Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

The Point After

Question for 2008 Rays: business or pleasure?

This week's electronic conversation between Times sports columnists John Romano and Gary Shelton:

JR: Gary, I haven't been this excited about a team on opening day in a long, long time. So, what do you say, are you going to come with me to watch the Durham Bulls play?

GS: No, but I'm glad you're taking your demotion well. Work on a few transitions, and you'll be back up before you know it.

JR: It was all about service time. If I write obits at the Durham Herald-Sun for five weeks, the Times can freeze your salary for the next five years.

GS: If we send you to Montgomery for 10 weeks, can I have a raise?

JR: You promised not to mention that. Seriously, though, Evan Longoria and Jeff Niemann both handled their demotions well even though they outperformed guys who made the Rays roster. I think we both agree these were wise business decisions by the Rays, but does that make it right?

GS: One of the finest lines ever spoken came from North Dallas Forty. "Every time I call it a business, you call it a sport, and every time I call it a sport, you call it a business." Yes, it's the right move for financial reasons. But if I want to cheer for good business moves, I'll buy a Merrill Lynch jersey.

JR: If I were running the Rays, I would have done the same thing because of the low-cost, high-reward factor of service time. But here's another consideration: Sluggers cost a lot, starting pitchers cost a lot, and, sometimes, credibility costs a lot. Because they didn't want to pay, the Rays lost some credibility in the bleachers and in the clubhouse.

GS: No doubt about it. But credibility in springtime, or the lack of it, won't matter when they start keeping score. So who comes back first, Longoria or Niemann?

JR: A month ago, Longoria was the obvious answer. I still think he makes it back quicker. But Niemann was strong in the spring, and the Rays rotation looks a little shaky this morning. Who's the biggest surprise on this team, good or bad?

GS: How about Andy Sonnanstine? I think he'll eat a lot of innings and win 12 games. Your surprise guy?

JR: How about Michael Kalt? I think he'll eat a lot of chicken at civic clubs and lose the stadium vote.

GS: If the vote for the new stadium passes, we could call it "The House That Alka-Seltzer Built."

JR: Hmm, I wonder if the Rays would be willing to build the stadium in Durham first. You know, just for a little extra seasoning.

GS: It's a fine idea. The Rays could save a little money, and they could call the new stadium up three weeks into the season. Provided, of course, that it doesn't get hurt.

Question for 2008 Rays: business or pleasure? 03/29/08 [Last modified: Saturday, March 29, 2008 5:30pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2015 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours