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Rays tales

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.


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


"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

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