Rays Diary 6/3/14     Message to Stuart Sternberg, Matt Silverman, Andrew Friedman

No surprise, Rays lost the game tonight in the second inning.  With runners on first and second and no outs and Joe’s third, fourth and fifth batters in the lineup forbidden to advance runners, Evan’s strikeout was almost a foregone conclusion.  So too was the subsequent signature double play, favorite strategy of Rays current management.  The team’s questionable “brain trust” of Maddon and Shelton seem to have added a new twist to the “Peter Principle.”  While Professor Peter noted that individuals most often reach their “level of incompetence,” Rays management’s plan seems to be to have otherwise skilled players reach Manager Maddon’s and “coach” Shelton’s level of incompetence.  In other words, he two field managing geniuses will be satisfied when, like them, every hitter on the Rays is unable to hit even the most mediocre breaking pitch.

Eventually, every Rays hitter will be taught to retreat further and further toward the very back of the batter’s box where it is impossible to hit or even recognize a second rate breaking ball.  Meanwhile, without the benefit of professional coaching, with the substitution of ignorant technicians desperately asking computers: “What the hell do we do now? “  Players will not watch “films” of opposing pitchers to see which areas of the plate they continually frequent or how often they throw which pitches and in what situations.  They will not see how other successful hitters solve the opposing pitchers.

Sadly, the Rays seem to lack “teachers,” the mark of the new breed of coaches so evident in the American League.  They can’t seem to teach bunting or hitting the ball where it’s pitched or even how to dribble a ball toward first base to score a man from third or at least advance a runner.  Sorry, vainly trying to steal bases with non base stealers is no substitute for teaching players how to bunt or hit to the right side and playing childish computer games, Mr. Sternberg, Mr. Silverman, and Mr. Friedman, may help, but it will never be a substitute for actual management, coaching and scouting.  Regretfully, the honeymoon is drawing to a close and the really excellent business and community skills that you have exhibited will now have to be augmented with some of the coaching and management skills that have been lacking on the field over the past 5-6 years since the team reached the World Series.

Al Finkelstein (O’finky)  6/3/14