Last mission to repair the Hubble telescope Hubble space telescope discoveries have enriched our understanding of the cosmos. In this special report, you will see facts about the Hubble space telescope, discoveries it has made and what the last mission's goals are.
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.
Fill out this form to email this article to a friend
If only all 162 were at the Trop
Rays 11, Yankees 4: A second straight blowout of the AL East champ ensures a winning home mark.
By MARC TOPKIN
Published September 25, 2006
ST. PETERSBURG - For whatever reasons, the Devil Rays are the game's biggest losers on the road, their major-league-worst 19-56 record an obvious indication there is plenty wrong.
But those same Rays, playing mostly the same opponents, are a winning team at home.
Sunday's 11-4 laugher over the Yankees gave the Rays their 41st victory at Tropicana Field, matching their 2004 franchise best, and guaranteeing them, at 41-39 going into tonight's finale, a winning home record.
"It doesn't make much sense," centerfielder Rocco Baldelli said. "I'm pretty sure it's the same game. Really, I can't explain it. There's no reason for it."
The Rays won in front of 31,422 fans for lots of reasons.
Brian Stokes pitched impressively into the sixth for his first major-league win. Carl Crawford logged another historical footnote by reaching 15 triples for a third straight season and improved his team RBIs lead to 76. Ty Wigginton notched another go-ahead RBI and his 23rd homer.
They produced a six-run inning (their most prolific in more than two months) and a five-run inning, batted around twice with a balanced and relentless attack and knocked around 14-game winner Mike Mussina (who left in the fifth with a left thumb bruise after being hit by a Crawford liner) much like they did 17-game winner Randy Johnson the night before.
The back-to-back easy wins meant more to the Rays (who are now two games better than the Royals in the "race" for the worst overall record) than the losses do to the AL East champion Yankees (though they hadn't lost consecutive games by seven or more runs since August 2003).
But that could change in a couple of weeks because if the Yankees (93-62) don't finish with a better record than the Tigers (94-62), they'll lose the chance to have homefield advantage in the American League Championship Series.
"There's something about concentration in games like this," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "And take nothing away from the Devil Rays. Obviously they kicked our rear ends. But as I say, the intensity of how you go about it, it's nothing you're going to have a meeting on and beat the hell out of them on. ... It's just when the urgency is there, we seem to play better."
For the Rays it's even simpler: show up at the Trop and play better.
Manager Joe Maddon said establishing a homefield advantage was a priority, and he believes they accomplished that: "With the building as it is, and its uniqueness, we really need to be able to take advantage of it."
As a coach who came in once a season with the Angels, Maddon found the Trop a bit disconcerting. The surface is fast, which favors teams with speedy and youthful players. The lights are lower than in most stadiums, and the tilted roof and catwalks are unique, all of which make it tougher to track fly balls. The combination of an artificial turf field and all-dirt basepaths (which, despite Maddon's lobbying for change, is expected to be kept when the turf is replaced for next season) generates odd spins and hops. The hitter's background, which includes the Batter's Eye restaurant, can be a challenge.
"I just think when you walk into this building there's a different - I don't know - it's a visual. That's the best I can describe it. It's a visual because you're not used to being in here with the way everything is set up," he said. "It's a depth perception kind of thing. So anything, the bounce of the ball, the lights, the background ...
"So there's all these little annoyances that we get used to that the other team doesn't."
Now they have to figure out how to take the act on the road.
The Rays became the fifth team in history to have a winning record at home while losing at least 95 games total: