Wednesday, August 20, 2008

This Just In......


I've never heard of Chris Gentilviso. And I'm quite certain that I don't like him one little bit.

Internal focus keeping Rays on top
Young team more worried about own play than Yankees, Red Sox

Rays Talent: [gets insulted and storms out]

Rays: [lose division by 13 games.]

SEATTLE - The Tampa Bay Rays’ eyes were glued to the television in the visitors’ clubhouse.

ZOMG dude. You've got my attention. What are they watching? Huh? What? Tellmetellmetellme!

This is how teachers tell you to write in like 6th grade and stuff.

They watched Brett Favre introduce himself to the New York media. They reacted to team USA defeating China in its Olympic basketball opener. They celebrated their series win over cheers for Padraig Harrington capturing the PGA championship.

But did they watch other baseball games? No way Jose! I bet you that's where this is going. Oh my God. I bet.....

There was little interest in DirecTV’s 14-channel Major League Baseball package — a sign of a club focused on no team but itself.

BOOM! Everyone here owes me an all-expense-paid trip to Old Country Buffet. Including transportation.

“Regardless of which way you look at the situation, we have to focus on ourselves,” first baseman Carlos Pena said. “It's focusing on within, not from without. When you start focusing outside, you lose sight on what you need to think about working on, and expend your energy the wrong way. If you play the game hard, everything else will take care of itself.”

Pretty standard deliver-to-media quote from a baseball player. Everyone pretty much understands what he's getting at, but it's best not to make too much of it.

The situation Pena was referring to? The Rays’ daily battle with the AL East goliaths: the Yankees and Red Sox.

Gentilviso's audience: [gets insulted and storms out]

Gentilviso: [loses his job in 13 days]

Outfielder Eric Hinske knows that battle well. When Hinske left Boston for Tampa Bay this season, he had hopes of the Rays being good, but not this good. Anyone who claimed to have predicted Tampa Bay’s success in April was “lying through their teeth.”

Oooooohhhh....Sheesh...oh boy. Listen....I hate to be, ya know...that guy but really should look at this. don't have teeth.

In their quest to become the first team other than New York or Boston to win the AL East since the 1997 Baltimore Orioles, the Rays harnessed their success by choosing not to think about teams in the opponent’s dugout.

You know what's really underrated today? Hitting. Hitting is way more attributable to teams winning than any of this dribble.

“We go out there and play the same way every day, whether it's the Royals, Yankees, A’s …whatever,” Hinske said. “That's the way we go about our business. That's one of the keys to our success for sure.”

See, you never blame a player for saying this. This is the stuff you need to feed the media to get them to shut up and you know, look good for 8-year-olds. This is not baseball analysis in the least, and it's not supposed to be. When you write a column that basically feeds you re-worded player quotes like this one, you really need to reconsider your decision to write about sports.

For Rays manager Joe Maddon, dealing with the thought of beating the Red Sox or Yankees could be as simple as thinking of the Commissioner’s Trophy.

The Commissioner's Trophy....that thing they give you when you win the World Series.....thinking of beating the Red Sox or Yankees is as simple as thinking of that.....

(5 hours later)

This sentence does not make any sense.

Maddon was named Mike Scioscia’s bench coach with the Angels in 1999, surviving as a leftover from the dysfunctional Terry Collins era. The club suffered through two mediocre seasons under Scioscia, before emerging in 2002 with something never experienced before in the franchise’s then-41-year history — a World Series title.

This is pretty much completely irrelevant to everything you've talked about thus far.

That season, the Angels eliminated the Yankees. The Red Sox missed the playoffs. Maddon could project that example to prove that the AL East goliaths have been conquered before.

Or, you could just point out that 5 of the last 7 World Seriesezes weren't won by either of them.

But he chooses not to. The Rays have no plans to bank on history through a difficult final month of the season, which includes 12 games with Boston and New York.

Hah. Watch out world, because unlike some teams (who SHALL remain nameless) the Rays aren't counting on what happened in 2002 to help them today.

“The race doesn't matter,” Maddon said.

I wholeheartedly disagree.

“It’s what we're doing that matters. We're going to scoreboard watch, and I'm O.K. with that. I want us to take care of our effort and our mental preparation each night, and I'm good with what happens.”

But ultimately all that matters is that you finish with more wins than the Red Sox and the Yankees......

The 2002 Angels took care of their effort, with a lineup that included strong young talent with a smattering of veterans. Their home run leader was Troy Glaus with 30, a talented 25-year old with more strikeouts than hits in each of his first four seasons. Their RBI leader was Garret Anderson with 123, an unheralded lifelong Angel taken in the 4th round of the 1990 amateur draft.

This is, again, approaching dangerously extreme levels of irrelevance. Perhaps he has a crush on David Eckstein or something. Chris does, after all, write about sports.

But the efforts of one player meant nothing. It was the entire roster that emerged victorious in a three-team AL West battle. The 101-win Oakland A’s were axed in the Division Series, while the 93-win Mariners missed the playoffs.

In conclusion: Rays' internal focus is winning them the division.

What. The. Hell. Does. This. Have. To. Do. With. Anything.

Outfielder Cliff Floyd knows the Rays have used a similar recipe of flying under the radar this season.

Flying under the radar is the recipe for winning now?


1 cup of historical irrelevance
3 tablespoons of not playing in Boston or New York
1 pinch of playing in a horrible baseball town
Jason Bartlett
1 country full of idiots working in the media

And there you have it, the recipe to win a divisional race.

But in his mind, it’s irrelevant what past teams have done.

Yet for some reason, you decided to spend 35% of this article on that.

After three days in a Tampa Bay uniform, the newest member of the Rays had yet to receive the memo about avoiding comparisons.

Troublemaker! Cut him! (Chad Bradford)

Relief pitcher Chad Bradford has made six trips to the playoffs, with three different teams, in 11 major league seasons. While the Yankees and Red Sox bolstered their rosters with blockbuster trades, Bradford was picked up from the Orioles a few days after the deadline.

Bradford quickly noticed the looseness of the Rays’ clubhouse, and it reminds him of the dominant Oakland squads he played with from 2001-2004.

3.68, 4.37, 3.63, 3.97, 3.21. Those are the starters' ERAs for the Rays. Does this deserve no credit whatsoever? Is this more or less important than the looseness of the clubhouse? The Rays have scary good pitching. Scary good. The only one over his head is Sonnanstine. And there's more awesome pitching on the way. And I've heard they're all tighter than a male stripper's pants in the clubhouse. Not loose at all. And guess what? They'll make the team more awesome.

That process begins at the minor league level, through the creation of an organization-wide code of discipline. With that uniformity in place, both the Tampa Bay Rays and Princeton (W. Va.) Rays are aware of how players with issues are treated.

And there's an organization-wide flood of awesome pitching. Pitching. Don't forget about pitching! Gawd, he's just not gonna listen to me.

In turn, Maddon believes winning will be a consistent part of Rays baseball.

“It has to bleed through the entire organization if it’s going to work,” Maddon said. “You look at the Angels, that's why they're good right now.”

Also: The Angels are good due to pitching. Pitching.

At a major league-leading 31 games over .500, the Angels appear primed to return to their first World Series since 2002. No matter who surfaces as a winner in the AL East, all three teams face the proposition of going through Los Angeles to reach the Fall Classic.

That’s another scenario that Maddon doesn’t get too caught up in. The only channel he watches is his franchise moving forward.

What an outstanding manager he must be. This is the man that once said that David Eckstein helps you even if he goes 0-4 and makes 3 errors. This is the man who has the priviledge of managing a team who has some of the best prospect classes coming up through the system in history. Life just isn't fair. Want to swap teams with Manny Acta?



Larry B said...

Fuck. Buried your post. I'll delete mine and put it back up tonight.

Martin said...

I feel like I just finished reading a haiku riposte to a flat article. I'm feeling a bit bewildered.

I agree however. Well said!

Jeff said...

"The only channel he watches is his franchise moving forward."

I don't know why, but this is making my head think of swirly things and I'm getting dizzy. Maybe it's because you can't watch a channel that shows the franchise moving forward, because if you do that you're not moving forward you're standing around watching tv?

pnoles said...

I actually missed that. The article was repeating itself so much that I guess I zoned out.

Martin said...

In a more coherent fashion, the Rays are playing the "No Respect" card, which every team except the Yankees seems to pull nowadays. Even writers like this guy are parroting that idea, when anybody who knew baseball, and even some who don't (like Bill Simmons and John O'Connell with Complex Litigation) thought the Rays might be breaking out this year. Best Record break out? Not so much, but definitly Wild Card possibility/90 win range.

pnoles said...

Definitely true, Martin. Even PECOTA, which is a stupid computer that doesn't know anything, had the Rays pinned at 90 wins. The fact of the matter is, the major media is making a big deal out of them being a huge suprise, when in reality, the only shocked people are those who didn't know what was going on in their organization. Young pitchers and good defense work very, very well together. That was probably the most overlooked part about the Jason Bartlett acquisition.

Jack M said...

I was at the Boston @ Baltimore game. It's too bad that the Rays didn't watch it on TV, because the 18,000 "die hard" Sawx fans acted totally special and douchey in a way that only they can.

Three anecdotes that I experienced that can therefore be applied to all Sawx fans:

1. Witnessed a large group of male Sawx fans drinking wine coolers.

2. Had this conversation about 10 times

Sawx Fan: Are you an Orioles Fan?
Me (in my Markakis jersey and Ravens hat): Yes...
Sawx Fan: Woah, that's so weird.

3. Sawx, Celtics, and Pats shits/jersies/hats all about, not a piece of Bruins merchandise to be found.

JimA said...

"That process begins at the minor league level, through the creation of an organization-wide code of discipline"

Which is exemplified by BJ Upton. That code must say something about five tool players being exempt.

pnoles said...

Excellent point, jima, I can't believe I didn't think of that. Why not take it a step further? After all, this is the same organization that spawned Delmon Young and Elijah Dukes.