Closing out an amazing year

Not a whole lot to say here.

This year has been pretty memorable for my household. I won’t bore with details but it’s been a pretty darn good year!

As far as my Rays go, who could ask for more?

I know that the boys did not go far in the playoffs, but the way they fought through the month of September kind of softened the blow of an early playoff exit.

Game 162 ring a bell?

Greatest night of baseball ever.

I hope that all have a safe night tonight and I cannot wait to see what 2012 has in store for us all.

The countdown comes soon…

How?

Most amazing baseball night of my life.

I just got a story to tell my son about the first Rays season of his life.

Stories for kids and grandkids.

So thankful to be a baseball fan.

So happy to be a Rays fan.

Unknown

This will be short.

I have no idea how this game will end. Nobody does.

But I can that I have never been prouder of my team. They won’t stop. They won’t quit.

They’ve been counted out for the entire season.

This was supposed to be a rebuilding year.

Wow.

Honestly, I’m hoping for a great Rays win here in the 11th. Robbie is teething and daddy needs some sleep.

But no matter what this has been a simply incredible year.

Go Rays.

Keeps Gettin Better

It has been a while. I’ve been watching the boys, but I’ve been watching MY boy more. Thus no writing.

Just saw Jed Lowrie strike out to put the Sox and Rays in a tie for the wild card. Amazing!

Who–other than a Rays fan–would have thought the Rays could be relevant this final week?

Heck, who thought they would be relevant this season!? Aren’t they supposed to be behind the Blue Jays in the AL East?

I could not be prouder to e a Rays fan now. And I am ecstatic that my son’s first season of baseball has the possibility of being so historic!!

It is a 2-game season folks. I’m excited. I am sure the same cannot be said of Sox fans.

Go get em Rays!!

It’s Been Awhile, but the Trade Deadline is Here!

Kids take alot of time.  Totally worth it…

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So what will the Rays do as the trade deadline looms? 

It seems that the Tampa Bay franchise is best when it avoids the big deal at the deadline.  The deals that make this team what is has been for the last four years or so are the deals that go unnoticed by the MLB public at large.  The Rays will likely end up picking up a guy off the waiver list and stand pat with what they have.

But, just in case…

WHO IS LIKELY GOING?

BJ Upton has already called the trade rumors about him “comical.”  It’s true.  A trade rumor about BJ is like all of the foreclosed houses in the area–omnipresent and depressing.

He’s a big talent, of course.  But he hasn’t utilized that talent at all, which makes him expendable.  Plus, he’s apt to make about $7 million in arbitration next year.

That REALLY makes him expendable. 

The best rumor I’ve heard is that he would go to the Nationals (they are doing things right in DC, aren’t they?) for their SS Ian Desmond and a catcher.  I’m a big fan of Desmond–of his speed, his power, and his youth.  Not many teams have strength at the SS position, so brining him to St. Pete would be great.

Let’s not forget that the Rays have Desmond Jennings, who is hitting .500 right now, primed to take BJ’s place. 

Oooooo, things do not look good for the underachieving Upton.

LIKELIHOOD: Medium

James Shields has had a TON of rumors about him.  The Reds seem to be the frontrunners in the “Big Game” sweepstakes.  However, I do not see the Rays, a team who is so shrewd when it comes to storing pitching, moving him.  His price next season will be $7 million, just like BJ, but that money for a solid #2 pitcher is much smarter to use than on a center fielder.

LIKELIHOOD: Miniscule

JP Howell has made a nice comeback from Tommy John surgery a few years ago, but he is not all the way back.  Nevertheless, there are suitors for the left-handed reliever.  They say that the Royals might want him back, but who wouldn’t want a strong lefty with a wicked curve in their bullpen?

LIKELIHOOD: Could Happen

Kyle Farnsworth has had a renaissance this season, becoming the closer the Rays thought they had lost when Rafael Soriano left town for the New York Yankees last season.  He would fetch a pretty penny on the market.  With the Rays falling out of the race, they can afford to experiment in the closer department.  Since Farnsie would ask for much more money next season, the Rays likely would not be able to afford him.  So…

LIKELIHOOD: Gone

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The bottom line is that the Rays listen to deals on all of its players.  Jeremy Hellickson has been mentioned in trades, but there is no way he’s going anywhere.  That doesn’t mean the Rays won’t listen.

Tomorrow will be a big day.  4 pm Eastern Time is the drop dead time, and it will be fun to guess about who is going where.  Unfortunately, for Rays fans, anyway, no matter what deals are done they will not lead to October. 

But next season, who knows…

First Mobile Post! Draft Day!!

This is not going to be a long one. No jokes please…

I’m putting up a post while holding Robbie–no small feat–while also watching the draft. Of course, not many people care about the MLB draft because there are never any immediate returns. You typically have to wait several years before any of these guys start showing up in the majors.

That’s ok with me.

The MLB draft is one of hope. It is strategic. It is vital to trams such as the Rays, Pirates, and Royals. A poor draft hurts for a few years.

What I’m thinking tonight:
–The Rays have the #2 ranked farm system in MLB!

–the Yanks have the #5 system! That is a surprise!!

–the Rays have 10 picks in the first 60.

–this draft is possible because of the departures of top free agents Carl, Carlos, Wheeler, and Soriano. Their losses hurt BUT we hve a team in 3rd place without them AND will infuse the 2nd best system out there with 12 more picks in the first 89! The future looks good!!

–I’d like to see the Rays get a few starters, a SS, and a power hitting 1b. That will be a strong draft for sure.

–I’m keeping an eye out for a local product from the high school down the street (can’t remember the name). Strong pitcher. Strong hitter.

So the draft starts with two pitchers going. Not a surprise!

Go Rays.

What a Crazy Season (so far…)!

So you may know that I am in the midst–actually the very very early stages–of raising a son.

Who knew it would be so tough!?

Ok, most of you parents knew.  I didn’t.

No, this isn’t a post about my kid.  This is more of a reflection of how the first quarter of this season has gone for my Rays.

I haven’t been able to post as much as I have the last few years, which has been tough to stomach.  Luckily, my excuse is pretty solid.  But now that I come back to put up a post I see that we have switched over to WordPress and everything seems to have changed!

Awesome!

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What I’m really happy about is the fact that I can sit here and type as a fan of the #1 team in the AL East!

(At least until the Boston/Chicago game is over)

Did anybody actuallly think that the Rays would be sitting atop the toughest division in baseball at this point in the season?  I didn’t, and I LOVE these guys.

The question marks heading into the season have been less of an issue than I thought they would.

BULLPEN

The Rays have one of the strongest bullpens in the entire league, yet you would be hardpressed to name more than 2 guys in it.

Yeomen such as Joel Peralta, Kyle Farnsworth, Cesar Ramos, and Juan Cruz have all conspired to make many fans and experts look like fools for thinking that the loss of EVERYBODY from last year’s ‘pen was going to be the beginning of the Rays’ demise before the season saw its first pitch.

Ha!

Instead, this group of guys has rarely had a bad outing and is among the league leaders in Bullpen ERA. 

LINEUP

I can’t say that the Rays lineup has been the murderer’s row it has been the last few season.  But they ain’t that bad.

And, bear in mind, that they have played almost the entire season without the services of the best 3rd baseman in the league: Evan Longoria!  Even when he has been in the lineup, he hasn’t been himself.  At last check, he was hitting just .220 with only a couple of dingers.  He is NOT himself right now.

But the Rays keep winning.

I won’t talk about the joke of a baseball player who quit on himself, his fans, his team, and his sport in the early stages of the year.

Instead, I’ll mention the work done by guys like Elliot Johnson, Johnny Damon, Casey Kotchman, Matt Joyce, and “Super” Sam Fuld.  Each one has had a huge hit this season at one point or another, and the Rays would not have their 25 win total without any one of those guys. 

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I do not know what the rest of the season holds. 

Who knows?  We all might be blogging with some sort of holographic device before October hits.

What I do know is that these Tampa Bay Rays have laid it all on the line so far, and there is no indication their success will end any time soon.

Wow, what a season!

Predictions Today; OD Tomorrow

The kid is taking a post-bottle nap.  So I’m sneaking away to throw out some thoughts on what could happen in 2011.

I’m no expert, nor am I all that thorough with my research.

Who cares?  It’s fun. 

NL East

Phillies                 Nobody’s better in the NL.  Their “Four Horsemen” rotation scared the bejesus out of people.  They are the best in this division and maybe even baseball.

Braves                  They have some solid young talent on this team.  I love the direction Freddie Rodriguez has them going.  They’ll contend for the division this year and maybe even win very soon.

Marlins                Josh Johnson will win the Cy Young and the Marlins will see what they have with some of the young guys on their team.  They’ll be strong when their new stadium opens.  Of course, that ain’t this year.

Nationals            I like this team.  Of course, they are still bad.

Mets                    Nope, nothing to root for here.  RA Dickey is decent, but that’s about all I can think of as being positive here.  Maybe I’ll be wrong.

 

NL Central

Brewers               Tjhey are not a surprising team.  But they are good.  And when Greinke gets healthy, their pitching will really help them along.

Reds                      I don’t know if I really believe in these guys, but their pitchers are electrifying. And Drew Stubbs is awesome.  Did I mention Joey Votto?

Cardinals             It’s hard to pick against these guys, but I’m not that jazzed about them.  They should have a solid offense but losing Wainwright won’t help at all.

Cubs                     UgIh.  That sums it up.  I love the Cubbies but they do not have any kind of identity right now.  What is their direction?  Youth?  Veterans?  It will be a forgettable 2011.

Astros                  Don’t know a ton about them.  That’s because there ain’t much to know.

Pirates                When will that youth break through?  Neil Walker, Andrew Mccutcheon, Pedro Alvarez.  Wow!  Pitching…not wow…

 

NL West

Giants         These guys have the pitching and the offense.  Plus, I fear the Beard.  End…        

Padres         They have a great mix on this team.  Their pitching is strong, though they are all holding their breath in SD over the Latos injury.  They’ll be right there.

Rockies                I don’t know, but they slipped for this year.  Cargo is great (he better be, he’s on my fantasy team) but the pitching is just ok.

Dodgers              Don Mattingly will help, but they have a long way to go in LA.  2011 will be a long season.

Diamondbacks          Kirk Gibson is the right guy there.  But I don’t feel that they have a strong idea of how to rebuild this thing.

 

AL East

Red Sox               Ugh, I know.  They’re good.  That’s what happens when you spend a bajillion dollars.  Regardless, they are not just good.  They are VERY good. 

Rays       I don’t think it is crazy.  The Rays are always prepared to lose talent.  And boy did they lose it.  They planned for this, though.  And they’ll be fine.              

Yankees     It will be the biggest flop in recent Yankees memory.  You gotta have pitching to win.  They ain’t got it.

Orioles           I don’t think it is crazy to think that these guys could contend.  And soon.       

Blue Jays        Bautista will not repeat his 2010 output and Hill and Lind better get it together if the Jays plan to have a future.    

AL Central

Tigers              What a strong team!  Wow!  They have tons of firepower, a strong pen, and good rotation.  They’ll be there.    

White Sox           Adam Dunn really helps make this offense elite.  Their rotation is suspect but their pen is amazing.

Twins                   Mauer and Morneau have been dinged up lately.  As they go, so go to the Twins. 

Indians                Grady Sizemore sums up this team: lots of promise, but they don’t reach it.

Royals           I LOVE the Royals.  I could totally be a Royals fan.  But when will the potential turn into some darn W’s!!?        

 

AL West

Rangers               This is a three horse race.  They should be the fastest horse out of the gate.  But it won’t be easy!

A’s       They have a decent staff, a decent offense, and a decent mix.  Why will they be there in the end?  I don’t know…

Angels                 Can’t count them out.  Ever. 

Mariners             I can count them out.  At least now, anyway.  They have alot of rookies who will be auditioning for a job next year.  That can be really exciting.  As a Devil Rays fan of the day, I know what I’m talking about…

                             

PLAYOFFS

NLDS

East Winner: Phillies

Vs                                         Winner: Phillies 3-2

Wildcard: Padres

West Winner: Giants

Vs                                         Winner: Giants 3-0

Central Winner: Brewers

 

NLCS

Phillies

Vs                                         Winner: Phillies 4-3

Giants

 

ALDS

East Winner: Red Sox

Vs                                         Winner: Tigers 3-2

Central Winner: Tigers

West Winner: Rangers

Vs                                         Winner: Rangers 3-2

Wildcard: Rays

 

ALCS

Yankees

Vs                                         Winner: Tigers 4-2

Rays

 

WORLD SERIES

Tigers

Vs

Phillies

 

WORLD CHAMPION

Philadelphia Phillies 4-2

 

Well, that was fun. 

 

I’m not going out on a limb to say that the Phils will take home the trophy this year.  And, as we all know, anything can happen in our favorite game.

 

Let’s play some baseball!

 

Not Really in the Spring Swing

I’ll admit that I am not entirely happy about the Rays start so far this spring.

1 Win

4 Losses

1 Tie

That ain’t exactly a baseball beginning to howl about. 

I understand that it is spring and that teams are not working hard to win games.  They are simply trying to “get their work in,” as the saying goes.

I get it.

But if both teams are not trying to win, and if both teams are just getting work in, then why is it that the Rays seem to be on the losing end of 4 out of 6 games? 

This offseason is one of the most memorable in the history of the Rays franchise.  They brought in prime time players (maybe PAST prime time players…) and lost parts of the playoff foundation.  Heck, they lost major parts of the franchise’s heart, but that’s another rant…

I think that I–along with most Rays fans–were hoping for some kind of explosive start to the spring that would take away the hurt of losing guys like Carl Crawford, Carlos Pena, and Matt Garza. 

It hasn’t happened.

But that’s ok. 

Baseball’s back, right?  Spring has begun.  Plenty to whine about.  Plenty to cheer about.  Plenty to write about.

It feels good to feel bad!

My Son

I know this isn’t totally baseball related, but I have to do this.

His name is Robbie.  He was born on the 15th of December (sorry it took so long to post). 

We are very blessed to have him.  Life is simply amazing.

He is healthy and happy.  Mom and dad are very tired…

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I really want to talk a little bit about the possiblity of the Rays adding Manny and Johnny, but right now fatigue is taking over. 

Thanks to all who sent a note of congrats and concern.  It means a great deal. 

It’s funny, but somehow baseball has taken on even more meaning!  I look forward to his first Rays game this summer…

How old do they have to be before they can start swinging a bat!?  Ha!

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