MINNEAPOLIS — Rays officials from principal owner Stuart Sternberg down are excited about the single-admission doubleheader they scheduled for June 10 as a novel and retro experience, including a between-games banner parade.
But player rep Chris Archer said Saturday that he is not happy about the decision, which was made months ago, or the process that led to it, dividing the team.
"I don't think it's fair it was even an option, was even a thought," Archer said. "I don't know what the benefit is."
Archer said "one of the (Rays' four) GMs might have said something about it" late last season, but by the time it was officially presented to the players by MLB and the union, "we were just told, 'Hey, we plan on doing this unless you guys say no.' "
The Rays' idea was to make the doubleheader, MLB's first scheduled since July 2011, an event rather than play a traditional four-game series with Oakland, and in return get off Monday, June 12.
Archer's primary concern is what he termed a "brutal" schedule for both teams that has them playing four games in about 45 hours — Friday (June 9) at 7:10, two on June 10 starting at 2:10 (with 45 minutes in between) then Sunday (June 11) at 1:10.
But he said when he presented it to the position players, they liked the idea of getting Monday off, breaking up what would have been a stretch of 16 straight days.
"Nobody was happy about it, but it's not fair for the (starting) pitchers to really make that decision because we can go home early and show up later," he said. "I left it in the position players' hands and that's what they wanted to do. But it's not because it's what they wanted to do, it's what they thought would be best for them, would be a day off their feet."
Plus, Archer noted, under an unrelated new team travel plan, they won't get the off day at home, leaving after the Sunday game for Toronto, where they play June 13.