Letter to TB Times Sports Writer Tom Jones

(Sent to Mr. Jones in Response to his 10/4/12 Article, entitled:"Rays May Need to Make Radical Changes to Continue Success")


Mr. Jones, I appreciate and completely agree with your article in yesterday’s Tampa Bay Times.  Unfortunately, it brings to mind Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn’s excellent argument that the national debt can be addressed by simply cutting unnecessary government spending and unfair tax loopholes.  Mr. Coburn’s argument made so much sense, however he forgot to answer the big question: “Without increasing taxes, how can we possibly find the trillions of dollars needed to keep feeding the greedy lobbies?”  The only question your excellent article forgets to address is: “How many home runs do the Rays have to hit in every game to make up for Joe Maddon’s apparent refusal to manage?”   Virtually every one of the twelve victories in the last fourteen games was a result of multiple home runs!  Joe spent the entire season sitting in the dugout on his keister waiting for light hitting “replacement” players and “part timers” to win games with multiple home runs and “big” hits.  It was as if advancing runners and earning runs the “hard way” were beneath his dignity

My grandmother could could have come up with a better effort than that!  Punishing Jeff Keppinger for bunting to advance runners from first and second to second and third with no outs is the mark of a fundamentally confused and possibly deranged “baseball” person.  Not chastising the next “loser” for not even trying to hit the ball on the ground toward first base to score a go-ahead or even a winning run from third is absurd, and repeating the procedure some hundred and fifty times during the season is incompetent and way beyond rational discussion!  Buck Showalter, Joe Girardi, Terry Francona, maybe even Jim Leyland (well, maybe not Leyland) would gladly have “lowered themselves” to the “embarrassing” position of scratching out or manufacturing a run late in a contest to win the damn game!  How can I be so certain of this?  All of these guys have proudly used these tactics to win multiple games against us in the last two years- games in which Joe refused to do so!

The way you lose scores of one run games, a dozen or more shutouts in one season and four 1-0 games in one month is by refusing to advance runners as a matter of policy!  With all the excuses and all the bitching and moaning about injuries (fewer than the Yankees),  the reason the Rays failed to make the playoffs, despite the best pitching in the history of modern baseball, is incompetent managing!  Meanwhile, the greatest unanswered question is: “Why would someone as intelligent and baseball savvy as Joe Maddon manage to the level of his personal choice for batting coach, Mr. Peter Principle?”

Al Finkelstein,  10/5/12