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Devil Rays in the Details
2004-03-31 01:33
by Mike Carminati

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death.

--Wily Mo "Author" Shakespeare (a quote which I had to memorize and recite in English class in ninth grade)

The Devil Rays surprised the world by beating one of the strongest teams in their division and in all of baseball, besting the opposition's ace. Meanwhile their "ace" excelled. A home run by a newly acquired vet gave them the lead. Meanwhile, the oppisition's offense sputtered as their highly-touted leadoff hitter went hitless.

Oh, sorry. I was reminiscing about the Devil Rays' 2003 opener. The beat the Red Sox, 6-4, and scuttled Boston's alleged plans to employ a bullpen by committee. I have no idea what happened in today's Yankee-Devil Rays Far Eastern division battle. I was too busy fishing at 5 AM to watch it.

I was just illustrating a point that the Devil Rays have done this before. Terry Shumpert delivered the big blow last year; Tino Martinez did this year (much to the chagrin of the WFAN callers, I am sure). Last year, Joe Kennedy faced Pedro Martinez in the opener; this year, Victor Zambrano faced Mike Mussina. Last year Johnny Damon went hitless; this year Derek Jeter did. See it's all good clean fun. The biggest difference between the two games was that yesterday/today the D-Rays beat up on the Yankees starter; last year it was the pen, but both loses may point their opponent to fundamental problems in their makeup. Anyway, to paraphrase Pete Townshend, meet the new Devil Rays, pretty much the same as the old Devil Rays. I think Tampa Bay has improved but besides potentially breaking 70 wins for thr first time, not a whole lot else will reach the heights of their first game.

They tell us that it was the season opener, and I guess we'll have to take their word for it. All I know is the Phils only just employed their regular season lineup for reportedly the first time yesterday, but these two other teams are already playing games that matter (at least the Yankees are). Such is the wacky world of Bud. Great, you pack the Tokyo dome, but ignore your real fanbase in the process. Opening Day? Not really. It's more like an exhibition series on steroids. And that's all it should have been. As for me, I'll wait for the real thing, interleague baseball in San Juan with the wild card on the line. Now that's a classic content.

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