Caller Suggests James Shields Is Rays’ Game 2 Starter Because He Is Jewish

After being in the sports radio business for the past nine years, things said by callers generally don’t surprise me. Having said that, the clip I heard today via Jimmy Traina’s Hot Clicks had me flipping out. Some lady on Steve Duemig’s show on WDAE in Tampa suggested that the Rays starting James Shields in Game 2 of the ALDS is a Jewish conspiracy. No joke.

The decision to start Shields in Game 2 is quite surprising. David Price is a Cy Young candidate and the team’s Game 1 starter. Many people would have expected Matt Garza to start Game 2 for the Rays because of his playoff experience and success this season, but manager Joe Maddon is giving Shields the nod. Shields pitched well twice against the Red Sox in the ALCS in 2008 and beat the Phillies in the World Series, but he’s been hit hard this year, particularly towards the end of the season.

I could understand the argument that Shields is one of the team’s veteran leaders and that’s why he’s getting the start. The suggestion that his Jewish background is the reason he’s getting the start is incomprehensible. The show’s host, Steve Duemig, thought the female caller was joking when she made the suggestion. As he told me, and as you can hear in the audio clip (listen here), he gave her every possible out to say she was joking. After continuously questioning the lady, it was determined she was completely serious.

The oddest part of the whole situation is that Shields isn’t even Jewish! Duemig said that in his 20 years in sports radio, Quaker Lady was probably number two on the list of craziest calls he’s received. Frankly, it’s hard to believe she wasn’t number one. Something tells me it was Rick Sanchez disguised as a random lady making the call.

Brilliant Photo Credit: Jason Collette via Draysbay

James Shields Has a Mean Hook

OK, first of all, when did the player formerly known as Jamie Shields become James? Nevermind. What is important, however, is that not only does Shields have a wicked breaking ball on the hill, but apparently it serves a dual (duel?) purpose. Check out the hook he unloaded on Coco Crisp in the 2nd inning of the Rays/Red Sox game Thursday:

If I were Shields, I’m not so sure I would’ve gone off speed on the haymaker. Probably would have been a good idea to stick with the straight, hard stuff. Also, you notice Jhonny Gomes and Carl Crawford getting in some punches on Coco? Gomes went flying in and used all his golden sombrero frustration to unload some good shots. Best part of the whole thing was Dioner Navarro’s take down of Crisp. Now that was just textbook form. I’m still trying to figure out who started the pile on the third base side of the field, the one where Shields was taken down. Which Red Sox player got him?

And if you’re not sure what gave impetus to the fracas, The Sporting Blog has your back.