Prior the the 2008 baseball season, the baseball team from Tampa Bay was called the Devil Rays. They were perennial basement dwellers in the American League East losing 100 games three times and losing at least 90 games every year. I was always under the impression that the team dropped the “Devil” from their name in an attempt to appease a God fearing portion of their fan-base. The ownership claimed that the change was born of how terrible the Devil Rays were for the first ten years of their existence.
Since the name change, the Rays have posted three straight winning seasons and even managed to claw their way to a world series. They have a great minor league system, a great pitching staff and arguably the best third basement in baseball. The team was the best in baseball for the majority of the previous baseball season, but no one shows up to watch them. The two best players on the team even called out the fans.
The Tampa Bay Rays have a terrible stadium and unsupportive fans. If any state should have their baseball teams taken from them it should be Florida. I don’t even think the 10,000 people that show up to their games would notice. I am fairly certain that the majority of people in the stands are transplanted New Yorkers who show up when the Yankees are in town.
The Rays hosted the Phillies today at Charlotte Sports Park sending James Shields to the hill to oppose Roy Oswalt.
Oswalt went three innings surrendering four hits and three runs. He exited early due to this. Seriously? Manny Ramirez is probably the best right handed hitter that I have ever seen, but he is a fucking clown. Oswalt is fine, mostly because he is a hard ass, but Manny represents some elements in today’s baseball that are truly upsetting.
James Shields effectively shut down the Phillies offense including newly acquired second baseman Luis Castillo who was 0-4 with four men left on base. Charlie commented on the fact that Castillo is not quite the fat ass that he has been in recent seasons. Shields went seven shut-out innings yielding only four hits continuing his strong spring and lowering his ERA to 1.88.
There were essentially no offensive positives from today’s game. The Phils managed to avoid the shut out with an Erik Kratz RBI single in the ninth inning. The biggest positive from today was the fact that Roy Oswalt left the field under his own power and the x-rays performed on his head were negative.
Next up the Phillies come back to Bright House Field to take on the Twins tomorrow at 1:05.