Steppin’ In The Bucket

June 19, 2009

Dear Mr. Maddon,


As a long suffering Rays fan, I have watched hitters like Carlos Pena and BJ Upton struggle at the plate. I have had the opportunity, on several occasions, to sit only a few rows up right behind home plate. I have watched them closely on television, as well.


Pena, with his long swing, may never hit for a very high average, but should always be good for 30-40 homeruns per year. However, he will continue to struggle for average and strike out 150-200 times a year, if he does not address two problems. One, is the fact that he stands too far from the outside part of the plate- where most pitchers now pitch him. More importantly, however, he has fallen into the same habit that he did last year. Carlos, when he is hitting poorly, tends to lean into the plate before trying to set his back leg, thus flailing with his arms at any pitch toward the outside part of home plate. In other words, he ends up pivoting on the front (wrong) leg.


BJ Upton was doing the same thing earlier in the year, apparently trying to purposely hit the ball “the other way” instead of concentrating on “hitting it where it is pitched.” He is a “natural hitter” who has great power and does not belong in the leadoff spot. His average would rise at least 30-40 pts (like Crawford) simply by placing him later in the lineup.


Jason Bartlett, the rightful leadoff hitter, has been mired for a year and a half in the 7th, 8th or 9th position in the lineup. Hitting over .350 since last year’s All Star Break, he and the Rays have been “cheated” out of more than one hundred extra at-bats and 30-40 hits and who knows how many runs?


Please consider these observations, even if you do not agree with them. And, please choose Bartlett and Zobrist for the All Star Team.


Yours truly,


Allen Finkelstein, D.O.