Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Cal Ripken praises Maddon, Rays

PORT CHARLOTTE

Rays manager Joe Maddon was excited to talk last week with Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, the former Orioles great who was in town to promote and sign his latest children's book.

The feeling was mutual.

Ripken — whose company operates myriad youth camps and tournaments, and owns minor-league teams (including the Rays' Class A Stone Crabs), and who may have bigger, or big-league, aspirations — praised Maddon for his management style and said the Rays are a great organizational model.

"It's been remarkable to look at" what they've done, Ripken said. "I've had some glimpses inside. I love my conversation with Joe Maddon earlier. Every time I get a chance to talk to him, I will poke around in areas that I know he's passionate about, and that gives me a good understanding.

"The organization has drafted well, developed well. With less resources, they've continued to be more than a competitor. They're playoff-caliber teams every single year. And it's wonderful to see. Not only is chemistry important in a team, but once you do it for a while, like Tampa Bay has done, you develop a culture, an organizational culture, that doesn't run itself, but it's easier to come in each and every year.

"So it's been wonderful to watch, because what it proves is that it's about the baseball expertise, not necessarily all the money you have. The money you have as a big franchise or a big market, you can erase some of your mistakes or you can add to your depth because of injuries and those sorts of things, which is a value. But what this model proves is that it's your baseball expertise that actually allows you to be competitive all the time."

HELPING HAND: Rays TV man Dewayne Staats emcees and pitching great Roy Halladay hosts a bingo event Wednesday at Clearwater's Ruth Eckerd Hall benefiting pediatric cancer causes. Tickets $25-$100; see factrbaseball.com for details.

RAYS RUMBLINGS: Selling more than 10,000 ticket flex packs (three, six and nine games) is a good start to that campaign; more relevant is how many buyers are new customers and/or are previous ones buying more. … After re-reading the mushy, cheesy romantic notes he wrote in wooing now-wife Julianna that are included in their soon-to-be-released book Double Play, Ben Zobrist joked: "I'd like to punch 19-year-old Ben Zobrist." … The Rays tested a mesh design among concepts for the new batter's eye at Tropicana Field before going with a solid dark blue wall. The new bar area will be named but not themed, so no tiki bar. … Sun Sports' season preview, hosted by Todd Kalas, debuts after today's game telecast. … The Rays being off Monday on St. Patrick's Day didn't deter mlb.com from selling green items with the team logo, though no longer a jersey that was posted in February.

Comments
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Kevin Kiermaier returns to the Rays

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Kevin Kiermaier returns to the Rays

Times sports columnist Tom Jones joins Rick Stroud to discuss Kevin Kiermaier's return to the Rays, whether Victor Hedman should win the Norris Trophy for the NHL's best defenseman, Bucs expectations for this season and Barry Trotz's next c...
Updated: 5 hours ago
How the Rays really won Tuesday’s game over Astros

How the Rays really won Tuesday’s game over Astros

There was some interesting inside baseball elements that factored into the late innings of Tuesday's 2-1 Rays win.* First, on Matt Duffy's double off reliever Hector Rondon to lead off the eighth.Duffy said he doesn't like "to guess" what a pitcher i...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Rays’ Kevin Kiermaier returns, with energy to spare

Rays’ Kevin Kiermaier returns, with energy to spare

HOUSTON — Energy.That's what Kevin Kiermaier said he felt he'd provide most in rejoining the Rays Tuesday against the Astros after missing two-plus months recovering from thumb surgery."I like to think I bring energy on both sides of the ball, ...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Rays journal: Blake Snell outlasts Justin Verlander in 2-1 win

Rays journal: Blake Snell outlasts Justin Verlander in 2-1 win

HOUSTON — The starting pitcher walked seven over seven otherwise solid innings Tuesday. That seemed weird enough for the Rays. Then the next pitcher they brought in was the one who started Monday's game. Even more bizarre.And then there was thi...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays-Astros

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays-Astros

This is how odd LHP Blake Snell's night was — he became the first pitcher to work seven or more innings and walk at least seven since Edwin Jackson threw his 149-pitch, eight-walk no-hitter at the Rays on June 25, 2010.If you weren't aware of t...
Published: 06/19/18
For starters: Rays at Astros, with Kiermaier back and an ace-high matchup

For starters: Rays at Astros, with Kiermaier back and an ace-high matchup

UPDATE, 6:45: Cash said Smith will continue to play a lot, getting time in LF and RF, meaning something of a rotation system for rookie Johnny Field and veteran Carlos Gomez.UPDATE, 4:49: Kiermaier is batting leadoff and playing center as expected, w...
Published: 06/19/18
So, how exactly did the Rays end up losing Monday?

So, how exactly did the Rays end up losing Monday?

The Rays lost Monday's game when Sergio Romo failed them in the ninth inning.Called on to protect what was whittled to a one-run lead from 4-0, Romo got off to a bad start, walking the first batter on four pitches and then allowing a single to the se...
Published: 06/19/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Rays continue to struggle in close games

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Rays continue to struggle in close games

The Rays blow a four-run lead in Houston and lose on a walkoff hit to the Astros in the opener of their three-game series. It's the 19th one-run loss for the Rays this season as they continue to struggle in close games. Fortunately, reinforcements ar...
Published: 06/19/18
Rays DFA Rob Refsnyder to make room for Kevin Kiermaier

Rays DFA Rob Refsnyder to make room for Kevin Kiermaier

The Rays made official after Monday's game that CF Kevin Kiermaier would be activated on Tuesday.And to make room on the 40- and 25 man rosters, they designated for assignment OF Rob Refsnyder.Acquired from the Indians for cash considerations just be...
Published: 06/19/18
Rays journal: A 4-0 lead disappears in loss at Houston

Rays journal: A 4-0 lead disappears in loss at Houston

HOUSTON — The Rays brought up several of their top prospects so they can get as much experience as possible.And Monday that included seeing how the relentless defending champion Astros worked their way back from an early four-run deficit to sco...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/19/18