Rays Diary 6/4/14             “Say It Ain’t So”

Deepest sympathy to the Zimmer Family on the death of one of the finest human beings to have played and taught the game of baseball as well as the “game” of life.  Like Dewayne Staats, I too have followed Zim throughout every phase of his career ever since 1950 when I watched my first Dodger baseball game.  Don’t worry Dewayne, Zim’s up there finding out exactly where he can find a job that lets him do both play by play and commentary on Rays games for those not lucky enough to see you and Brian do the telecasts or hear Dave and Andy do the radio broadcasts.

As for the game tonight, I knew we were already in trouble yesterday when Joe actually said that the problem with the offense was that the Rays weren’t hitting homeruns.  Well, after a couple of homers in the first inning, Joe continued, as is his habit, to pray for more homeruns.  You see, praying is so much easier than managing!  And, being paid to pray...well that’s as easy as it gets!  The next time around, with no outs and a man on first, no attempt is made to advance the runner.  Evan tries hopelessly, as he usually does, to hit a strike three breaking ball from behind the batter’s box and eventually a Rays signature double play erases still another ugly inning.  In the fourth inning, with no outs and men on first and second, again no attempt is made to advance the runners and to no ones surprise: no runs, just another signature double play!

The ninth inning illustrates why the Rays will not come back this year, even with superior pitching and bats back to “normal.”  With men on second and third, all I’m asking is for is a bouncer to first to score a run, then another bouncer to first to score another run.  It’s called baseball, for crying out loud!  When Molina walks, it’s a gift!  A grounder to first and the first run scores.  Zobrist hits a high hopper to first for the second and tying run, but no!  Foley and Maddon and Peter Principle Shelton never planned on scoring that way.  For the hundredth time Foley was napping and Maddon and Shelton were conversing with their computers.  No one remembered to tell Kiermeier to take a lead as far off the bag as the third baseman was or to run on the ground ball so he’s still at third!  It had been so long since that actual offensive coaching or management strategy been purposely employed that they had all forgotten how to do it.

The problem with the Rays is not a new one.  Pitching won’t cure it and trading for different players won’t cure it.  As long as the Rays fail to admit to their offensive problems and fail to address them, they will continue to deteriorate.  If Mr. Maddon, Mr. Shelton and even Mr. Foley can’t even stay awake through an entire game, let alone teach anything, then maybe it’s time to send them to a retirement home and retire their amateur/wannabe philosophy of hitting along with them.  In sixty four years of watching baseball and even playing pretty decently, I can swear that I have never seen a more incompetent job of field managing than that of Mr. Maddon and his cohorts.  Before any ignorant or cowardly apologists care to argue the point, let me warn you: if you do your homework, I believe there will be no argument...   I truly welcome anyone else who wishes to disagree with me, because I really wish the things I have said were not actually true.

Al Finkelstein (O’finky)  6/4/14