Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Why Joe? Why?

If last night’s game were a movie, the scene titled “The Hamstring” would have been written perfectly.

First, there was the buildup. As the credits were rolling, they showed a newspaper clip saying that Evan Longoria was now leading the entire American League in all-star votes. Then the lineup card was released. Batting third, designated hitter, Evan Longoria.

Why is Longoria the designated hitter, Joe? Why

Next, there were lingering questions. Evan Longoria was the DH, not playing his usual 3B position (props to Joe for getting the lineup card correct). Why was he only batting and why was his potential gold glove not in the field? He just had a day off, and if he is healthy enough to swing a bat and run to first, why can’t he throw a ball?

Why is Longoria the designated hitter, Joe? Why?

Then, there was the answer and the foreshadowing. Zoom in on that strapping young lad Todd Kalas. He described that Longoria felt strange as the DH, that he was struggling to stay loose, and that he couldn’t wait to get back into the field. You can just hear in the background the stadium PA announcer say “Leading off the 6th inning, your designated hitter, Evan Longoria.”

Why is Longoria the designated hitter, Joe? Why?

Like clockwork, the climax happened. Longoria hits a ground ball to third baseman Mark Teahan. Like the hard-nosed player that he is, he is running hard towards first. The ball gets to first, pounding the mitt of Billy Butler. First Base Umpire Larry Vanover pumps his fist and yells “You’re out!” Then, two steps shy of first base, the run slows down to a trot, the grimace appears on his face, and the left hand quickly grabs the hamstring. The hearts of the audience collectively sink as that feeling sinks in. Everyone can see it plain as day, Evan Longoria is hurt.

Why WAS Longoria the designated hitter, Joe? Why?

In the wise words of Hamilton Porter, “YOU’RE KILLING ME SMALLS!” I always hated all of the extra days off because I believed that Maddon was not giving the Rays the best chance to win. I can understand giving Navarro a break for a day game after a night game, or why a bullpen pitcher should be unavailable if worked too hard, or taking a starting pitcher out of a game if his pitch count is too high, or even giving a position player a day off in the middle of a stretch of many games in a row. Giving a player get a break on the day before or after a scheduled day off drives me crazy. These are all young men in their 20’s, not their 40’s. The players have a rhythm they like to keep up. The more they play the looser they are. It’s not September of a season that is a lost cause; it’s June and the Rays are only 6 games out. The players want to be on the field. The players actually perform better when playing consistently. And now we can see that the players stay healthier by being on the field.

Why WAS Longoria the designated hitter, Joe? Why?

The regular starting players need to play and play often to be at the top of their game. The regular starting players need to play and play often to stay in a rhythm and stay healthy. The regular starting players need to play and play often to give the Rays the best possible chance to win. Anyone can figure that out, it’s not rocket science.

-The Rocket Scientist


DirtbagFan said...

Psst... Dirtbag is battling a sore throwing shoulder (that's why).

Michael_Rays Rev said...

I've heard Maddon & Dirtbag talk about how he's going to be alright, but I'm not going to believe it until I see him take 3rd base. Management hasn't been very forthcoming w/ injury information this year. They're doing everything on the sly. Longo could just as easy end up on the DL as he could play against the Yankees.