Tough to watch the All-Star Game when Justin Verlander starts and allows 5 runs in the first inning to put the American League in a big early hole. But a couple of highlights were the performances of Price and Rodney. David Price took the mound in the third inning and needed just 7 pitches to toss a 1-2-3 inning. Maybe if Price does that to begin the game, the entire game changes. Or maybe it doesn’t. In any event, DP was a little nervous out there.
Yeah, Price actually tweeted that right after he pitched as MLB allowed players to tweet during the game for a change. Here’s a picture of Price tweeting.
Fernando Rodney tossed the 9th in what was extremely far from a save situation, down 8-0, but he did the Rays proud as well, tossing a 12-pitch perfect inning with 3 groundouts. Two pitchers, Verlander and the Rangers’ Matt Harrison, allowed all the runs in the game, and the AL managed just 6 hits. Come on guys! Put the entire Rays team in there and they at least get 1 run! Maybe next year (probably not).
Not all of baseball was happy with the Rays on Tuesday. Commissioner Bud Selig and union chief Michael Weiner talked about the Rays’ attention, as quoted by Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. First, Selig.
"“What I’ve said to you in the past, I’ll say to you again, and I’ve said this to Stu quite a bit. I’ve been through a lot of these things over the last 20 years, actually the last 40 years, and I understand that, but, look, they’ve run a great operation, they’re a very competitive organization, they have very competitive teams. As I study the attendance every day, looking where they are, to see that they’re No. 29, I think it is, in attendance is not, is, it’s inexcusable. Nobody can defend that.“This is a very competitive baseball team. I know they’ve had a lot of injuries, so on and so forth, and they’ve missing Longoria and all that is true. But the average major-league attendance is between 31,000 and 32,000 and if my memory is serving me well this morning, it’s about 19,000 something, Tampa’s attendance. Now if they were a club in last place every year the last five years you’d say, well, look, after all, you are what you are and you’ve got to do better.“It’s disappointing. And I know that people down there, some people, will be offended. Not the fans, not the people who go every day and I know they have great intensity, the people there. As all of you know, I watch a lot of games every day, sometimes all 15 of them, and I pay great attention not only to what’s happening on the field, but to the attendance.“So to use my father’s old line, nothing is ever good or bad except by comparison. I’ll rest my case. It’s disappointing. And I’m concerned.”"
You never want to hear your team talked about like that, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing. The Rays need a new stadium to combat these attendance issues and the more unrest there is with the commissioner’s office, the more that process may be facilitated. Here’s what Weiner had to say.
"“We want every team to be successful. Not every team can win the World Series every year or win the division, but we want every team to be successful both on the field and on the bottom line. We may have our differences with some of the methods that Tampa employs as far as union versus management, but you have to have respect for what they’ve done with a consistently competitive team they have put on the field and the way they’ve gone about doing their business. And I know that some of the players understandably have expressed some frustration. They enjoy playing there, they enjoy playing for Joe (Maddon), they enjoy playing with their teammates and they competition of playing in the American League East. They’ve never run from it, which to their credit is a reflection of leadership. .. But in the end they have a contract with the Tampa Bay Rays, they play in a certain facility, they play in a certain location, metropolitan area, and those guys are going to play as hard as they can.”"
The Rays are a small market team. But they don’t complain. They don’t say “we’re not going to win because you’re not coming to the ballpark.” They just do whatever they need to do to put together contending teams and somehow every year it all works out. That’s a different experience than so many others in baseball. We wish the Rays had a bigger payroll and could the bigger sign free agents, at least occasionally, but because of the circumstances surrounding their team, they have to operate the way they operate. And it works. Is it the ideal? No. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But we hope that while the uncertainty persists in the public eye, things are happening behind the scenes and eventually circumstances will improve.
A couple other news items: Jeff Salazar, who looked like he made the Rays out of spring training, has been released from the organization per a tweet from the Durham Bulls, and Taylor Guerrieri had a good day at the golf course.