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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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Blunders? You want blunders?
By MARC TOPKIN
Published May 28, 2006
You'd figure that something called the Big Book of Baseball Blunders would have to include a few things about the Devil Rays.
Actually, they merit their own chapter.
Choosing from a veritable plethora of possibilities, author/ESPN analyst Rob Neyer focuses on the mistakes former Rays general manager Chuck LaMar made in the November 1997 expansion draft in a passage titled "Devil Rays set the tone."
He primarily revisits the much-discussed decision to draft Bobby Abreu and trade him to the Phillies for Kevin Stocker . Neyer also - fairly - jabs at former Astros GM (and, ironically, current Rays senior vice president) Gerry Hunsicker for leaving Abreu exposed.
Neyer, whose book is getting lots of hype on ESPN.com, goes on to poke fun at LaMar for a few other things he said and did, including a slightly different version of his now infamous quote: "The only thing that keeps this organization from being recognized as one of the finest in baseball is wins and losses at the major-league level."
But Neyer also makes a pretty big, um, blunder of his own, writing that on Oct, 6, 2005, " "Charles Steinberg takes over from Vince Naimoli as principal owner of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays."
Charles Steinberg is a dentist who has gone on to work as a public relations executive for several teams and is currently Red Sox executive vice president, public affairs.
The new principal owner of the Rays, of course, is Stuart Sternberg . And that's a blunder that's hard to explain.
THE BIG GUY
Tyler Walker is every bit of the 6 feet 3 and 255 pounds at which he is listed. Chad Harville is barely his listed 5 feet 9 and 180 pounds.
So with both warming up in the eighth inning Wednesday, the Rays clinging to a one-run lead and the Rogers Centre crowd getting loud enough that communication between the bench and the bullpen was a problem, manager Joe Maddon wanted to make sure the right reliever got the call.
Maddon decided on Walker as he strode onto the field and, borrowing from White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen ' s nationally televised World Series call for closer Bobby Jenks , signaled to the bullpen by putting his hands out - widely - to his sides.
"I just said, "Okay, the big one,' " Maddon said. "I figured they'd get that."
BEWARE THE CONFETTI IN THE WATER BUCKET
When the Rays return home from this season-high 11-day road trip on Friday, they'll have the Blue Jays waiting at Tropicana Field.
Of course they will.
As if playing the Jays five times during four weeks of spring training wasn't enough, the Rays by June 4 will have played the Jays in 12 of their first 57 games - more than 21 percent.
It's almost like they are touring together.
"We get to see the Washington Generals again (this) week or the Harlem Globetrotters," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "One of us are the Globetrotters, and one of us are the Generals. I don't know which one is which. The schedule is unbelievable. We'll play them for the fourth (series) already this year."
At least the Rays and Jays take turns winning, with Toronto ahead 5-4. The Generals were supposed to lose every night as part of the Globetrotters' entertaining basketball show.
"When I got to see them for the first time, that was the coolest thing," Maddon said. "When we grew up, that was a big deal. The Globetrotters were hot. They were magical. They lost their aura, but at that time, they were incredible."
Here's how Carl Crawford 's monster game on Wednesday at Toronto compares with six of the best offensive efforts in Rays history:
Player, date, opponent AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB
Carl Crawford, 5-24-06, at Jays 5 5 5 0 0 1 2 4
Paul Sorrento, 5-3-98, at Indians 5 1 4 0 0 1 6 0
Randy Winn, 6-9-02, vs. Padres 5 2 4 3 0 1 2 0
Jose Cruz, 5-21-04, at Indians 4 3 4 3 0 1 2 0
Julio Lugo, 6-24-04, at Jays 7 3 5 1 0 0 3 1
Jonny Gomes, 7-30-05, vs. Royals 4 3 3 0 0 3 3 0
Carl Crawford, 8-2-05, at Texas 5 3 4 2 2 0 3 0
Devil Ray records in bold. Source: Rays, retrosheet.org
Joel Sherman , writing in the New York Post : "Give (Scott) Kazmir to the Mets and they possibly become World Series favorites. He is (7-3) with a (2.86) ERA for the last-place Devil Rays in the AL. Imagine him working regularly out of an NL pitcher's park such as Shea. Okay, if you are a Mets fan, I sympathize with you not imagining that due to the pain."
YOU DON'T SAY
"It was transmogrified between the time we left last night and when we came in today."
- Rays manager Joe Maddon , to broadcaster Dave Wills on the Rogers Centre roof being closed Monday and open Tuesday.