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Well, for one thing, it's the coolest high school newspaper in all the land. Watch our video and find out more.
Just about everyone knows someone who has been bullied, in ways big and small. Understandably, though, many victims are reluctant to speak about their experiences. We found some who aren't.
By Taylor Gaines, Newsome High
Sweep! The three-game winning streak against the New York Yankees in the Rays' first home outing of the season bodes well for Tampa Bay. Projected by many to finish first or second in the revamped and powerful American League East, the Rays are dealing with arguably the highest expectations since trying to follow up their World Series run in 2009. But led by Evan Longoria, Ben Zobrist and a strong young core of starting pitchers, the Rays look poised to contend with the big boys for another 162-game grind.
Following a thrilling 7-6 victory over the Greatest Closer of All Time and the rival New York Yankees on Opening Day in front of a sold-out crowd of 34,078, it’s time for the first edition of Extreme Overreactions:
Carlos Peña is back!!! (3 for 5, HR, 5 RBI, 2 KO) Rays fans should know what to expect from Carlos Peña by now. He is still the same player he was when he hit 28 home runs and batted .196 for the Rays in 2010. He exemplifies the modern-day all-or-nothing player. There will be games where he hits two, maybe three home runs and there will be games when he strikes out four or five times. When you look at the back of his baseball card at the end of the year, he’ll have around 30 home runs, 80-90 RBI, and a sub-.230 batting average. He’ll probably give fans a few moments to remember and a lot to forget.
Shields is going to experience a serious regression this year. (5 IP, 9 H, 6 ER, 10.80 ERA) Although Shields’ first start was undoubtedly shaky and he only managed to strike out three batters compared with three walks, it is much too early to hit the panic button on Big Game James. He experienced a breakout 2011, throwing more complete games (11) than the Red Sox and Yankees combined and lead the Rays with 16 wins. He is only 30 years old and may be right in the middle of his prime. It should be taken into account that his first start was against one of the most potent offenses in the American League and it's early in the season; he is still trying to work out the kinks in his delivery. If this pattern begins to develop over a string of four or five starts, then fans should begin to worry.
Desmond Jennings will make Rays fans forget about BJ Upton. (2 for 4, 2 R, BB) After being able to watch Jennings finish out August and September with the Rays last season, hopes were high for the former 10th-round draft pick. At 25, Jennings is starting to come into his own as a player and can bring a new dynamic to the Rays on both sides of the ball. His quick feet and decent pop can make him a 20-homer, 50-steal guy for the Rays in the near future. He slots into the leadoff spot nicely and can chase down a lot of balls in center field. There will probably be a lot of days like the one he had against the Yankees on Opening Day.
Mariano Rivera is done. (0.1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 54.00 ERA) Has Father Time finally caught up with Mariano Rivera? Baseball’s all-time saves leader is 42 years old and seems to be leaning toward retirement after this season. The only question is whether or not he can make it through this season intact. He looked very hittable against the Rays as Jennings, Zobrist and Peña all attacked Rivera’s cutter early in the count. While it’s easy to watch this outing and rule Rivera out as an elite closer, it is just too early to write off a guy who has made 77 saves since turning 40 with an ERA below 2.00. Give him a few more save attempts before considering that a great career may be coming to an abrupt halt.
Rays fans are finally out in full force. (SOLD OUT, 34,078) For the first time I can remember, there seemed to be significantly more Rays fans than Yankees fans at the Trop. Coming to St. Pete used to be a home game for the Bronx Bombers, as Yankees fans would dwarf Rays fans on the road. With the last few years of continued success the Rays have strung together, it seems things have begun to take a turn for the better. However, Opening Day magic doesn't last forever, and as the season carries on into the dog days of summer, Rays fans will probably die off, leading to another summer of new stadium talks. Although it would be great for the Rays if I was proved wrong, I just have a hard time seeing Tropicana sell out more than a few times this season. On a side note, if the place does continue to sell out, I wouldn’t recommend bringing kids to the game. The obscenities and raucous behavior of Rays fans on Opening Day isn’t the type of environment I would want my kid to see his first baseball game in.
Times photo | Dirk Shadd
Sean Boldger of Fort Myers celebrates after Carlos Pena delivers the winning hit as the Rays come from behind to beat the New York Yankees in the bottom of the ninth inning on opening day in St. Petersburg Friday evening.