Rays Diary 8/26/15           LONGORIA STRIKES BACK!

     I was watching the Rays tonight as Minnesota combined a few legitimate base hits with a whole lot of good luck and a few shoddy plays by our defense into a victory by the Twins.  Trying to think of the “bright side” of a clearly mediocre season, I was mulling over the Rays admittedly improved offense.  Despite mediocre offensive coaching and a philosophy that generally disdains trying for a run here or there even in close games, simply abandoning the vacuous non hitting philosophy of Derek Shelton and various (baseball) illiterate corporate “suits” in the Rays organization has bolstered hitting significantly.  Early in the game, while I was shouting at the television: “Evan, shorten your stride so you don’t end up swinging with all your weight on one leg!”  I was sick of seeing one of the most “God given” talented power hitters turned into a “warning track” hitter.  And, sure enough, he took one giant stride, almost falling off of his feet as he so often does, and still managed to double off the wall in center!

     Happy for the double, but disappointed that it was not a homerun, I settled in to watch poor Chris Archer fall victim, mostly, to bad luck.  But, something happened later in the game that gives me hope for next year when, hopefully, the Rays pitching staff is no longer decimated by an unbelievable string of injuries and batters are coached by professional baseball people instead of corporate suits.  Miraculously, Evan Longoria took a short stride and with a compact swing and effortlessly sky rocketed the ball deep into the stands!  Anybody, even Derek Shelton and the vacuous corporate suits, even Evan himself, only has to look at the difference between all those long strided, off balanced swings with him almost falling down even when he hit the ball and the effortless homerun power and balance when he shortens his stride.  He is talented enough to  overcome the hitch and the loop and the uppercut swing, but not the unathletic, unbalanced stance and awkward long stride leading to a “one legged,” warning track power swing.”

     I defy any of the wannabe “experts” to watch films of Evan’s swing and not see the difference the shorter stride that he too seldomly applies makes in the quality of his swing.

Al Finkelstein,  8/26/15