By MARC TOPKIN, Times Staff Writer
Published September 25, 2005
A trip from Florida to California in the final days of the season is unusual. But maybe it was appropriate the Rays made it back to Hollywood because there certainly was enough drama this season to fill a movie.
Ask around the Trop for suggested titles and you get an idea of just how crazy it was: Apocalypse Now, Nightmare on Elm Street, Ransom, Animal House, and a soap-opera combo of Days of Our Lives meets The Young and the Restless.
But the best part is determining who would play which parts. Here are some lighthearted suggestions:
GM Chuck LaMar ... Tommy Lee Jones
Manager Lou Piniella ... Robert DeNiro
Hitting coach Lee Elia ... Ernest Borgnine Senior adviser Don Zimmer ... Popeye
Outfielder Aubrey Huff ... Conan O'Brien
Outfielder Jonny Gomes ... Justin Guarini
Outfielder Carl Crawford ... Tyson Beckford
Pitcher Scott Kazmir ... Tobey Maguire
Pitcher Mark Hendrickson ... Ted Cassidy
Pitcher Chad Orvella ... Haley Joel Osment
Pitcher Danys Baez ... Antonio Banderas
Infielder Jorge Cantu ... Edward James Olmos
Catcher Toby Hall ... Lance Bass
In what has to be the last book published about Boston's stirring run to last year's World Series title, the analytical staff at Baseball Prospectus manages to take another shot at the Rays.
Here is their take on last season in the recently released Mind Game: How the Boston Red Sox Got Smart, Won a World Series and Created a New Blueprint for Winning:
"Red Sox players beat the Yankees players, Terry Francona beat Joe Torre, and Theo Epstein beat the tar out of Brian Cashman. The Sox had a championship-caliber team; the Yankees had a super-sized payroll and nine guys who should have been Devil Rays."
That might be news to Gary Sheffield, Hideki Matsui and Alex Rodriguez.
YOUNG AND RESTLESS
Jorge Cantu, who turns 24 in January, has the Rays team record for RBIs in a season, now he's taking aim at the work of the game's top young stars. Here are the top RBI performances since 1990 by players under 24:
Player, age, team RBIs
Vladimir Guerrero, 23, '99 Expos 131
Albert Pujols, 21, '01 Cardinals 130
Albert Pujols, 22, '02 Cardinals 127
Albert Pujols, 23, '03 Cardinals 124
Alex Rodriguez, 22, '98 Mariners 124
Alex Rodriguez, 20, '96 Mariners 123
Juan Gonzalez, 23, '93 Rangers 118
Eric Chavez, 23, '01 Athletics 114
Jorge Cantu, 23, '05 Devil Rays* 112
Miguel Cabrera, 21, '04 Marlins 112
Aramis Ramirez, 23, '01 Pirates 112
Miguel Cabrera, 22, '05 Marlins* 111
* through Saturday; source: Rays
YOU DON'T SAY
"It's been a pleasure. I've learned a lot from him." - Rays C Toby Hall, on hearing that manager Lou Piniella was leaving after the season