Tampa Bay Rays answer first question
|The Rays are so deep in pitching that they were able to send post-season phenom David Price to the minors for more seasoning.
In the aftermath of the Tampa Bay Rays 2008 season — undeniably one of the greatest sports stories of last year — a question inevitably arises: “Was it a fluke, the worst-to-first season of success and will it be replaced by a return to the cellar?” The Rays answered that question emphatically by winning its season-opening series April 7-9 in Boston, the first season-opening series loss by the Red Sox since 1988.
Baseball pundits across the nation haven’t written the 2009 Rays off, but nobody is giving them much of a shot to defend their American League East division crown, much less make it back to the World Series. Such is life when you play in the division with the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees.
The Yankees, as they often do, opened their wallets this year for high-priced free agents, such as pitchers A.J. Burnett (five years, $82.5 million), C.C. Sabathia (seven years, $161 million) and first-baseman Mark Teixeira (10 years, $180 million) in response to the team’s out-of-the-playoffs finish for the first time since 1995.
The Red Sox did not stand pat either, though they didn’t break the bank like the Yankees. The Red Sox signed free agent pitchers John Smoltz and Brad Penny, while also adding Rhode Island native and former Ray player Rocco Baldelli.
To be fair, the Rays didn’t exactly stand pat either. It’s one of the few teams in Major League Baseball that increased its team salary from around $44 million in 2008 to more than $64 million for 2009. They brought in a much-needed right-handed power-hitter in Pat Burrell for $16 million over two seasons and retooled the bullpen by bringing in left-hander Brian Shouse and right-handers Jim Nelson and Lance Cormier.
All of this means nothing once the teams get on the field and, though it’s only three games, the fact that the Rays took two out of three from the Red Sox in Boston is huge. The Rays now have won consecutive series in Boston after not winning one in its previous 25 trips to Beantown, and have now captured 13 of its last 19 games against the Red Sox.
Winning two out of three games in a 162-game regular season is no reason for the Rays to start printing World Series tickets, nor is it cause enough for Red Sox fans to give up on their team. It did however keep them pretty quiet on local talk radio shows, which is another small but welcome victory for Rays fans.
The Rays open a home schedule with the aforementioned Yankees in a three-game series that began April 13. Let’s hope the seats are filled with Rays fans.
Key Royale golf news
The Key Royale Club men played an 18-hole, better-ball-of-partners game on April 8. Ernie Hauser and John Sagert carded an impressive 10-under-par 54 to match the score posted by Lew Winegarden and Garry Harris to tie for first place. Dale Hudson teamed up with Peter Proxy to card an 8-under 56 and second place while four teams tied for third place with 7-under par 57s.
The men played a nine-hole, best-ball-of-foursome game on April 6 with the team of Earl Ritchie, Ed Havlik, Pete Weir and Bill Melvin grabbing first place with a 9-under-par 23. One shot back in second place were Tom Lewis, Chuck Boes, Larry Fowler and Bob Lamp who matched the score carded by Charlie Knopp, Chet Hutton, Jim Auch and Matt Behan.
The rains defeated all but two foursomes during the Key Royale Club’s monthly mixed scramble on April 3. The team of Nel Bergstrom, Beverly Nevill, Larry Fowler and Chris Collins sloshed their way around the course and carded an 8-under-par 24 to earn bragging rights for the day over Erma McMullen, Chaz McMullen, Jim Dunne and Paulette Proxy, carded a 7-under 25. Nel Bergstrom’s day was made better with a chipin on hole two.
Only two teams emerged from pool play during April 11 horseshoe action at the Anna Maria City Hall pits. Norm Good and Hank Hughe ran over and through Adin Shank and John Crawford in the finals, defeating them by a score of 22-9 to earn the day’s bragging rights.
The April 8 games saw three teams emerge from pool play with the pre-requisite 3-0 record. John Johnson and Mike Lovey rolled past walker Tom Rhodes 23-4, while Norm Good and Art Kingstad advanced to the finals on the lucky bye. There was no luck involved in the finals as Good and Kingstad rolled past Johnson and Lovey 21-9.
Play gets under way at 9 a.m. every Wednesday and Saturday at the Anna Maria City Hall pits. Warmups begin at 8:45 a.m. followed by random team selection. There is no charge to play and everyone is welcome.
AMI Little League schedules
Date Time Teams Field
April 17 7 p.m.Surf Shop vs. Hammerheads Bray#1
April 20 6:30 p.m. Bonefish Grill vs. Surf Shop AMICC
April 18 2 p.m.Ace Hardware vs. Wood Dock Bray#3
April 21 6:30 p.m. Ferarro’s Pizza vs. Ace Hardware AMICC
April 18 12 p.m. Panoramic vs. LB Ace Hardware AMICC
AMICC NFL Flag Football schedule (all games at Holmes Beach city field)
Date Time Teams
April 21 6 p.m. Jessie’s Vikings vs. Panoramic Cardinals
April 20 6 p.m.RLS Patriots vs. Dojo Jaguars
April 20 7 p.m. Sparks Falcons vs. Panoramic Cardinals
April 21 6 p.m.Dojo Jaguars vs. Sparks Falcons
April 15 6 p.m. Galati Texans vs. Mike Norman Packers
April 16 6 p.m.Sand Dollar Colts vs. Ross Built Chargers
April 15 7 p.m. Ministries Cowboys vs. Bray Eagles
April 16 7 p.m.Bray Eagles vs. Bistro Cardinals
AMICC NFL Flag Football standings
Bray Eagles 3 0
Bistro Cardinals 1 1
IRE Colts 1 2
Ministries Cowboys 0 2
Galati Texans 3 0
Ross Chargers 1 1
Mr. Bones Vikings 1 1
Mike Norman Packers 1 1
Sand Dollar Colts 0 3
Island Dojo Jaguars 2 0
Sparks Falcons 1 2
Panoramic Cardinals 1 0
RLS Patriots 0 2