Saturday, May 20, 2017

What is the trouble with Tampa?

Born in 1998, the Tampa Devil Rays consistently finished last in the AL East, with one exception - 2004, when manager Lou Piniella coaxed an emerging lineup of Carl Crawford, Rocco Baldelli and Aubrey Huff - into 4th. The city rejoiced. 

In 2008, the franchise owners deleted the word "Devil" from the team's name, succumbing to backwoods Florida stupidity and satisfying Jesus. For the next six years, this evangelical juju worked. The newly blessed Rays reached the postseason four times, even making the World Series (where they were torched 4-to-1 by an even more cursed team - the Phillies.)

In 2014, the spark died. Tampa started losing again. They have done so ever since. The neatest way to sum up Rays history is to ponder the team's three retired jerseys - Wade Boggs, Don Zimmer and Jackie Robinson. Of this Holy Trinity, only Boggs ever swung a bat in a Tampa uniform, and that came at ages 40 and 41.

Throughout Tampa history, one other consistent theme has emerged: Pure, hate-filled jealousy of the Yankees. Rays management resents the local Yankee presence - spring training, radio broadcasts, sightings of Derek Jeter - the whole Pinstriped traditions. When the Yankees come to town, every night is the Army-Navy game - every meeting is that pressure point in the confrontation where the mouthy little pug takes a roundhouse swing at the bouncer.

Last night, Tampa connected. 

Listen: I don't blame the people of Tampa for hating the Yankees, or - for that matter - life itself. Everybody famous from Tampa came there from somewhere else. (Salvador Dali? Dale Chihuli? The retired jerseys?) They play in one of the last monstrosities of a bad historical experiment - domed baseball parks. Their blaring sound effects offend the thinking fan. Last night, some fog-horn voiced asshole - did he have a megaphone - never once stopped shouting below the YES mics, driving me to turn down the sound. (I would have listened to The Master, except I can never sync the two feeds; the radio part is always 30 seconds ahead.) 

This season, we are now 4-3 against the Rays. If the 2017 Yankees are true contenders, and not just a mirage, we need to beat the Rays like a filthy rug.

Last night, we lost a completely winnable game.

I am not going to scream about how we did this, or why Gary Sanchez didn't pinch hit in the ninth. (Frankly, I think it was cool to show confidence in Austin Romine.) Next up is Tanaka. It's a long season. All is groovy. No cause for alarm. 

But we will learn who we are by how we play Tampa. And last night, we didn't play them very well.


DutchFan said...

It was a winnable game. I know this because I was listening to the Master in the very early hours of Saturday and he said so. Even better, he predicted baseball.

When Longoria was on deck, he started about better throwing to Kiermeyer because Longoria already was 3 for 4 and he will definitely kill the Yankees.
Longoria he reiterated after the 3-0 to Kiermeyer, is a Yankees killer.
"Suzyn, he kills the Yankees, always, every time".
"You know, I would never, never, never, never ever let them pitch to Longoria".
"He is a Yankees killer".

One wonders why not use Betances a little earlier in the came when the heart of the line-up is due.

And yes, I hate it too that it is impossible to sink audio and video.

DutchFan said...

Hope you enjoy:

12 minutes of (hardly) edited footage from within Feyenoord Stadium. 5-14, championship match

JJ in MA said...

They looked flat all night. Tired maybe from the flight. It hardly makes for riveting television, and bummer it had to happen on a night the Orioles won, but like you say, long season. These evenings are bound to take place.

Don't really like the 4-6 trend on the last 10 games though. May has definitely been a return to ground after the April start.

And thanks DutchFan for the Feyenoord footage. I've spent some significant time in your beautiful country over the last nine years and it's always a thrill to get a sense of what's going on over there. Congrats on not electing your own Trump as well.

Ken of Brooklyn said...

Hats off to DutchFan, you are 10000% correct, The Master literally predicted the outcome of last nights game. And yes, maybe bringing in Betances early saves this thing,,,, we'll never know.
I blame this subpar week on my return to Brooklyn from Rome, they won EVERYTHING the month that I was there, LOL!

Anonymous said...



Wezil1 said...

We never did with that fat F#%k Ortiz, so I doubt we will with Longoria, who I begrudgingly like. All those years screaming at the TV when they would plunk Jeter we never retaliated by even brushing back the giant pin cushion DH, never mind hitting him. He practically brought a LazyBoy to the plate he made himself so comfortable.

Anonymous said...


Trebor said...

Fyi, MLB.TV actually allows you to select the WFAN audio to sync with the YES (or any other) video feed, and they are almost perfectly synced. I havent had to miss seeing a single at bat or listen to Michael Kay all season!