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Lou's worst club still inspires hope

By MARC TOPKIN, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published September 14, 2003

NEW YORK - Lou Piniella has never been this big of a loser before.

And he says he couldn't be more confident that the Devil Rays soon will be winners.

The Rays now have 89 losses, the most Piniella has had during his 17-year managing career, worse than a 74-88 season in Cincinnati in 1991.

The frequent losing has been tough for a guy used to winning, "a little painful in that regards." But Piniella said the Rays soon will be on the plus side of the equation.

"We knew that this year would be a year of growing pains," he said. "I've got enough confidence in myself as a manager to feel that I can win under any circumstances, and that's the way I approach every ballgame. But the reality of the thing is that our job was to analyze, to evaluate and to take a look at as much of our farm system this year with the idea that now we go out over the winter and we start improving these areas we need to improve and start putting this thing here on a forward track.

"And now that I've been on the job (for a while), I'm more convinced than ever that we'll get it done."

HITTING AND RUNNING: Aubrey Huff continued his tremendous season, joining Fred McGriff as the only Rays to total 100 RBIs in a season.

"You're producing runs and driving in runs, and any time you do that it's a good thing," Huff said. "Nowadays average is so overlooked; I still pride myself on hitting .300. But everyone is looking for run production and to drive in 100 runs, that's special."

Huff, whose 42 RBIs since Aug. 1 are the most in the majors, has a shot at McGriff's 2000 team record of 106. "That's reachable," Huff said.

Huff is one hit shy of Randy Winn's 2002 single-season team record of 181 hits. He also tied a team record in the opener with an RBI in seven straight games.

Carl Crawford, 22, stole a base in each game to become the sixth youngest player to swipe 50 in a season.

"Not too many people take notice, so I guess it's not that big a deal, but it is to me," Crawford said. "It's cool. I'll see if I can get a couple more."

He is also on track to be the fourth youngest to win a league stolen base title.

CARIBBEAN VACATION: Managing general partner Vince Naimoli said he didn't know anything about a Puerto Rico promoter reportedly saying he'd seek to move some Rays games to the island next season.

But he didn't say he wouldn't consider it, either.

"If we were approached the first thing we'd have to do is talk to the city (of St. Petersburg) about our lease," Naimoli said. "But we have not been approached."

DOUG IN: Rookie Doug Waechter, 22, is making an effort to not treat his first start today at Yankee Stadium any differently than the first two of his career. He will have his sister, who lives in New York, and about 15 friends and relatives, including his mom, who are flying up from St. Petersburg, on hand.

Piniella hopes Waechter, 3-0 after three outings, continues his impressive performances.

"Let's hope he continues to pitch well through September, has a good spring and we keep him right in the rotation," Piniella said. "I'd like that more than anything else."

HONORARIUM: Lance Carter was chosen by teammates as the Rays' nominee for the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award, given annually to the player who inspires others through onfield play and contributions to the community. Fans will pick six finalists through online voting ( and players will vote on the winner. ... Triple-A manager Bill Evers will be honored Thursday at the Back-2-Back Championship Celebration in Durham.

MISCELLANY: Crawford extended his career-high hitting streak to 13 games. ... Travis Lee extended his to 12 and got his career-high 35th double. ... New York's Mike Mussina won his 199th game.

Today's lineup
  • Rays detect no signs of a Yankees decline
  • Lou's worst club still inspires hope
  • In upside, this OF is peerless
  • Rays tales

  • Bucs
  • Hitting the high spots
  • A shutout as only Rice can see it
  • Waitress's joke hard for Sapp to swallow
  • Carolina blueprint should look familiar
  • Kickin' back with Thomas Jones
  • Sideline
  • Letters: Eagles fans reach the ultimate low

  • Lightning
  • Lecavalier, Stillman highlight first day
  • Success depends on growth

  • Other sports

  • MLB acts the bully with Expos
  • AL: Chisox ride Colon's stamina
  • NL: Marlins thrill a packed house
  • Penny injury less serious than feared

  • Boxing
  • Sugar gets sweet win vs. De La Hoya

  • College football
  • 'Canes inconsistent but still cruise to win
  • Gators shake off doubt, slow start
  • Technical difficulty
  • Clarett expected to stay at OSU
  • 'Canes contain big plays
  • Freshman Harris out until second trial
  • Special teams a bit more so
  • UF By the numbers
  • UF Game balls
  • 'Noles seek new nonconference foe
  • Defense makes stand when it counts most
  • FSU By the numbers
  • FSU Game balls
  • Buckeyes extend streak by inches
  • Wolverines devour Irish

  • Conferences
  • Big East: Big third helps Pitt pull away
  • SEC: Georgia stifles South Carolina
  • State: UCF needs record day to rally, hold off FAU
  • Big Ten: Wisconsin stumbles, fumbles away game
  • Pac-10: Trojans click in all phases
  • Big 12: Hogs upset 'Horns
  • C-USA: Golden Eagles punish Tigers' errors
  • Nation: Air Force finds it can pass, rush
  • ACC: Boilermakers don't fall short this time

  • Golf
  • Dent's 65 within a stroke of his age
  • Sorenstam, Pettersen strike a blow at U.S.

  • Gotta minute?
  • Rocco Baldelli

  • Horse racing
  • Congaree frozen out in warmup

  • In brief
  • eBay item has James agitated

  • Motorsports
  • M. Schumacher wins F1 pole
  • NASCAR remains a family business

  • NFL
  • Picks, Week 2
  • Same Tuna, different diversion
  • Things make you go hmmm

  • Opinion
  • Rant, Rave

  • Outdoors
  • Daily fishing report
  • Preparation vital ahead of a storm

  • Preps
  • Kotchman, Quick can't catch King's Bowerman
  • Biladeau never looks back as Jesuit wins
  • DQ aids Plant girls at relays; Jesuit tops boys
  • Jesuit's Biladeau runs away with title
  • King's Bowerman cruises to victory
  • Lecanto has strong showing
  • PHU gets best of Seminole
  • Practice as targets pays as PHU wins at Keswick

  • Soccer
  • This won't be a party like it was in 1999
  • Letters: Ex-Seminole should have been kicked out
  • Back to Top

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