Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Know Thy Enemy: Tampa Bay Rays

How about that Charlie Furbush? After Phil Coke got an ankle owie in Monday’s game, 70’sbush was thrust (eww) into his MLB debut with two on and one out. He struck out both batters to get out of the inning and kept the Rays at bay with another three scoreless innings after that. The kid got the win in his first professional game. I may be in love.

While we’re talking about Charlie, I spent much of the game trying to think of who he reminded me of in appearance. Here…take a look at him.
Adorable. At first, I thought it was Andrew Miller, one of the guys we sent to Florida in the Miguel Cabrera trade. That wasn’t quite right, though. It wasn’t until after the game when I received a text from a friend that I realized who Furbush resembled.
That’s right. Andy from “Toy Story”. Thanks, Shannon. By the way, if the brilliant Sam from Roar of the Tigers reads this, I think a Furbush Toy Story “Terrible Cartoon” would be amazing. Or I could be wrong. It happens almost constantly…

Anyhoo, the offense was dormant again until the 8th where the Tiger hitters came out of hibernation for a moment to score enough to get their second straight victory. That puts a game over .500 again, so expect us to drop our next four games.

Jose Valverde looked like hell in the 9th, which is kind of scary. He’s perfect in save opportunities still this year, but when it’s not a save situation, Papa Grande looks more like Papa Rodney.

So yeah, we’re playing the Rays. Here’s a bit on them.


Overview

The AL East leading Rays were founded in 1998 and didn’t have a winning record until making the World Series in 2008. They’ve stockpiled enough high draft picks over that time period to put together a pretty good team since then. Until November 2007, they were known as the “Devil Rays”, after the fish of the same name. However, the team owner changed them to the just plain “Rays”, most likely because the retirees of Florida were being scared off by the “Devil” part of their name. However, no one still attends Tampa games because the old people in Florida can’t find Tropicana Field. If it were near a Cracker Barrel, perhaps attendance would rise.

Tampa’s first game was on March 31, 1998 against our Detroit Tigers, a game in which the Tigers won by an 11-6 score. The only Hall of Famer to play for Tampa was Wade Boggs, who finished his career as a Ray. Of course, no one will ever remember that about Boggs. I’m sure he takes comfort in that.

Face of the Franchise
Nice shirt, d-bag.

Evan Longoria is the crown jewel of the Rays franchise. Longoria was the 3rd pick of the 2006 MLB Draft behind pitchers Luke Hochevar (Royals) and Greg Reynolds (Rockies). Sucks to be them. I was lucky enough to see one of Longoria’s final minor league games when his Durham Bulls were visiting the Mud Hens. Every time Evan came to the plate, the Hens were kind enough to play the “Desperate Housewives” theme song for him. I bet that never got old for him.

Longoria is a three time All-Star, the 2008 Rookie of the Year, and a two time Gold Glove winner. Much like anyone else in baseball that isn’t awful, Longoria has had good success against Tiger pitching. In 21 games entering today, he’s hit .310 with 7 homers and 18 RBI. 2 ½ of the 7 homers have come against current Tigers: Justin Verlander, Ryan Perry, and Joel Zumaya. Obviously, Zoom barely counts as a Tiger anymore, thus the half mark. Oh, and in the ever important “Versus Nate” stat, Our Hero faced Longoria 8 times and only allowed 1 hit against him. Way to go, Nate! Get well soon, buddy.

Old Friends

Johnny Damon returns to Comerica Park after a solid season in Detroit last year. He never got any credit for his leadership and solid play from Tiger fans in my opinion. I know we sure could have used him up to this point in the #2 spot in our lineup this year. He was steady getting on base and I think he helped Austin Jackson last year more than people realize. But NOOOOOOOOOOOO, we had to overpay Joaquin Benoit. And NOOOOOOOOOO, we had to give Ryan Raburn the left field job. Johnny’s been solid so far for the Rays in 2011.

Matt Joyce is leading the league in hitting. Never thought I’d say that. We traded the “Thunderkitten” to the Rays in the Edwin Jackson deal. He was the original Brennan Boesch, as you may remember.

Kyle Farnsworth…well, more on him in a second, okay?

Other Superstar Players

B.J. Upton
David Price
Manny Ramirez

Most Hated Ray
Fuck Kyle Farnsworth. Fuck him in his stupid fucking face. Yeah, I said it.

The Farns, destroyer of hopes and dreams, was originally selected by the Chicago Cubs in the 47th round of the 1994 draft. He was traded to Detroit, after failing as a Cub, for Roberto Novoa, Scott Moore, and Bo Flowers in 2005. After sucking in Detroit, we traded him to Atlanta for Zach Miner and Roman Colon. In 2008, Dave Dombrowski showed his sick sense of humor by trading team icon Pudge Rodriguez to the Yankees for the shitty Farnsworth again.

I was so happy when we acquired him for the first time. I remember hearing about his 100 mph fastball and thought he’d be an awesome addition. Not so much. The second time around, I almost quit watching baseball. That lasted about twenty minutes, but I was still pissed for quite a while.

If you look at his numbers in Detroit, he was a combined 2-2 with a 3.53 ERA. That’s not too bad, especially when you look at the collection of stiffs in our current pen. But for me, whenever I think of Farnsworth, I picture him blowing games and giving up home runs.

But there was once nice thing. He was a badass mamma jamma in a brawl with the Royals in 2005. Awesome stuff. If you can find footage of it, check it out.

But he still sucks. Look for us to trade Austin Jackson for him one day because DD is a dick.

Fanbase

Old people near death. That’s all there is in Tampa. I can only imagine that Tropicana Field smells like a nursing home.

Summary

Will the real Detroit Tigers please stand up?

Doubt it. But Game One of this series was a nice start.

6 comments:

Jay Hathaway said...

Was at the game, right by the Belle Tire banner where Dirks hit one (of course I was taking a piss at the time).  Good times.

Ssass8397 said...

I think Woody is what I really meant, but either one is close....: )

Rob Benneian said...

Bush's delivery is a little out of control, I can see him getting wild at times (he had one wild pitch I think, plus one Avila dove 6 feet to his right to save from being another, plus a bunch of pitches it didn't look like he had full control of). That being said, he obviously has some quality stuff, and it was pretty neat to see him strike out two to end his first inning in the bigs.

Blake VandeBunte said...

Farns was actually really good during his first stint in Detroit.  11.6 K/9, 1.1 WHIP, 186 ERA+, and that AMAZING fight when he practically murdered every single Royals player.  Oh, and he gave up 1 HR in 42 innings.
 

SRogo said...

Facts/stats mean nothing when discussing hate.  Everyone knows that.

BTW, you seem smart.  You should start your own blog..."The Set Up Man" or something...

h2opolopunk said...

I've been to the Trop many times. It fucking sucks.