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An Amazing Butt Shimmy Can’t Save Your Job

by November 30, 1999 @ 12:00 am (Category : Uncategorized )

Nov 18th 2008 1:03PM by Tom Fornelli (author feed)
The Tampa Bay Rays rose to prominence this past baseball season and reached the World Series before their year ended on a sour note by losing to the Philadelphia Phillies, but as it turns out, it won’t be just Rays players and fans who finish the year with a bitter taste in their mouths. For poor Kelly Frank, the end of the World Series wasn’t just the end of her dream of seeing the Rays win the World Series, it was also the end of her being able to call herself employed.

Now the name Kelly Frank probably doesn’t ring a bell for you, but that’s because you know her better by her stage name. She goes by the name Raymond, and she really knows how to shake her moneymaker, though the Rays recently told her she won’t be shaking it for them again anytime soon.
Performer Kelly Frank, the woman who perfected Raymond’s trademark butt shimmy, said she does not know why she was fired Monday after five seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays.

“I’m just as confused as everyone else,” she said. “I really didn’t get an explanation.”Not only did Kelly not get an explanation for her dismissal, but she’s more confused than ever after being told by the organization that she “out-enthused” the Phillie Phanatic during the World Series. Fear not for Ms. Frank, though, as she’ll continue to create mascot costumes for other teams like the Florida Gators and Denver Nuggets.

If there’s any good news to come out of this, it’s that all those male Rays fans who secretly found themselves turned on by Raymond’s Butt Shimmy can take comfort knowing that it was a woman inside that costume.

Tampa Bay Connection: Lou Pinella and Joe Maddon Named Managers of the Year

by @ 12:00 am (Category : Uncategorized )

Nov 12th 2008 2:25PM by Matt Snyder (author feed)
Much like the Cubs and Rays Rookies of the Year, the two teams took the Manager of the Year honor in each respective league with very little question. The only realistic candidate in either league, other than winners Joe Maddon and Lou Pinella, was Charlie Manuel of the Phillies, but the award is a regular season award.

During the course of the regular season, Lou Pinella led his Cubbies to the most victories the franchise has had since 1945, securing the number one NL seed with ease for the postseason. Of course, the Cubs were swept (again) in the playoffs, but, as I said above, this is a award. Manuel’s case, though he’s a very solid manager, wasn’t near as strong. I’m sure he’s worried about not winning, considering the ring and trophy he earned in the playoffs.

In the AL, the drastic turnaround by the Rays — especially after losing Evan Longoria and Carl Crawford for the stretch run — made the choice the easiest on the entire ballot, including the ROY selections. The Rays had never won more than 70 games, and had only avoided last place once — when they won 70 games and finished fourth in the AL East a few years ago. All they did this season was win 97 games. It was a no-brainer.

The AL Cy Young Award winner will be announced tomorrow.

Footprints in the Snow: Tampa Bay Rays

by @ 12:00 am (Category : Uncategorized )

Nov 12th 2008 9:00AM by Jacob Wheatley-Schaller (author feed)
As you may have heard, the Tampa Bay Rays burst onto the scene in 2008, finishing the regular season with 97 wins, 27 more than their previous franchise high of 70. They then breezed past the White Sox in the ALDS and survived Boston’s furious comeback in the ALCS before falling to the Phillies in the World Series.

On its face, Tampa’s story may seems similar to that of the 2007 Rockies, who were an afterthought in the pennant race in early September yet ended up still playing in late October. But in reality, the surprise teams of the last two years couldn’t be more different. While Colorado was led by guys in their late twenties having career years, the Rays were a very young team that came into its own earlier than expected. Nearly all of their key parts will be back for ‘09 and beyond; if Tampa Bay makes the right offseason moves, they’re set up quite nicely for a potentially dominant 3-5 year run.Continue Reading

The Rockies Seem Willing to Lower the Price for Matt Holliday

by @ 12:00 am (Category : Uncategorized )

Nov 6th 2008 12:37PM by Tom Fornelli (author feed)
With each passing day it seems more likely that Rockies outfielder Matt Holliday won’t be wearing a Rockies jersey come spring training. After trying to move their MVP outfielder before the trade deadline last season and not finding any deals that worked, Rockies general manager Dan O’Dowd is back at it again. With Holliday scheduled to make $13.5 million in 2009, the Rockies feel they’d be better off moving Matt and using that money elsewhere.

Colorado would like to part ways with Holliday so bad, in fact, that it appears they’re even going to lower their asking price.Rockies general manager Dan O’Dowd increased the likelihood Matt Holliday will be traded with his admission Wednesday he doesn’t have to receive a proven starter in return.

O’Dowd is looking for the best deal, not the best pitchers, with multiple opposing executives predicting that Philadelphia and Oakland are the most likely trade partners.

“There is not much pitching in the market available. Period,” O’Dowd said. “And any pitching we get will likely be projection pitching. Not that guy that has been there, done it. We are completely open-minded to anything.” Continue Reading

Andrew Friedman Wins Executive of the Year

by @ 12:00 am (Category : Uncategorized )

Nov 4th 2008 3:15PM by Jacob Wheatley-Schaller (author feed)
Both MLB’s awards season and the General Managers Meetings got off to predictable starts at a dinner at the St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort on Monday night:
For orchestrating one of the most remarkable success stories in the history of Major League Baseball, Andrew Friedman of the Tampa Bay Rays is The Sporting News’ choice as Executive of the Year for 2008.

Friedman, executive vice president of baseball operations, made all the right moves for manager Joe Maddon as the Rays rose from last to first in the American League East, amazing insiders all year with their dynamic, consistent play. Their 97-65 record was the league’s second best, behind the Angels’ 100-62.

Friedman kept the young nucleus of his talented roster essentially intact while pulling off a major offseason deal with Minnesota that brought shortstop Jason Bartlett and starter Matt Garza to solidify the defense and the rotation. A role was found for Willy Aybar, whose play during the absence of third baseman Evan Longoria was vital down the stretch.
Next Wednesday, with significantly more fanfare than this, it will be announced that Joe Maddon won the AL Mananger of the Year award. But really, after watching Maddon’s tactical struggles in October, is there any doubt that the majority of the credit should be assigned to the people who put the pieces in place, rather than Maddon himself?

Sure, Maddon deserves a lot more credit than someone like Chuck LaMar; the fact that it’s impossible to quantify his impact on the clubhouse doesn’t mean it should be ignored entirely. But it’s worth remembering that despite who we all saw on TV all October, it’s Tampa Bay’s front office that was the main reason this team came together as quickly as it did, and Friedman and Co. are also the reason the Rays will continue to be contenders in the coming years.

Eric Hinske Wants Revenge on Brad Lidge … in Fantasy Football?

by @ 12:00 am (Category : Uncategorized )

Oct 30th 2008 6:30PM by Matt Snyder (author feed)
Brad Lidge struck out Eric Hinske to record the final out in the World Series last night. Maybe he wasn’t concentrating enough at the plate because he was worrying whether or not to start Ryan Grant this week. - STRIKE THREE!

No, seriously — CBS Sports is running a fantasy football league with with 13 major league players. B.J. Ryan is apparently dominating right now, running his record to a spotless 8-0 thus far. Hinske, who is said to be a “fantasy football addict”, is facing off against Lidge this weekend, coincidentally. Both sport 3-5 records and need the win badly to stay relevant.

Just for what it’s worth, the other league members are Jarrod Washburn, Mark Buehrle, Michael Cuddyer, Travis Hafner, Matt Clement, David Wright, Greg Maddux, Aaron Rowand, Ben Sheets, and Doug Mientkiewicz.

No word on if Maddux plays mind games with opponents, or if Hafner drafted a bunch of guys who ended up injured. I am sure Wright’s 5-3 record is bound to get worse as the playoffs approach, though (zing!).

How Does the Delay Change Game 5?

by @ 12:00 am (Category : Uncategorized )

Oct 29th 2008 2:47PM by Pat Lackey (author feed)
Two days ago, we prepared for Game 5 of the World Series by wondering if the Rays could step up in the face of two ugly losses and find a way to beat the best pitcher in the post-season to keep their World Series hopes alive. Today, we’re still wondering about Game 5, but the complexity of the game has changed entirely. The score is tied at two, we’re 5 1/2 innings in, and neither team has played for two days.Continue Reading

How Should Joe Maddon Manage The 6th Inning?

by @ 12:00 am (Category : Uncategorized )

Oct 29th 2008 5:38PM by Jacob Wheatley-Schaller (author feed)
Joe Maddon has decided who will pitch the sixth inning for the Rays 177 times this year, but this is a special case. People have had nearly 48 hours to speculate on how Maddon will, and should, deploy his relievers over the last 12 outs. Here’s one take from DRaysBay, in a post titled, “Grant Balfour Needs to ‘Start’ Game 5″:

Two reasons.
1) Cole Hamels spot will be due up, expect Matt Stairs to pinch hit. From there Jimmy Rollins and Jayson Werth are due up. Allowing Balfour to exit before the lefties comup because…
2) In the 7th the Rays will send 6-7-8 to the plate, if one reaches the Rays could pinch-hit for Balfour, if not the Rays could double-switch and take Rocco Baldelli out. Then bring in Price/Howell/whomever while getting an extra inning from a rested Balfour.

The fact that the pitcher’s spot is due up fourth in the Rays’ half of the seven is very important here. If they were to bring in a new reliever–say, David Price–for the sixth, with the intention of having record more than three outs, he’d likely have to hit for himself. In the late innings of a tie game, that’s just not acceptable.

So having Balfour “start” the game does make sense. And he should certainly pitch to the first three batters–the pinch hitter, Jimmy Rollins, and Jayson Werth. If he gets through that 1-2-3, great. If there are two outs and a runner on when Chase Utley comes up, Balfour should probably face Utley, who only has a small platoon split in his career. If there are two on and one out, with both Utley and Ryan Howard due up, the Rays should definitely go to one of their three lefties to finish off the inning.

Puddle Enthusiasts of the World Unite!

by @ 12:00 am (Category : Uncategorized )

Oct 29th 2008 5:59PM by Josh Alper (author feed)
Enterprising sorts have been making a mint in the trade of Game 5 ticket stubs all day. That makes sense. Those stubs get you entry to tonight’s game which could end in a celebration that’s sure to end up destroying a good chunk of Philadelphia.

Another would-be entrepreneur is trying to make a buck off the unusual goings-on Monday night. An Ebay listing is offering rain water to baseball fans hoping to obtain a little bit of, well, I’m not sure quite what they’re getting. From the listing:
Game 5 of the World Series, October 27th, 2008, Suspended as the tears of the Gods & Fans Rain down upon a city so hungry for victory that the Tension is palpable…Does the rain change the destiny for one of these hungry teams?…Some will laugh but others will covet this tangible piece of history in the making.
Two notes for potential buyers. You’re crazy to be buying rain water and you’re insane for buying this rain water. You see, this isn’t even rain from the game but from “the same storm system that brought the game to a screeching halt.” It was collected five miles away from Citizens Bank Park where, presumably, nothing much of interest happened on Monday night.

I’m not really sure the seller has a good handle on what makes something a “tangible piece of history” unless he’s targeting those with a fetish for southern New Jersey weather history.

(H/T )

World Series Game 5 Part Deux: Live Chat

by @ 12:00 am (Category : Uncategorized )

Oct 29th 2008 7:31PM by Pat Lackey (author feed)

Two days after it was suspended, the 2008 World Series is finally continuing. If you can think way back to Monday, the Phillies and Rays are tied at 2-2 going in to the bottom of the sixth inning. It’s still cold in Philly tonight, but the rain seems to have passed and that means that we’re going to have baseball tonight. Given the situation, with the Phillies having an extra at-bat at a 3-1 lead in the series, we might even have a celebration.

This is an unprecedented happening in baseball, which means that we’ve got a full slate of FanHousers here to detail the proceedings in tonight’s live chat. There’s no pregame show, but I’m going to open the chat up around 8:15 to take some pregame questions get the ball rolling early. The 188th pitch should be coming from Grant Balfour (Ryan Madson is “starting” for the Phils) shortly after 8:30 PM EST, so join us after the jump for the conclusion of Game 5 and anything that happens afterwards.Continue Reading

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