build today for less than a billion dollars. It is the lap of luxury in America’s first state.
 
 
But I have to say, no matter what the cost ( $ 299. / night ), it is not too much for our traveling  Rays. I know when I travel to the other cities in the leagues for games I try and stay at a local landmark  hotel or historical registry member that will boost my  conversation when I am out and about in that town. This setting will be the talk of the clubhouse for a long, long time. It has to be one of the best finds by Jeff Ziegler in his career as the Rays Traveling Secretary, and it was by accident that he found this gem.
 
Because the team checked out of the Westin in Philly fully expecting on Monday night to be jetting back to the warmth of home, the team did not make emergency lodging preparations before the games suspension. Ziegler had to find 80 plus rooms on a moments notice and not only found them in accordance with the Players’ Union specs of a high end lodging, he found one in a romantic section southeast of Philadelphia.
 
 
 If there was an award for on your feet, quick thinking under fire, Ziggy would get it hands down from the Rays for his hotel magic……….and to think 12 years ago he was  a  police officer with the St. Petersburg Police Department and we did not have the Rays.
 
 
 

 

Game 5 Tidbits

Scott Kazmir walked 6 batters in only 4 innings on Monday, making him only the 3rd pitcher to walk that many batters in that few innings in a World Series game. The Brooklyn Dodgers’ Rex Barney walked 6 Yankees batters in 2 2/3 innings in 1949 and the Tigers’ “Wild Bill” Donovan lived up to his moniker by walking 6 Pirates batters in 3 innings in 1909.

 

 

B.J. Upton stole his 4th base of the World Series in the top of the 6th, and it turned out to be a crucial move, as he scored the tying run on Carlos Pena’s RBI single. Upton’s 4 steals are the most by a player in one World Series since Omar Vizquel had 5 in 1997.

 

 

Umpires come clean on two key calls in the World Series.

The Philadelphia Phillies scored in the first inning of Game 4 on Sunday night after Jimmy Rollins scampered safely back to third during a rundown. But television replays showed he was tagged on the backside by Tampa Bay’s Evan Longoria and should have been called out by 3rd base umpire Tim Welke.

 

 

Longoria swiped his arm in frustration after Rollins was called safe, and Rays manager Joe Maddon came out for a brief argument. “I just saw him swing and miss. I never saw a tag,” Welke explained after Sunday night’s game. “That’s a swipe tag. A lot of times on a swipe tag, the glove will pause. I saw him try to make a swipe tag but I never saw the glove pause.”

 

Rollins wound up scoring when Pat Burrell drew a bases-loaded walk from Andy Sonnanstine, and the Phillies went on to a 10-2 victory that gave them a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven Series.

 

It was the Rays who got a break in Game 3, when speedy Carl Crawford was called safe by 1st base umpire Tom Hallion on a 7th-inning bunt single. Replays showed Jamie Moyer’s glove flip to first baseman Ryan Howard beat Crawford on a close play.

 

“Bang-bang play, and I tried to get the best angle on it,” Hallion told a pool reporter. “I really didn’t get a sound to be able to judge. It winds up being a great play. And looking at a replay here, they just got him.” Crawford scored as part of a 2-run rally and Tampa Bay tied it later, but Philadelphia won, 5-4.

 

 

There were a couple of disputed calls during the first 3 games at Tampa Bay, too. Maddon screamed for a balk on Cole Hamels when he picked off a Carlos Pena in the opener, and Rocco Baldelli drew a key walk on a checked swing in Game 2 that the Phillies thought had been called strike three.

 

And then there is the strike zone. Fox and its announcing team of Joe Buck and Tim McCarver have also pointed out several inconsistencies throughout the series.

 

Moyer seemed to benefit from Fieldin Culbreth’s calls behind the plate in Game 3, when Fox’s tracking system registered several pitches out of the strike zone that went in the Phillies’ favor.

 

In Game 5, the tracking system showed that Rays starter Scott Kazmir received at least three ball calls from Jeff Kellogg that looked to be strikes. Two to Pat Burrell, with 2 strikes, in the fifth inning led to Kazmir’s 6th walk, and he was pulled thereafter. In the previous inning, the Rays’ Akinori Iwamura struck out on a pitch that appeared several inches out of the strike zone.

 

 

This is the first postseason in which baseball is using replay–though only to review home run calls.

Game 5 to Resume on Weds. Night

 

 

 

 

Welcome to uncharted waters. We’re moving forward, but it’s definitely still very murky. But to the people in Florida, murjy is not always a bad thing. You know we do have swamps and bogs and underwater caves to explore in this state.

With the first suspended game in World Series history now scheduled to resume on Wednesday.  Major League Baseball officials ruled that Tuesday was out of the question after logistics and the current weather was put to senarios and complications of playing in the weather.  

The implications stretch beyond tickets and travel. The Rays and Phillies have baseball questions to answer with 3 1/2 innings left to play. It gets interesting right from the top, as Philadelphia will send a pinch-hitter to the plate to open the bottom of the sixth inning. Starting pitcher Cole Hamels’ work is done

 

 

 Manager Charlie Manuel confirmed what was already a formality on Tuesday. But Hamels would be in line for his fifth victory of the postseason if the Phillies could push across a run in the 6th and hold on to the lead for a win. Hamels would be the first starter in postseason history to win five games in five starts.

 

 

 

Rays manager Joe Maddon said on Monday night that Grant Balfour, who pitched the fifth for Tampa Bay after starter Scott Kazmir was pulled, is his pitcher to start the sixth.

But there’s an excellent chance that will change quickly.

Most of Philadelphia’s dangerous pinch-hitters bat from the left side, most notably Matt Stairs. So Manuel likely will summon a lefty as his first hitter once the game resumes, and Maddon likely would counter with a southpaw on the mound.

 

In fact, Maddon would be wise to warm up a lefty at the same time Balfour warms up. I am guessing that Rookie phenom, David Price will be warmed and ready to go by game time if Maddon inserted him into a long reliever’s role to take over the lasdt 3 innings of the game for the Rays.

Both teams have well stocked Bullpens that will have plenty of rest. No pinch-hitters have been used, and the switch from Kazmir to Balfour is the only pitching change. So both managers have a full complement of tactical options once the game gets back under way. Both, meanwhile, downplayed the possibility of using a starting pitcher as a reliever in Game 5.

So in the practical sense, there’s no real advantage going forward. Yet Tampa Bay has to feel on some level that it has pulled something of an escape. The Rays outlasted Hamels, and they’re not behind. They may have the starting pitching advantage in Games 6 and 7, should those occur, and they’d also have home field.

 

 

That starting advantage in a potential Game 7, however, could go completely out the window if baseball adds a travel day after Game 5. The possibility is still in play that following a game Wednesday, the teams would travel on Thursday and play Game 6 in St. Petersburg on Friday. That would put Game 7 on Saturday, which would allow Hamels to pitch on full rest.

Additionally, the dynamics of Games 6 and 7 change in other ways. If Game 6 is held until Friday, then every starter on both teams save Hamels and Kazmir would be available to pitch on full rest in that game.

Game 4 took place on Sunday, so a Game 6 on Friday would provide four full days of rest for Joe Blanton and Andy Sonnanstine. At the very least, Blanton and Sonnanstine would be available to pitch in relief as much as needed in that game. Both of these bullpens are excellent, though Philadelphia has at least one advantage in that it needs  3 fewer outs. The Phils also have all of their end-of-game options intact, while the Rays do not have a shut-down closer this postseason.

It all starts with the Rays and Phillies getting through Game 5. That could be Wednesday — or later. It could start with Chris Coste against Balfour, and it could start with Stairs facing David Price .Whatever the course, each team will steer itself towards a clear and presnet advantage.

If the Phillies find that safe portage, the series is over and the celebration will start on Broad Street immediately. And if the Rays can pull off another miracle, we get to go to a closed dome stadium where weather and the elements are not a concern once you head into the doors of the Trop.  So we get a night to relax, recharge and rejoice th fact that the World Series will take a few more days to complete, but then again………..Febuary is coming fast. 

Uncharted waters, indeed. ..  

 

MLB Rule Book Concerning Game Suspensions

 

         

 

The following passages are taken directly from the Major League Baseball Handbook distributed to all members of the MLB and it’s clubs. I got a copy of this manaul this year from someone within the Rays organization, and it is pretty informative if you ever get a chance to read it. It might not great bedtime reading, but if you have a lazy day and just want to learn something trivial and might be useful one other time in your life…………this is the book.

 

4.12 SUSPENDED GAMES.

 

(a) A game shall become a suspended game that must be completed at a future date if the game is terminated for any of the following reasons:

 

(1) A curfew imposed by law;

 

(2) A time limit permissible under league rules;

 

(3) Light failure or malfunction of a mechanical field device under control of the home club. (Mechanical field device shall include automatic tarpaulin or water removal equipment);

 

(4) Darkness, when a law prevents the lights from being turned on;

 

(5) Weather, if a regulation game is called while an inning is in progress and before the inning is completed, and the visiting team has scored one or more runs to take the lead, and the home team has not retaken the lead; or

 

(6) It is a regulation game that is called with the score tied.

National Association Leagues may also adopt the following rules for suspended games. (If adopted by a National Association League, Rule 4.10(e) would not apply to their games.):

 

(7) The game has not become a regulation game (4½ innings with the home team ahead, or 5 innings with the visiting club ahead or tied).

 

(8) If a game is suspended before it becomes a regulation game, and is continued prior to another regularly scheduled game, the regularly scheduled game will be limited to seven innings.

 

(9) If a game is suspended after it is a regulation game, and is continued prior to another regularly scheduled game, the regularly scheduled game will be a nine inning game.

EXCEPTION: Optional Rules 4.12(a)(7), 4.12(a)(8) and 4.12(a)(9) for National Association Leagues will not apply to the last scheduled game between the two teams during the championship season or league playoffs.

 

No game called because of a curfew (Rule 4.12(a)(1)), weather (Rule 4.12(a)(5)), a time limit (Rule 4.12(a)(2)) or with a tied score (Rule 4.12(a)(6)) shall be a suspended game unless it has progressed far enough to have been a regulation game pursuant to Rule 4.10(c). A game called pursuant to Rules 4.12(a)(3) or 4.12(a)(4) shall be a suspended game at any time after it starts.

 

NOTE: Weather and similar conditions–Rules 4.12(a)(1) through 4.12(a)(5)–shall take precedence in determining whether a called game shall be a suspended game. If a game is halted by weather, and subsequent light failure or an intervening curfew or time limit prevents its resumption, the game shall not be a suspended game.

 

If a game is halted by light failure, and weather or field conditions prevent its resumption, the game shall not be a suspended game. A game can only be considered a suspended game if stopped for any of the six reasons specified in Rule 4.12(a).

 

(b) A suspended game shall be resumed and completed as follows:

 

(1) Immediately preceding the next scheduled single game between the two clubs on the same grounds; or

 

(2) Immediately preceding the next scheduled doubleheader between the two clubs on the same grounds, if no single game remains on the schedule; or

 

 

(3) If suspended on the last scheduled date between the two clubs in that city, transferred and played on the grounds of the opposing club, if possible;

 

(i) Immediately preceding the next scheduled single game, or


(ii) Immediately preceding the next scheduled doubleheader, if no single game remains on the schedule.

 

 

(4) Any suspended game not completed prior to the last scheduled game between the two teams during the championship season shall become a called game. If such game becomes a called game and

 

(i) has progressed far enough to become a regulation game, and one team is ahead, the team that is ahead shall be declared the winner;

 

(ii) has progressed far enough to become a regulation game, and the score is tied, the game shall be declared a “tie game.” A tie game is to be replayed in its entirety, unless the league president determines that playing the rescheduled game is not necessary to affect the league championship; or

 

(iii) has not progressed far enough to become a regulation game, the game shall be declared “No Game.” In such case, the game is to be replayed in its entirety, unless the league president determines that playing the rescheduled game is not necessary to affect the league championship.

  1.  

  2. A suspended game shall be resumed at the exact point of suspension of the original game. The completion of a suspended game is a continuation of the original game. The lineup and batting order of both teams shall be exactly the same as the lineup and batting order at the moment of suspension, subject to the rules governing substitution.

  3.  

  4. Any player may be replaced by a player who had not been in the game prior to the suspension. No player removed before the suspension may be returned to the lineup.


A player who was not with the club when the game was suspended may be used as a substitute, even if he has taken the place of a player no longer with the club who would not have been eligible because he had been removed from the lineup before the game was suspended.

 

 

Rule 4.12(c) Comment: If immediately prior to the call of a suspended game, a substitute pitcher has been announced but has not retired the side or pitched until the batter becomes a base runner, such pitcher, when the suspended game is later resumed may, but is not required to start the resumed portion of the game.

 

However, if he does not start he will be considered as having been substituted for and may not be used in that game.

 

 

(d) Rain checks will not be honored for any regulation or suspended game that has progressed to or beyond a point of play described in Rule 4.10(c).

Phillies Bombard Rays 10-2

Phillies 10, Rays 2

 

 

I thought I might not hear that familiar wail or whine in this series. I was hoping it would be the wind and not some fan shoving doubt into people’s minds, but sure enough I heard the words I have been expecting from bandwagoners’ for about 3 months now. “we are done, stick a fork in us.”

I would love to stick a fork in the bandwagon fans and people about to jimup off the boat becuase things are not going your way. I would really like to be alone in a room with some of them and s cold them like a little chid for being so fake, and so unreal for younger fans to see. This is the time in a series, and in your lives that you stand tall for what you believe and hope, prays, meditate, whatever gives you good karma to send the boys’ some luck.

Some of the guys have been suffering during the season, others have been playing and hustling like it was still Spring Training. But tonight is the night. As the expression goes, “It’s all or nothing.” The White Sox have ebbn in this spot this year, the Red Sox still believe the series is playing in their heads and they are winning, but Tampa Bay fans now have to believe.

Even if the worst happens tonight, we have to be focused and know that the boys’ did their best and that there will be more chances in the future to secure the prize. This season opend alot of doors for the Rays and we will see them in the poststseason again in less than 330 days. The winning spirit is new in this part of the baseball world, but the true fans will be the one still wearing Rays gear tomorrow. And the true fans will be the ones counting down the days until pitchers’ and catchers’ reposrt in the Spring.

But best of all, true fans will be wondering how the boys are doing.

 

               

 

Four Blind Plays

You have to admit, the umpires have been pretty colorful in this years Wotld Series. They have been animated behind the plate and have made some unusual, and down right incredible calls. But, the ones that stick out on our minds are not the calls over the corners of the plate, or even seeing through a play and calling out a baserunner, they are the wild and zany plays that were missed by replays and by fans all over baseball.

 

 

Every game has had its own one play that has defined the game. Take Game 1, when Cole Hamels apparently went towards home, but threw to first base. His foot was not facing the plate, but his momentum was shifted forward, not to the side……….Balk or great play? Or how about the play in Game 2, where the phantom bat did not break the plane for Rocco Baldelli and we strooled to first…………checked swing, or did he break his wrist on the play?

And then you get to the really fun ones up here in Philly. You know, rain on Sat. night blurred the vision a bit just 6 feet from the bag. In Game 3, it must have been the mist that made the umpires miss the pplay where Jamie Moyer was sprawled on the wet turf and uses his glove like another appendage to twirl the ball to a bare-handed Ryan Howard to ctach speedy Carl Crawford a nano second before he hit the bag. I will admit that one got me. I was expecting the hammer to come down for an out, then the umpire just threw the safe signal and the Phillies bench went bananas.

 

 

Then there was the play in the 1st inning of last night’s game. Jimmy Rollins camped at thrid base and a ball gets hit into the infield and taken by the pitcher, Andy Sonnanstine. Everyone in the ballpark thinks the ball is going to 2nd, but he twirls around and catches Rollins mid stride between 3rd and home. The chase is on and Sonnanstine gets him to within about 6 feet of the bag and throws the ball to Evan Longoria.

 

 

Longoria pops Rollins on the booty and leaves a red clay mark on the poor guys butt. We then hear the words that will reverb in our heads for a week……..”safe”.  Are you kidding me, did you not watch the ball, or were you watching the hand go towards the bag and not the ball and the possession and progression of it to the posterior of Mr. Rollins. It has been a small upgrade nightly into the insane and the blind that has led people to wondering about the state of the umpire world.  Last night’s blight was an oversight and an embarassment to umpires everywhere..but maybe there was a raindrop still in his eye from Sat night.

 

             

 

Top of the Lineup

There has been talk this entire series of guys trying to force things to happen for the Rays. That the firsy 4 guys feel it is their duty to carry this team. Some of the top 4 have done a great job getting into position to score or even pop the occasional needed blooper or double to get some action going in the game. Others have just had a slump from which there will be no exit this poststeason.

Carlos Pena was getting into a great groove when the ALCS ended. He seemed to be fianally seeing the ball and finding his storke at the right time for the Rays. It looked as if the series would be his playgorund. But instead it has become his own personal hell into the slight adjustments and overswining of the post injury Pena who’s timing and stride were lacking. He might find his way, but will it be in time to save his young team’s dream of hoisting the Commissioner’s trophy this year.

Evan Longoria is another story. I do not think there has been another rookie who has had so much pressure on him in the poststeason to lead his team into the promised land. I know he has won 2 championships at Double-A, but this is far more pressure and far more talented pitchers’ than he ever saw at Montgomery.

 

                    

 

For the World Series, Longoria has a dunkin Doughnut, a gooseegg, and “o” for offensive. Evan Longoria is the second rookie to go hitless in his first 16 at-bats of a World Series. The only other rookie to begin a World Series with an 0-for-16 streak was Flea Clifton of the Tigers in 1935. (Clifton was 0-for-16 for the entire series.)

I have been watching his at bats the past few games and the kid is pushing his strikezone outward. Players et their own personal strikezones as to what pitches they feel they can smash or take to the oppositie field. Right now, Longoria is searching for that one flare, blooper or even a ground ball with eyes to make his mind free up and play more relaxed. He had better find his spot soon, or not only is he going to have all Winter to profect it, he might be on the bench for Game 5 to relfect and waork in the under the stands cages for a few inning tomorrow.

 

 

C C Has Found the Power Button

When you are known for your speed sometimes you get a gift out over the plate and you just have to jump on it. That has got to be the mindset of Carl Crawford right now. The baseball are becoming bigger and bigger every game, and yet he is hitting the cover off the ball and stealing bases. Last night he might have only gone 1-3, but that one hit sparked a few smiles in the dugout.

In the 4th inning, with 2-outs in the inning, Crawford took an 1-2 count hanging high fastabll into the rightfield stands to put the Rays on the board. The run pulled the Rays to within 1 eun, 2-1 at the time. It was Crawford’s second homer of this series since he hit that game 1 blast off Cole Hamels in Tropicana Field/

 

 

Akinora Iwamura’s Wild Ride

When you only committed a handful of erros all eyar at your new position, and have solidified the position for your team, you never expect a night like this can happen on such a huge scale. Aki has been one of the most consistant infields’ this season for the Rays. You could count on him day and night to make the plays and get the outs without hesitation.

But what happened to him on Sunday night is not suppose to happen to Iwamura. Chase Utley was at the plate to lead off the 3rd inning for the Phillies. Aki was back in his role in the shift used all series long against Utley for the at bat. Utley hit a nasty ball that took  a bad hop on the clay and came up and hit Iwamura’s glove on the heel and rolled into rightfield. Aki was charged with an error, only his 1st of the World Series.

Then in the top of the 4th inning, Jimmy Rollins hit a hard ball up the middle and shaded a bit to right that caught Iwamura flat-footed and popped in and out of his glove wihtout a throw to first. Another error for Iwamura.

 

 

And it did not matter that he made an impressive and outstanding play on a hard liner hit right to him by Carlos Ruiz in the 7th inning. That Iwamura turned and fired to Carlos Pena at first and Pena had to go crosshand style and get the ball to double =up Pedro Feliz at first and end the inning for the Phillies. It was na amazing play, but it was also an inch away from another disaster of heading to the Phillies dugout and another error get charged to Iwamura.

 

 

The Mind of Joe Maddon

You have to admire a guy who can quote and attribute so many lines and sayings in his daily life. Rays Manager Joe Maddon is an intelligent manager to say the least. But what he did Sunday night can not go unnoticed either. He sent up three pinch-hitters on the night, and 2 came away with hits, one of them an exciting moment for Maddon and Hinske.

Eric Hinske was told as few days ago by Cliff Floyd to be ready to play. He was not sure why he was told this, but being the pro he is……he worked hard to get his timing down in the batting cage. On Sunday, the Rays made a move on their 25-man World Series roster taking off Floyd, who had a bad shoulder, and putting on the hard-hitting Hinske.

Hinske saw no action while on the ALCS roster, and he did nor expect anything different for the World Series roster. But in the 5th inning he came on to hit for Sonnanstine and hit a monster deep into centerfield. The ball was hit so far it hit the ivy-covered centerfield wall beyond the playing field. This wall was about 20 feet further than the wall where Shane Victorino stood looking up at the blast. Iy started a upward slow rally for the Rays.

 

                         

 

Then in the 7th inning, Willy Aybar came up to pinch-hit for Edwin Jackson and hit a nice single into rightfield. He was stranded on base for the inning, but it made Maddon 2 for 2 tonight with his pinch-hitters. Maddon pressed his luck in the 9th inning when he sent up Rocco Baldelli to pinch-hit for  Trever Miller, and Rocco struck out to end the game for the Rays.

 

             

 

Andy Was Not Dandy Tonight

Coming on and pitching with alot of pressure can work both ways in a baseball game. Sometimes it worls to your advantage and it pumps you up to the point of giving you some extra speed on your pitches and makes you believe more can happen on the mound.

Then sometimes you have what happened to Andy Sonnanstine on the mound tonight. You can have your stuff tonight and just get rocked by a team that is well scouted and prepared for you that night. you are not pitching any better, or any worse than normal, they just have your number that night.

 

 

Both of the above could be found in Sunday nights game, but the end result is that the Phillies exploited Sonnanstines weaknesses to their advantages. They set him up on a few pitches and the result was the umpire giving Andy a new ball while they made their ways around the bases for homers. Pair that with a reduced strike zone and you have the firm recipe for disaster on your hands.

Sonnanstine started out by giving up the first bases loaded walk of his career in the 1st inning to score Rollins, who should have been sitting on the bench becuase of an earlier blown call by the umpire at thris base, Tim Welke. So he gave the Phillies an early 1-0 lead, and the Rays never got close again. He went pretty smoothly from there until he watched as Utley was on base because of an unsual error by Iwamura behind the first base bag.

Then Ryan Howard got a single to right to put 2 Phillies on with no outs in the inning. Feliz the hit a RBI single to left that scored Utley cleanly and the Phillies had a 2-0 early lead on the Rays. The 4th inning started with Rollins again getting a single to rightfield to lead off the inning. Sonnanstine then walked Jayson Werth, but got a quick out on Utley.

 

                

 

 Howard then stood in the box and smashed a 3-run shot to right to put the game out of the Rays hands at that point.Sonnanstine got through the inning with no more damamge, but his night was ended with the Rays down 5-1 at that point. Sonnanstine went 4 innings and gave up 5-runs on 6 hits and only 1 home run to Howard.

 

Tampa Bay Rays’ Bullpen Blues

For the most part of 2008, the Tampa Bay Rays Bullpen has been the linch-pin to a majority of their wins. they have ebnt and not broken and have been a consisitant cog in the Rays victory machine. In the Wrold Series, this part of the Rays magic has been tarnished a bit by hitters getting the bestter of the unit.

In tonight’s game, Edwin Jackson came on the in t 5th inning to releieve starter Sonnanstine and threw 2 inning of ball for the Rays. During his time on the mound, Jackson gave up a homer to newly found blaster Phillie starter Joe Blanton to leftfield.  For Blanton, it was his first major league homer and came on his last at bat of the season. Blanton actually bookmarked his season getting a single in his first at bat, and now a homer in his last 2008 at bat for the Phillies.

 

 

Dan Wheeler came on to pitch in the 7th inning and did not fare any better for the Rays. Wheeler was the recipient of the amazing play by Aki at first in doubling up Feliz to get Wheler out of a jam in the inning. In the 8th inning, Rollins hit a double off the rightfield wall to put a man early in the inning in scoring position for the Phillies.

Werth then hit a 3-2 count hanging breaking ball out if the ballpark for a 2-run homer to futher put the Phillies ahaed, 8-2. Trever Miller came in to relieve Wheeler and walked Utley before giving up a colossial shot to left by Howard for a 2-run shot of his own to put the score at 10-2 Phillies

 

 

 

 

 

World Series Tidbits…………….. The Late Saturday Night Edition

 

 

                    

 

Tonight’s game might not have been the best weather for a baseball game of this magnitude, but it did live up to each teams’ strong points. the Rays have used the small ball philosophy to score alot of runs this year. the base bstealing and the timely hits came for the Rays, but in the end, a well placed ball did them in last night.

Nothing to ashamed of here. This is the time of year where lucky is as good as a .300 hitter. The Phillies did what they do best last night, they sent 3 balls into the stands and posted 3 runs on them.  The Rays almost had a loong ball fo their own, but the baseball gods in Philly did not want Longoria to post one up tonight. That ball seemed to swirl up the air for a bit before Burrell took it into his mitt for the 3rd out of the inning.

The real winner is the fans of both teams who saw a pitcher almost my age post the game of his life. The Phillies needed Moyer to come through in a big way, and he delivered on the mound and in the field. Okay, okay, he did get Upton in time with that amazing toss from his glove, but big old Ryan Howard also blocked the barehanded catch. If the umpire was placed in foul territory, it would have been a no-brainer call.

Case in point, the umpires have made alot of great calls in this series so far, but we all only remember at least one a game for a sheer fact of it either being a bad call, or a judgement call in a nano second. Give me a break,  the baseball umpires have gotten it right more times than not in this series, so let’s stop bringing them into the eqation every night.

 

 

 

Pujols Slams Another Award Home

For each of his first 8 years in the majors, Albert Pujols has produced more than 30 home runs and 100 RBIs. That already is twice as many as anyone in MLB history. But he said what happened at Citizens Bank Park on Saturday night will bring him more gratification than anything in his storied career

The Cardinals’ star first baseman received the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award before the start of Game 3 of the World Series in recognition of the player who best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual’s contribution to his team. As part of this year’s presentation, Chevy is donating $30,000 and a 2009 Chevy Traverse to the Pujols Family Foundation.

 

 

As is customary before every Game 3 of the Fall Classic, Commissioner Bud Selig made the announcement on Saturday at a news conference that included the recipient as well as Vera Clemente, the widow of the great Roberto Clemente, who died in a 1972 plane crash while attempting to transport relief supplies to earthquake-stricken Nicaragua. This award was first bestowed by MLB in 1971, and was renamed in Clemente’s honor in 1973.

 

Pujols, 28, had been the Cardinals’ nominee for the 4th year in a row. He was selected from a list of 30 nominees, one from each MLB club. A panel of dignitaries, including Selig and Vera Clemente, selected the overall award recipient. Additionally, fans were able to log on to MLB.com and cast a vote for one of the 30 nominees. The winner of the fan vote was tallied as one vote among those cast by the selection panel.

 

Wild Happenings in Citizen Bank Park on Sat. Night

 

The Phillies had only 2 previous walkoff wins in postseason play: Game 4 of the 1981 N.L. East Playoffs against the Expos (George Vukovich homered in the 10th inning) and Game 1 of the 1993 NLCS against Atlanta (Kim Batiste singled in the winning run in the 10th inning).

 

Chase Utley and Ryan Howard hit consecutive home runs for the Phillies in the 6th inning last night. They were the first pair of teammates to hit back-to-back homers in a World Series game since the Giants’ Reggie Sanders and David Bell in 2002 (Game 2, second inning) and the first teammates to do that from the 3rd and 4th slots in the batting order since the Yankees’ Thurman Munson and Reggie Jackson in 1977 (Game 5, eighth inning).

( Utley and Howard hit back-to-back homers only one other time: June 13 this year in the first inning of the Phillies’ 20-2 win at St. Louis.)

 

Ryan Howard, who led the majors with 48 home runs this season, had been homerless in 42 at-bats in the postseason this year until he went deep in the 6th inning of Game 3. The only other player to hit at least 40 home runs in one season and then have a home-run drought of at least 40 at-bats in the postseason that year was Manny Ramirez in 2004 (43 home runs, 49-AB postseason home-run drought).

 

The Rays tied the game in the 8th inning when B.J. Upton stole 2nd and 3rd base, and scored on a throwing error by Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz. Upton was only 4-for-9 when attempting to steal 3rd base during this past regular season. Upton was the only player with more than three attempted steals of 3rd base this season who was caught more often than he made it.

 

 

The Rays premier basestealer, Carl Crawford is now 7-for-7 in steals this post season.

Matt Garza was the first pitcher to allow three home runs in a World Series game since 2002, when the Angels’ Jarrod Washburn (Game 1) and Kevin Appier (Game 2) both did that.

 



 

 

Phillies Pounce on Rays’ Mistakes

 

 

Phillies 5, Rays 4

 

 

I remember a couple of years ago I went up to Cleveland for a series against the Indians and the weather turned ugly during the night. A rain system decided to drop over the Great Lakes and dump a bit of rain on the city during the night and at 1 pm that Sat. afternoon it was still coming down pretty good.

I came to the stadium decked out in my Rays outerwear that I got from Jesus Colome when he was still with the club and was running through the stands like a chicken with my head cut off. I always loved playing in the rain in college, and I was one of the crazies who braved the rain during that Tampa Bay Rowdies/ Ft Lauderdale Strikers game back in the early 80’s that left Tampa Stadium a waterfall.

 

 

So you know I was anxous when I saw the same type of system come up from the south and blanket the Philly area for most of the day. I was some tight rain that came down in buckets for a long time, but it was followed by the chilly wind that kid of went straight down to your bones. I am too old now to run like a chicken, but I did look like a turkey gobbling to the Bullpen guys as they came out to get some throwing in before the game.

 

 

Rain is the great equalizer. It can take a fast team and make them slow, or it can make a homer-happy team become the best small ball hitters in the league. I was watching the crew throw down a ton of wet-dry all over the onfield and on the warning tracks beofre the game. I was curious if the added granules would make the ball do funny things when it bounced on an infielder.

 

 

 I know it was not like the kitty litter type dry compound I used to put out at accident scenes, but wondered if it was slick on top of the clay infield.  I guess all was well, becuase no one seemed to have abad hop, or an ill advised ball start to go right and turn left on them. Guess I have a lot to learn about a stadium without a roof.

 

 

Top of the Order

The Rays came into the World Series knowing that they needed more production out of the top of our batting order. In the first few games of the series the top of the order had some impact, but most of it was on ground ball RBI’s and not clutch hits or drives to the deep parts of the ballpark for sacrifice flys.

In tonight game, the top 4 batters went a combined 2-15, with 7 strikeouts. To make matter worse, Evan Longoria, who is mired in a terrible batting slump had a sure thing home run brought back into the park by Mother Nature tonight. you could see the expression on Phillies’ starter Jamie Moyer’s face that he also thought the ball was into the stands and the Rays would have been ahead at the point in the game.

 

 

Instead, the ball was heading out and did a swift drop about 3 feet from the wall into Pat Burrell’s glove for the last out of the 6th inning. To make matters even worse, the Phillie crowd was on Longoria early chanting “Eva” to him on every play and at bat. For the entire night, only 5 balls from the top of the lineup even left the infield. 2of those were singles by B J Upton. Akinora Iwamura hit to long drives to right, but Jayson Werth was under the ball with ease.

 

B J Upton is a Speed Machine

After the last couple of series for the Rays, no one has questioned the drive and determination of Upton. Funny how a few months agowe even wondered if he wanted to play baseball, and now we would be a totally different, and maybe not even in this World Series without him.

Upton hit a nice liner into left just over the head of Jimmy Rollins in the 6th inning. Upton then took off on the first pitch to Evan Longoria with 2-outs and stole his first base of the night. Upton was in position to score, but Longoria hit his towering ball to left that was caught at the track by Burrell to end the inning.

 

 

Then again in the 8th inning, Upton lead-off the inning with a infield single to short that Rollins could not make a play on in time to get the speedy Upton. With no outs in the inning, it was only a matter of time before Upton tried to steal another base tonight.  On the 2nd pitch to Longoria, Upton again stole second for his second swipe of the night.

He then waited  2 more pitches then tried to steal third base, and got in safe, but he kicked the ball towards the Rays dugout and came in to score on the throwing error by Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz.  that knotted the score at 4-4. The play helped Upton steal an amazing 3 base tonight to tie a World Series record.

 

Last Chance for the Rays

In the bottom of the 9th inning, the score was still tied 4-all, with the Phillies getting the last at bats in the game.  J P Howell remained in the game and got a 2-1 count on Eric Bruntlett before he hit him with a pitch. Howell was then relieved by Grant Balfour in the game.

Balfour then had a 1-1 count on him before he unleashed a Wild Pitch that went to the backstop and came right back to Dioner Navarro. He then tried to get Bruntlett, who was heading to second on the steakl, but the ball sailed to the right of Jason Bartlett and bounced into centerfield for an error on Navarro.

Balfour then intentionally walked Shane Victorino. Gregg Dobbs then came up as a pinch hitter and was also Intentionally walked to load the bases. At this time, Rays Manager Joe Maddon came out and instituted his 5-man infield formation with Ben Zobrist manning up the middle of the infield. Upton and Carl Crawford were playing shallow right-center and left respectfully.

 

 

Ruiz then came up and took the count to  2-2 before putting a slow moving grounder down the third baseline that Longoria fielded. He then tried to toss it over Bruntlett, who was racing for home, but the ball sailed beyond Navarro’s reach and the Phillies won on that play.

Bruntlett did the right thing by running inside of the baseline towards the plate to take away any possible throw from the infield. the ball would have to have been a perfect lob just over his shoulder to get him at the plate.

 

                

 

Carl Crawford also had Some Magic Tonight

Crawford came into the game wanting to be more of an offensive threat for the Rays. He ended up going 2-4 on the night, with 2 runs scored. In the top of the 2nd inning, Crawford lead off with a blooper single into left that was tailing away from Burrell the enitre time it was in the air. the ball fell a foot from him and Crawford slid into second with a double on the play.

 

 

Crawford then made his presence know on the bases by stealing third on the 2nd pitch to Gabe Gross. For the playoffs, Crawford is a perfect 7 for 7 stealing bases. 3 pitches later, Gross hit a sacrifice fly to deep right center to score Crawford and tie the game up 1-all. In the 7th inning, Crawford lead off the inning with a bunt to the right side of the infield that could not be handled by Moyer in time.

Navarro then came up and hit a double to put both men in scoring position with no outs in the inning. Gross then hit a ball deep behind first base that Howard had to stab and Crwford walked in to score for the Rays. 

 

               

 

 Jason Bartlett then hit a grounder to short that Rollins had to throw to first and Navarro scored to make it  a 1-run game, 4-3 Phillies. Crawford and Navarro tonight had 4 of the Rays 6 hits on the night. They also scored 3 of the Rays 4 runs in the game.

 

Navarro’s Throws

Tonight was one of those good news, bad news kind of nights for Navarro. He had a hot bat at the plate, but had a few situations behind the dish that cost the Rays some runs, and put some dangerous people in scoring position. In the 1st inning, there was a Wild Pitch by Garza that darted away from Navarro after hitting the thumb section of his catcher’s mitt. It moved 2 runners into scoring position for the Phillies. the good news is only 1 run scored in the inning, and the Rays were only down 1-0 at the time.

 

 

In the 3rd inning, Navarro made a perfect throw onto the glove of Iwamura that he easily tagged out Rollins trying to steal seond base. It came down in the perfect spot to tag his lead hand before it hit the bag. And in the 8th inning, Navarro called for a pick-off play at second on Werth and got him leaning hard towards third base. J P Howell put a strike into Bartlett who got Werth by a foot.

In the 9th inning, Navarro had no chance on the outside pitch by Grant Balfour that went to the backstop. The ball looked like it was about to hit Shane Victorino, but broke heard at the last moment and went beyond Navarro. On the winning play in the 9th inning, Navarro could do nothing but stand on the plate as the ball as the ball sailed a good 5 feet above him for the winning run.

 

 

Matt Garza’s Wild Night

With the rain delay you have to think that Matt Garza might have over-psyched himself for this game. With the 90 minute plus delay in the start of the game, you have to think he was just sitting there with his Ipod on just chilling and maybe getting into his own head a bit.

He did not come out strong as he gave up a single to Rollins on the 2nd pitch of the game to centerfield. He then walked Werth on 5 pitches, and then threw the Wild Pitch 2 pitches later that moved them both into scoring position.  He got out of that inning only giving up a single run to Victorino. In the 2nd inning,he got 2 quick outs before giving up a fastball inside to Ruiz who slammed it into the stands in leftfield for a solo shot and put the Phillies up 2-1.

 

                  

 

In the 3rd inning, he gave up singles to Rollins and Werth to lead-off the inning before settling down and getting 2 quick outs.  In the 4th, it looked like he was under control as he struck out the side on 19 pitches. In 6th inning he ran into his worst problems of the night as he gave up a solo shot to lead-off the inning to Chase Utley.

 

             

 

Ryan Howard then came up homer-less in the series, and he sent the 2-2- pitch into the rightfield stands for another solo shot and put the Phillies up 4-1 at the time. It was the 14th time in World Series history that a team went back-to-back with homers in a game. For the night, Garza went 6 innings and threw 102 pitches in the game. He had 7 strikeuots, but also gave up 3 solo homers in the contest.

Garza did show some moments of brilliant pitching as he was using both sides of the plate well against the Phillies.  I truly think the extra time either warming up in the Bullpen or sitting in the lockerrom before warming up might have played a bit with his mind. He did not seem to have that normal sharpness we have come to know from Garza early in the ballgame. But he did fight through it and posted a decent game under the circumstances.

 

 

This was one of those games that the Rays sually won during the season. They worked hard all game long to tie up the contest, then sually they go ahead and the Bullpen shuts down the opposition. But tonight the gameplan did not work that way and the Rays found themselves in an unusual position. In the 9th inning, Maddon used a psychological weapon in his 5-man infield, but the plan did not go off without a hitch.

The perfect play would not have been down the third baseline with the runner barrelling down on Navarro without a throwing lane. All Navarro had to do was step on the bag for the force out, but Longoria could not get it to him effectively.

But it is still early in thie World Series and either team can still mount a offensive and take over the series. With a 2-1 series advantage right now, the Phillies do have the upper hand, but the Rays have always been a team to look down the odds and play baseball. I am looking forward to tonight’s contest featuring Joe Blanton and Andy Sonnanstine. Both pitchers like to get the ball fast and rock and fire, so it might be a really fast game.

Considering that tonight’s contests did not get over until way after 1:30 a.m., I think both teams are looking forward to a night game and not an afternoon contest. It will also give the field a few extra hours to drain and dry out in the sun before they re-line it and we play another great World Series contest.

 

 

 

 

 

You Can Have Rocky……. We Have Rocco

 

             

 

 

It’s become the norm for Major League players to arrive at their home clubhouse four or five hours early. Some work out, some play cards and others do crossword puzzles quietly in front of their lockers. Rocco Baldelli doesn’t have that luxury. Instead, the Rays outfielder spends the four hours before every game getting various treatments, taking a cocktail of pills and doing everything possible to offset a rare mitochondrial disorder that causes extreme fatigue.

 

And while his Tampa Bay team may be the best story in baseball, Baldelli’s triumph is that he is suiting up in a Rays uniform at all. The Rhode Island native held a tearful press conference this past spring announcing that he would start the year on the disabled list to try to recover from four years of nagging injuries and mysterious illness.

 

Five months, two rehab assignments and a diagnosis later, Baldelli defied his own doubts and was reinstated to the Rays’ lineup Aug. 10.

 

It is a gift the Rays faithful cherish, as every time Baldelli runs out to right field or steps up to the dish he is greeted with thunderous applause. The sixth overall selection in the 2000 June First-Year Player Draft, Baldelli was a coveted young player full of promise before being struck by his illness.

Now he is a symbol of hope, living proof of the powers of modern medicine.  After returning to the Rays’ lineup, Baldelli played in 46 games down the stretch, hitting .263 with four home runs and 13 RBIs.

 

          

 

One of the runs he drove in came on Aug. 30, when Baldelli delivered a walk-off double to clinch a 10-9 victory over the Orioles. Maybe he hasn’t returned to the same physical condition he was in a few years ago, but on that day, Baldelli was back in a big way. And his teammates — who rushed the field to mob Baldelli following the walk-off — couldn’t have been happier.

 

Baldelli shies away from reflecting on the magnitude of what he’s done. The unassuming 26-year-old is perfectly content sitting in front of his locker — tucked away in the right corner of the Rays’ clubhouse — and pretending he is just another ballplayer.

 

But the Rays know better.

 

Baldelli’s fight is far from over. He isn’t cured by any means and could blow out at any second. The Rays declined his option for next year, and his future is uncertain. But right now, the opportunity to lace up his cleats and help his team in the Wolrd Series against the Phiadelphia Phillies  is there. And for Baldelli, that is more than enough.

 

 

The following blog is a reprint of a blog I first posted on March 13, 2008, about 3 hours after the Post game News Conference with Rocco Baldelli during Spring Training:

 

 

Rocco Baldelli was once called “Joe’s twin,” by professional Scout Al LaMacchia. This of course, is referring to the great Joe DiMaggio. Rocco had been compared to the Yankee great since his prep days at Bishop Hendricken H.S. in Warwick, Rhode Island.

 

Baldelli was drafted by the Tampa Bay (Devil)rays in the first round of the 2000 Amateur draft. Rocco worked his way up the Rays’ minor league ladder to be named the team’s starting Centerfielder for the 2003 MLB season. Rocco debuted on March 31, 2003 and hit and powered his way to a third place finish in the Rookie of the Year ballot that year.

                                   

In 2004, Rocco was the returning Centerfielder and was looking to improve on his 2003 stats. His 2003, .289 average, with 11 HRs and 27 stolen bases was just a glimpse of what might be in store for Rays fans in the future. In 2004, Rocco led all MLB Centefielders in range factor with a 3.3.

                                             

Range Factor (commonly abbreviated RF) is a baseball statistic developed by Bill James. It is calculated by dividing putouts and assists by number of innings or games played at a given defense position. The statistic is premised on the notion that the total number of outs that a player participates in is more relevant in evaluating his defensive play than the percentage of cleanly handled chances as calculated by the conventional statistic fielding percentage.

 

In 2005, Rocco began the year with a ACL tear while playing ball in his R.I. backyard with his younger brother. He was on scedule to be back by the All-Star break in 2005, but he sustained a elbow in jury and was lost for the rest of the season. Rocco had “Tommy John’s” surgery to repair his elbow and rehabbed at the Minor League complex in St. Petersburg,Florida.

                                    

Rocco was fired up and ready to roll in 2006, and finally got back on the turf versus the Los Angeles Angels at Anahiem on June 7, 2008.  Baldelli played throughout the rest of the season ending with a .302 average,16 HRs, and 57 RBI’s in only 364 at bats.

 

In 2007, Rocco began his trip onto the DL after pulling his hamstring during Spring Training. the injury seemed to slowly heal, but while on a Minor League rehab assignment, the injury became worse. Rocco spent the rest of the year inactive, but a very important part of the team. He could be seen on the bench either taking down the pitch stats, or intentively watching the opposing pitcher for signs of him tipping off his pitches or pitch outs to first base. Joe Maddon felt that Rocco had an energy and a positive attitude that was beneficial to his young squad and took him on away games the rest of the season.

 

During this time, Ron Porterfield, the Rays’ Head Trainer, and the medical staff did exclusive tests on rocco to try and pinpoint the situation and maybe finally get some positive results.

 

During  the Spring Training in2008, Rocco was an early arrival to camp. He was out there every day trying to get his body to function correctly so he could get back on the field with his comrades. He was used sparingly this Spring until on March12, 2008, Rocco released the following statement to the press after the last Spring Training game at Progress Energy Field, the Rays’ Spring Training stadium:

 

This offseason, because of the physical problems I’ve been having, I started along with the team’s help to search them out and go see some doctors and try to find out what’s going on.

 

I was having a lot of problems the last couple years with my muscles and muscle strains. I think a good way to describe it is literally muscle fatigue and cramping, way before my body should be feeling these things. I would go out there and I was pretty much incapable of doing basic baseball activities as far as running and hitting and throwing.

 

These were things that I had done my whole life pretty easily and at some point in the last two years – we’re not exactly sure why – these things started to change. It was tough for me to deal with, but with the team’s help, they sent me to specialists, basically flying me around all over the country to try to figure out what was going on.

 

What the doctors eventually found through all of this was I have some type of metabolic and/or mitochondrial abnormalities. Basically, somewhere along the line in my body – I don’t want to get too deep into the medicine because it’s not really my expertise, but either my body isn’t making or producing or storing ATP the right way and therefore not allowing, apparently, my muscles to work as they should and, especially, recover on a day-to-day basis. So it becomes very difficult to get on the field every day and play.

 

When I say fatigue, I go out there and my body is literally spent after a very short amount of time out on the field, which makes it extremely frustrating and difficult, but it’s something that’s kind of a reality right now and something we’re dealing with the best that we can.

 

As far as my baseball career, I’m not here to stand in front of you telling you I’m retiring. We’re still going to pursue every avenue that we can to try to figure out what is going on, have a better understanding of what is going on. But at this time, throughout all of the extensive testing that we’ve done, we don’t have a concrete answer. The doctors’ consensus is that these are the problems that I’m experiencing and there’s a lot of medical proof of these things, but they’ve been unable to specifically identify an exact reason or an exact problem down to a specific name. That’s kind of frustrating, but that’s why we’re going to continue along with the team’s help to find out what’s going on.

 

I feel comfortable about this because the team has been so good to me and supported me in every possible way I could imagine. Without that, I don’t know really where I’d be right now, because this is as probably as difficult and frustrating a thing as I’ve ever had to deal with as a person. Like I said, we’re going to do everything we can to fix and hopefully solve this problem, and that’s pretty much where I’m at right now.

 

 

Rocco Baldelli announced that he has a mitochondrial metabolic abnormality during a press conference on Wednesday.

 

 

I put his entire statement here to reflect and hope that a solution or a cure can be found for this promising player. I have personally chatted with Rocco on occasion, and I can tell you there is no better guy in the clubhouse than him. He knows what was expected of him on Day 1, and he has done his best to make it back onto the diamond.

 

The Rays’ are in a pickle here tho. They were looking for Rocco to be a Centerfield back-up this season to give BJ Upton some needed rest during the season. Maybe the Rays will look at their Minor leaguers in camp, or sign a veteran like Kenny Lofton to relieve BJ, and Jonny Gomes through the year.

 

Here is a guy who could have rewritten a few passages in the books, and now might be done in because a metabolic nightmare within his body. I hope the doctors’ can find a solution soon, and have a positive prognosis so we can get this great talent back on the field sometime in the not to near future.

 

I will miss not seeing Rocco out there on another Opening Day in Baltimore on March 31,but his health is more important than the game right now.

 

Here is  a short example of what ATP and the human body have in common. I found this on a website, and I hope it is easy to comprehend and understand.

 

For your muscles — in fact, for every cell in your body — the source of energy that keeps everything going is called ATP. Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is the biochemical way to store and use energy.

 

 

The entire reaction that turns ATP into energy is a bit complicated, but here is a good summary:

  • Chemically, ATP is an adenine nucleotide bound to three phosphates.
  • There is a lot of energy stored in the bond between the second and third phosphate groups that can be used to fuel chemical reactions.
  • When a cell needs energy, it breaks this bond to form adenosine diphosphate (ADP) and a free phosphate molecule.
  • In some instances, the second phosphate group can also be broken to form adenosine monophosphate (AMP).
  • When the cell has excess energy, it stores this energy by forming ATP from ADP and phosphate.

 

ATP is required for the biochemical reactions involved in any muscle contraction. As the work of the muscle increases, more and more ATP gets consumed and must be replaced in order for the muscle to keep moving.

 

Because ATP is so important, the body has several different systems to create ATP. These systems work together in phases. The interesting thing is that different forms of exercise use different systems, so a sprinter is getting ATP in a completely different way from a marathon runner!

 

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