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>Fuld And Damon, Formidable Rays One-Two Punch


The following stories are from Bleacher Report (below) and from Don White, Yankee Wizard. Wouldn’t it be great if the Yankees had two red-hot men with the bat? I predict NY bats will come alive as we go along.

By Don White
   Oh, we did have one-half of that fearsome twosome. But our egotistical GM Brian Cashman sent Damon to Toronto last season, I think it was. He couldn’t stand it that Damon was always getting on base.

NY General Manager Brian Cashman

   No, seriously, I think Cashman had someone else in mind to play the outfield. Now let’s see, who could that be? Swisher is only a .250 hitter in right field but he is a switch hitter; Brett Gardner is now a .140 hitter so far this season, but he can run like a flash, despite the fact he hasn’t yet learned to bunt. And, of yes, Curtis Granderson. He’s a flashy center fielder who at times has trouble judging balls hit straight at him. but overall, he was a great acquisition capable of hitting .300..

   No, I still can’t see why we let Hideki Matsui and Damon go, except for age. Cashman plays it too much according to stats. He added the ages of each position player and concluded that the Yankees were an aging team. True, but in tight spots experience often comes through. Look at Damon this year. In six games he has set a Tampa Rays record for getting walk-away, game winning hits.
   How can we fans, sportswriters, and former players not be disgusted with Brian Cashman? It’s how he threw threw Jeeter under the bus at the time of his signing. It was a very rough negotiation on both sides, and no, I didn’t say Cashman cheated Jeet. Not at all. In fact, the way the Yankee shortstop is hitting we could have paid him five million or less a year because that’s all his mediocre BA is worth so far.
   But to tell bar buddies about delicate negotiations and have them leak to the press is despicable. Where’s the character of the Yankee top gun? Hank and Hal should be all over this because it must be the cause of some serious morale problems in the dressing room and dugout. You just don’t reveal those things to the public and Cashman knows better. It may be time for him to step down. I have called for this for a long time.

MLB Commissioner
Bud Selig

   Other Burs Under The Saddle Need Addressing: As a faithful long-time fan of Yankee teams going back to Joe DiMaggio, I followed the best team in the history of sports on radio broadcasts from Yankee Stadium with colorful announcer Red Barber. Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig and other notables played along side of DiMag, but I don’t recall hearing their names on the play-by-play. I was too young. I’ve always been a Yankee fan. Always will be, though I’ve never lived in New York. I echo another fan’s comments when he said we should trade Cashman for Joe Torre. Doubt Joe would come back now that he’s enjoying running the league from the commissioner’s catbird seat. He really knows how to handle people, doesn’t he?

   And I don’t think much of Bud Selig, either. To see the dwindling paid attendance is hard to take. I saw the figures. Football is king in America with about 12 million people viewing games yearly; baseball has about five or six million and NBA basketball is third with three million. I really hate it when, on a Monday night–or any night of the week, really–you turn on the sports channels and most of them are still showing football. This is baseball season, people, or haven’t you heard. Stop covering football in April. There are enough good baseball stories to go around. While the NBA and NFL make plans of expanding into Europe and Asia, where is Selig? He hasn’t given international expansion even a thought. We know the Japanese and many Latino teams can compete with America’s best. So can the Netherlands. What baseball needs is a new leader.
   What happened in L.A in the Dodgers front office must be happening to the Tampa Rays, I reasoned. Reference the rumor that they may take out bankruptcy to break a lease set to expire in 2027. That’s got to be a financial thing. Going bankrupt is not good mojo. Fans tend to take it wrong.  I blame a senseless Bud Selig for declining attendance and lack of revenues for small market teams like Tampa. Yeah, revenue sharing has helped, but there must be a way we can open up the game more for the fans.
   Here’s some of the solution. Sue the player’s association and let’s make them cut player salaries by one-third. Throw that money back to the teams so they can lower the price of tickets. Take care of your fans, what’s left of them. Yes, I’d like to take in a lot of games but they cost too much. Here’s a Bleacher Report about the Ray’s financial dilemma.

Worried about a potential Rays bankruptcy, St. Pete hiring lawyer

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The standoff over Tropicana Field hasn’t hit the courts yet, but St. Petersburg is hiring a law firm just in case.
City records show that the city attorney’s office has been negotiating for legal services with Brown Rudnick LLP, a law firm with 200 lawyers.
Under a proposed legal contract, the firm would provide advice to the city regarding the Tampa Bay Rays’ contract to play at Tropicana Field.
What’s notable is the specialty of the New York lawyer who drew up Brown Rudnick’s contract terms: bankruptcy law.
The city is concerned that the Rays might file bankruptcy as a way to get out of its stadium contract, City Attorney John Wolfe said. The city has no evidence the team is planning to do that, though, he said.
Bankruptcy has “been mentioned in various articles as one of the possibilities, and we want to have a lawyer ready to go in the event the Rays decide they no longer want to honor their contract,” Wolfe said. Read the entire story in Bleacher Report.
Fuld, Damon pack punch at top of the order
Rays Number Two Hitter Johnny Damon hits another one to continue
his 14-game hitting streak
and extended his walk-off hit total to six

MINNEAPOLIS — With Sam Fuld leading off and Johnny Damon batting second, the Rays have one of the most productive top-of-the-order duos they have had in years.

Entering Thursday’s games, Fuld was batting .350, with a home run, eight RBIs, a .411 on-base percentage and a league-leading 10 stolen bases. Damon was hitting .260, with four home runs and 19 RBIs, which leads all No. 2 hitters in the Majors.
“Those two guys together is kind of fun to watch,” said Rays manager Joe Maddon. “I really think if we just keep these guys rested and well, in that regard, I think that you’re going to see a pretty good level of performance on a regular basis. I think that’s the key to both of them performing well is making sure that we don’t permit them to get tired.”
Rays Outfielder Sam Fuld

Fuld is batting at a .351 clip in the leadoff spot, which leads the American League. In the 15 games Fuld and Damon have batted at the top of the order, the Rays are 9-6, and the two have combined to score 38 of 68 runs scored by the Rays in those games.

Damon’s first-inning single Wednesday night extended his hitting streak to 14 games, which is the longest April streak in club history and the ninth longest streak overall. His second RBI Wednesday night was the Major League leading sixth game-winning RBI this season for Damon.
Damon singled in the second inning of Thursday’s Game 1 of the Rays’ doubleheader against the Twins to tack onto the streak.
“Sam has been very productive in his first at-bat of the game, doing something that permits us to score first,” Maddon said. “One of our goals is to score first, and they’re definitely helping us do that.”

>Former Yankee Damon Now Leads Out In Dugout


Johnny Damon leads “players only meeting” as Rays fall to 0-6


Apr 8, 2011, 10:47 AM EDT
players only meeting

Yesterday the Rays lost their sixth straight gameto begin the season and afterward Johnny Damonled “a brief players-only meeting,” according to Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times.
Topkin reports that “Damon didn’t talk for long, and he wasn’t the only one, as Felipe Lopez also spoke up, in stressing to the others to stay positive.”
If a team goes on a big winning streak following a players-only meeting it tends to become a big story, as people assume it turned things around, but short of that they’re mostly forgotten within a few days. That’ll probably happen here as well, but I do find it interesting that the two guys leading the meeting, Damon and Lopez, are new to the team this season. In fact, Lopez wasn’t even on the Opening Day roster.
They’re both veterans, but I’m guessing the whole concept loses a little something when the rah-rah speeches are coming from two guys everyone else on the team met six weeks ago. Neither player has actually won a game as a member of the Rays yet and Damon is hitting .053 through six games.