By MARC TOPKIN, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published June 2, 2002
KARMA CITY: Tanyon Sturtze appealed for good-luck charms to help snap a his seasonlong winless streak and he got plenty. Buddhas, baseball angels, an angel with an American flag, prayer cards, rabbit postcards, a bag of rabbit hair and another bag of rabbit, um, pellets, all displayed in his locker.
"To see people take time to send stuff like that makes you realize things are not as bad as they seem," said Sturtze, who tries again Monday for his first win. "Sooner or later it's got to change. I still feel I'm going to win more games than last year (11). I'm not throwing that badly."
As frustrating as the first two months of the season have been, Sturtze is trying to turn it into a positive. "It's got to make you a stronger and better person," he said. "If you get through this, you can get through anything."
But what about the pellets? "That one was pretty strange," Sturtze said. "They said it's supposed to be good luck."
DRAFT DAZE: The annual draft is Tuesday, which brings back memories good and bad for the Rays.
Ben Grieve knew Paul Wilson was going to be the first pick by the Mets in 1994, but didn't know he was going to be taken second by Oakland. He didn't have to wait long for the news. Since his father was general manager of the Rangers, and since the Rangers didn't have a first-round pick, Grieve got to sit in their "war room" and listen live: "I heard the actual conference call where the guy said, "With the second pick the Oakland A's pick Ben Grieve.' "
Brent Abernathy sat with his parents in 1996 convinced he was going to be taken by the Braves or the Rays near the end of the first round. Instead the Braves took A.J. Zapp, the Rays took Paul Wilder, the D'backs took Nick Bierbrodt and Abernathy went 44th overall to the Blue Jays. "I was probably the most shocked person in the world," he said.
Pitcher Ryan Rupe had plenty of draft experience. He was taken by the Mets in the 19th round in 1993, the Royals in the 36th round in 1996, the Cubs in 29th round in 1997, and the Rays in the sixth round in 1998.
Aubrey Huff, a fifth-round pick in 1998, got the news in Omaha, Neb., just after his Miami team was eliminated from the College World Series. "It was kind of a mixed-emotion day," he said.
IT WAS 30 YEARS AGO TODAY: The first overall pick in the 1972 draft was Dave Roberts, a University of Oregon third baseman who played parts of 10 seasons in the majors. Today, he is hard at work helping the Rays decide whom to draft as one of their national scouting cross-checkers. . . . The third player taken in the inaugural 1965 draft, and the first to reach the majors, was pitcher Joe Coleman. He is the Rays' Triple-A pitching coach.
BUB-BA, BUB-BA: Interleague play means the return of Bubba Trammell on Friday. The Padres outfielder was an all-time fan favorite at the Trop during his days with the Rays. No word yet if the 142 crew is getting back together.
The Rays have the second pick in Tuesday's draft. Here are their top three picks from their first six drafts, with current level:
NOTE: Rays forfeited top three picks in 1998, and 2-3-4 picks in 2000 due to free-agent signings.
From Mark Saxon's story about Friday's game in the Oakland Tribune: "Several longtime baseball observers called it the worst game they had ever seen. It had a two-run triple off something called the B-ring catwalk. Don't ask. It's just another reason why Tropicana Field is the worst stadium in the American League."
ONLINE ITEM OF THE WEEK
An assortment of 74 Toby Hall baseball cards was listed on eBay Friday with an opening bid of $1.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
"He hasn't been in baseball for (10) years and he has all sorts of opinions? Well, the heck with him."
-- VINCE NAIMOLI, Rays owner when after sked about comments by former commissioner Fay Vincent
Back to the Rays
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Steroid talk hurts hard workers
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Pinellas' 1st-round streak in danger
All-County Softball Teams
Countryside's new attitude starts with Spence's smile
West Tampa rallies for win
Club season heats up in a hurry