As November weeks go, this could be quite an interesting one for the Rays.
The headline event is Thursday's announcement of the AL Cy Young Award. While most predictions and educated guesses have the honors going to either Seattle's Felix Hernandez or New York's CC Sabathia, there is at least a chance that Rays LHP David Price will have enough support to slip into the top spot.
At the least, he'll become the franchise leader in Cy Young votes. In their first 12 seasons, Rays pitchers have gotten exactly one — a lone third-place nod for Roberto Hernandez in 1999 (when Pedro Martinez was the unanimous winner).
Before the big event, the AL rookie of the year will be announced Monday, with RHP Wade Davis and C John Jaso likely to get some votes behind Texas RHP Neftali Feliz and Detroit OF Austin Jackson, and the AL manager of the year award Wednesday, with Joe Maddon a potential third-place finisher behind Minnesota's Ron Gardenhire and Texas' Ron Washington.
There also will be some significant conversations, and potential developments, held in Orlando, where the game's GMs and owners are meeting.
The topic most relevant to the Rays is the expansion of the playoffs to include a second wild-card team, which would make their life in the AL East a bit more bearable. The players union and commissioner Bud Selig are in favor, though any change in format has to be negotiated and is not likely to go into effect until 2012.
Other items of discussion that could affect the Rays are changes to the draft — expanding it worldwide, defining bonuses by a slotting system, permitting picks to be traded — and shifting to more of a balanced schedule.
Plus, Selig and Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg are likely to chat, though with no summit session planned on the stalled stadium issue, no ultimatums are expected.
FAMILY AFFAIR: Rays fans may remember Charlie LaMar as the young son of former GM Chuck LaMar who was occasionally running around on the field and one time ran into Carl Crawford, knocking him from the lineup.
Charlie is 18 now, a lefty pitcher finishing up at Clearwater Central Catholic who just received his "letter of assurance" from the Naval Academy, where he'll play baseball and train to be an officer.
Charlie and proud papa Chuck, now an exec with the Phillies, say those formative years, plus pitching tips from Larry Rothschild and Chuck Hernandez, and a helping hand from Vince Naimoli and Naval Academy board member Frank Gren, were key.
"Without all that I wouldn't have had the aspirations to do this," Charlie said. "It sure seems like a long time ago though."
RAYS RUMBLINGS: 2011 ticket prices are due out this week, and while some are going up, most are expected to stay the same or, especially at the low end, come down. Also, the tarps may be rolled further down to cover more empty seats. … A decision to replace the current FieldTurf with a new version of AstroTurf is close to final. … From the rumored rumors department: The White Sox are interested in RHP Rafael Soriano, Phillies in RHP Joaquin Benoit, Nationals in 1B Carlos Peña ("We've been Carlos Peña guys here," GM Mike Rizzo said) and Braves in ex-Ray Pat Burrell, and the Angels are making Crawford their top priority. … It says something that SS Tim Beckham — the top pick of the 2008 draft, ahead of Giants C Buster Posey and others — was dropped from Baseball America's list of top 10 (or even 12) Rays prospects. … OF Jermaine Dye, who sat out 2010 because he didn't get offered enough money, told Fox Sports he's ripe to return and the Rays are among the teams who have contacted him. … The Terry Collins emerging as a favorite for the Mets manager's job was a Rays coach in 2001 and is a longtime bay area resident.