Hello all loyalists to the Devil Rays and MLBlogs, it’s been a particularly long time since I last made a post. And it figures that when my posts stopped showing up, the Devil Rays started winning. Unfortunately, they still finished at 66-96, once again the worst record in the Major Leagues, despite continuing to beat the Yankees and Red Sox (sometimes, at least). A few notes from the end of the season…
Rising From The Ashes…
-At least one Devil Ray won an official award from the league. Congratulations to Carlos Pena on being named the 2007 American League Comeback Player of the Year, alongside Delmon Young’s brother Dmitri of the Nationals. His 46 home runs were easily second in the league (to Alex Rodriguez) as well as a franchise record. He hit .282 (not bad for a .252 lifetime hitter) and surprised the baseball world with the second largest jump in home run totals from one year to the next in the history of the game. He easily deserved this award, and now we just need to sign him long term and hope he keeps this up. We won’t get anyone else with this kind of productivity. Once again, congratulations to the deserving Carlos Pena.
-Cheers for Scott Kazmir on winning the American League strikeout title with 239. He would have had more than anyone in baseball had it not been for Jake Peavy surpassing him during the one-game playoff with the Padres and Rockies. He throws too many pitches and his walk totals are high, but he still wins and strikes out the most guys. And I think he could still get better.
-The Devil Rays have released their new uniforms and logos for 2008. I think it gives the team a totally different vision, and the color is good, but why not just stay with green? That color has basically been this team’s identity from day one. Now we’ll look like the Blue Jays and the old Chicago White Sox. The uniforms themselves aren’t that bad, though. The alternate blue ones, in particular, I’m interested in seeing. And with the yellow light in the logo, it could easily mean that not only might they change the team name to the "Rays," but that they’re also changing the meaning of the word from the animal ray to a light ray. It’s a most interesting change…but they already have a ray tank in the outfield that I don’t think they want to remove. And they might have to re-paint the walls blue.
-The Braves didn’t make the playoffs, but the Mets’ collapse mostly made up for that. Up by seven games with 17 to go, the Mets dropped the ball repeatedly and the Phillies came all the way back to win the division on the regular season’s final day. I’m far from a Phillies fan, but this was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. It was the single largest fall in that timespan that any team has ever taken. And the Phillies are also choking in the playoffs.
-Speaking of the Phillies losing, here’s the fastest rising team in baseball…the Colorado Rockies. They improbably won 13 of 14 games at the end of the regular season to tie the San Diego Padres for the Wild Card, forcing a one-game playoff. That game was one of the most exciting MLB games in a long time. Scott Hairston’s home run looked to ice the champagne in San Diego, but the Rockies quickly struck Trevor Hoffman in their home stadium of Coors Field (in which they’re more dominant) and won the game 9-8, the game ending on a questionable sacrifice fly by Jamey Carroll. And maybe Matt Holliday actually did touch the plate. I wanted to see the Rockies win, but I also have family that are Padres fans and I watched the game in a Padres shirt, so I had torn allegiances. But it was good to see the Rockies finally do something…and now they’re well on their way to the National League Championship Series.
-And how about the Cleveland Indians? Fausto Carmona, initially known in 2006 as a notorious choker, made himself a star in last night’s Game 2 against the Yankees, capping it off by striking out Alex Rodriguez (at this point, even an infield hit is a step up for him). Then with their best chance yet to win, the Indians did it in the 11th inning, with Travis Hafner’s line drive single scoring well-traveled playoff veteran Kenny Lofton. The Indians are up 2-0 in the series, and now the Yankees are on the verge of elimination once again. They’re only a Wild Card team this year, so it wouldn’t be a big surprise except…they’re the Yankees. Well, OK, it’s not so surprising anymore. They choke it away every year, and I don’t expect that to change now.
The Mets out of the playoffs and the Phillies and Yankees on the brink–against the Rockies and Indians? The Cubs and Diamondbacks? The Red Sox and Angels? There couldn’t be a much better October. Once more huge playoffs news comes down, or the Devil Rays make any off-season moves, I’ll be back. Until next time, enjoy the postseason.