Rain Postpones Game 5, Forces Rays to Switch Hotels and Move to Delaware

There are a lot of people whose shoes I would not like to be occupying at this time. The list pretty much starts and ends with the big wigs making the decisions behind the scheduling of the MLB playoffs, e.g. the executives at FOX and the executives of MLB. They already started one World Series game at 10pm Eastern Time over the weekend, all but eliminating the young fan base, and now they’re being jammed up by the weather in Philadelphia. There might be some things I would have done differently, but there’s no question that they have tough decisions to make and no clear solutions. Additionally, two people whose jobs are less than enviable at this moment are the travel directors for both the Phillies and the Rays.

As ESPN was going into its 3rd hour of “live from the dugout weather report” following Monday Night Football, several contributors mentioned that the Rays had to switch hotels and move to Wilmington, Delaware. The team had anticipated that Game 5 would be played Monday night and that the Rays would be returning to Tampa win or lose, so they had checked out of their Philadelphia-area hotel. Having the game postponed by rain meant the team would have to spend at least an extra night in the city. The hotel they had been staying at already sold out the rooms they had been occupying, so according to several ESPN commentators, the Rays had to move hotels to one in Wilmington. Unfortunately after phone calls to several Wilmington-area hotels, I was unable to confirm these reports. Either that, or the woman at the Marriott who said she couldn’t tell me if an entire group was there but could tell me if individuals were checked in was trying to hint at something. Too bad I didn’t have the Rays’ hotel aliases handy.

New Rays T-Shirt Proclaims Dominance Over Boston Red Sox

Not to get ahead of themselves or anything … but …

It takes a lotta balls — or mohawks — to put together a t-shirt proclaiming something so bold. And you know, the Rays made me look bad for making them my W.S. pick after the Divisional round was completed. Everything they did well against the White Sox they failed to do against Boston — play solid defense and get clutch hits. They had Dice-K on the ropes and couldn’t come through, and Crawford misplayed that ball in left field. I have a feeling they have a ways to go before they can go around making such claims. Thanks to Home Run Derby who discovered the shirts at the Rays online shop, and Ballhype as well.

Female Rays Fans Now Getting Bikini Waxes to Show Their Mohawk Support

I’ve never been much of a mohawk fan, going back to the 90s when it was making a bit of a run. That aside, I’m a fan of team-building activities. I was on a squad where we all bleached our hair for camaraderie — it’s part of the fun — so I understand the Rays getting mohawks to build team spirit. Even the fans of the team started getting into it, showing up to games with new haircuts. While the mohawk is easy for the male fans to show their support, it’s tougher for the female fans. Until now. Via Deadspin and Tampa Bay 10:

It’s the second most popular style to sweep the Rays craze.

A bikini wax. Mohawk-style.

Michelle Foster of Skin Deep Spatique in St. Petersburg says she was inspired by her son’s Mohawk, “I stopped and thought about it a minute, and thought, well now everyone can have one!”

For $30, women are walking in to Skin Deep Spatique and requesting this popular style. They call it, “the special”.

When all is said and done, women are left with a female Rayhawk.

Not so sure TBS will have any crowd shots of these puppies. Judging by some of the talent at the Trop, I’m not so sure that’s a bad thing. Either way, that’s gotta be one heck of an ice breaker between fans at the game.

In Praise of the Amazing Tampa Bay Rays

It’s early, there’s still plenty of time to collapse, the Yankees and Red Sox will catch em. Heck, even the Blue Jays will pass them up. They’re hot right now, we’ll see how long it lasts. I probably said those words, or at least thought them, several times during the course of the year. Well, it’s late September, football season is in full swing, and the effing Rays just clinched their first ever spot in the postseason. From worst to first. From joke to legit. The Tampa Bay Rays started off strongly and didn’t let down. They went head up with the Red Sox several times down the stretch and prevailed. They absolutely earned their spot in the playoffs, and they’ll be a dangerous team, too. So how did they do it? How was their turnaround possible?

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Scott Kazmir Calls Out Rays Fans

I was watching Jim Rome Is Burning Thursday and noticed a familiar guest on the program — Rays pitcher Scott Kazmir — a guy who has been on Jim’s show the last few years. Thing is, every time in the past that Kazmir’s been on, it was early in the year before the Rays were a non-factor in the standings. This time around, it’s a different story; Kazmir’s just as good as he’s always been, but the Rays are one of the best teams in baseball. That’s why when asked about the lack of attendance at home games, Kazmir did not stop himself from calling out Rays fans who should be supporting the team. Kazmir said:

It’s kind of disappointing I guess you could say, coming back home from a road trip and you see maybe 9, 10 thousand fans at the games when we’re in first place and at one time the best record in baseball. It seemed like every home stand there was some type of excuse of why we didn’t get our fans here. If we really had a good fan base that cared about baseball and was a good baseball town, I think they would come out and support us. From what we’re doing right now I think it’s pretty special and I think it would be nice to have that 10th man out there to support us when we get home.

That quote is actually a condensed version of what Kazmir actually told Rome (I didn’t have my DVR to pause and transcribe at work, so I snagged the version SportsCenter played at night). Kazmir went into more detail about the excuses fans had for not showing up. Point is, Kazmir’s right — they should have more fans showing up at their games considering how well they’re playing. If it were May or June, I could understand fans still questioning the legitimacy of the run and being hesitant to show up. But now it’s almost September and there’s no doubt that the Rays are for real. By now the fans should have awakened. At the same time, I jumped on Rockies fans for becoming bandwagoners last year when the Rox got hot. In the end, I suppose it’s much better to have bandwagon fans who at least show up late to the party than to have nobody there at all.

Thing is, if those fans need some baseball tickets, all they have to do is go to Ticket Solutions. They can easily hook up Tampa Bay Rays tickets for anyone interested in jumping on the bandwagon, which I would highly encourage.

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.

History Is Made: Player Chooses Tampa Bay Rays over NY Yankees

Yes, a headline that will literally make you do a double take. In case there was ever a question, Troy Percival most certainly is not in it to win it. The man already has a ring from his days with the ’02 Angels and apparently he’s not looking to get his other fingers fitted. The recently retired closer who made a comeback mid-season last year, has reportedly spurned the Yankees for perennial AL East cellar-dweller, the Rays (doesn’t feel the same not being able to say Devil anymore). Much more than winning and making the playoffs, it seems like ego is the biggest factor at hand for Percy.

Troy Percival is signing a two-year deal worth $8 million, and possibly up to $10 million with escalators, according to Ken Rosenthal. The decision by Percy “reunites” him with former Angels bench coach, and current Rays manager, Joe Maddon. No doubt that was a key factor for the man. Most importantly, Rosenthal says Percival chose the Rays because they are going to let him close, while the Yanks were asking him to setup for Rivera. Alright Troy, as the first known man to spurn the Yanks in favor of the Rays, I have to guess two factors are at play: ego, and, well, I guess ego. We’ll see how Troy does, considering Al Reyes was pretty damn effective last year. Think he’ll be regretting his decision when he’s trying to get out Jeter, A-Rod, and Matsui next year? Yeah, that’s what I thought.