Archive for category Tampa Bay Rays

Tampa Bay vs. NYY

Posted by on Wednesday, 7 March, 2012

March 07, 2011
George M. Steinbrenner Field
Tampa, Florida

Tampa Bay Rays vs. New York Yankees

The Yankees are at 2-2 to start the 2012 Spring Training Season.  The Rays are  at 0-4.

Tampa Bay is in for the challenge of facing Yankees #18 RHP Hiroki Kuroda.  The native from Osaka, Japan is new to the Yankees pitching staff.  After spending four  seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers, it is anticipated Kuroda will be taking over the spot left open with the departure of A.J. Burnett, pitching 2nd in the Yankees rotation following ace of the team #52 LHP C.C. Sabathia.

This is Spring Training so win/loss is not as important to the pitcher as is practicing pitches.
Among all Japan-born pitchers ever to play in the Major Leagues, Kuroda’s 3.45 career ERA is the lowest all-time among pitchers who have made more than 12 career starts, while his 523 strikeouts rank fourth and his 41 wins are fifth.  In 2011, he recorded the third-lowest single season ERA (3.07) among Japanese born pitchers to qualify for a Major League ERA title, behide only Hideo Nomo (2.54 in 1995) and Daisuke Matsuzaka (2.90 in 2008).

No Rookie, originally signed by the Dodgers as a non-draft free agent in December, 2007, Kuroda spent 11 seasons (1997-2007) pitching for the Hiroshima Tokyo Carp of the Japanese Central League.

In Hiroki Kuroda’s first ever start in a New York Yankees uniform he pitched two innings, 3 hits, 2 strikeouts and allowed 3 runs.  He practiced  his strike-out pitch against Tampa Bay batters throwing 27 pitches of which 20 were strikes.

After his outing, in the Yankees Clubhouse, Kuroda spoke through his translator expressing his excitment at getting his one game in.
When questioned about his personal goals, he responded “I would rather not talk about my personal goals but instead talk about the goals of the team and my helping to win a Championship”.

Back to the game between Tampa Bay and New York Yankees:
Tampa scored  three runs in the 2nd inning and one run in the 6th.  The Yankees remained scoreless.

And, so, on this day in Spring Training history, Tampa Bay Rays practiced their game against the Yankees and came out victorious for the first time in this Spring month.  It was a shut-out by Tampa .

Tampa Bay Rays:  4 R – 10H – 6 LOB
NY Yankees:  0 R – 4  Hits – 4 LOB

Winning Pitcher:  James Shields (1-0)
Losing Pitcher:  Hiroki Kuroda (0-1)

13 Pitchers were used in the game:  6 by Tampa – 7  by New York
A total of 36 players practiced in the game: 18 of  Tampa – 18 of New York 
Time of the game: 2:31 
Fans in attendance: 10,846 

Countdown: 30 Days until Opening Day

Tropicana Field – a new ballpark

Posted by on Tuesday, 19 July, 2011

July 19, 2011
Tropicana Field
St. Petersburg, Florida

New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays

They were called the Tampa Bay Devil Rays when Tropicana Field received the new kids on the diamond. The juicy park had remained vacant of baseball for many seasons.  Finally, in 1998 , the boys of summer uniformed in white and blue took their positions at the bases, the pitcher stood at the rubber of the mound, the benches  in the dugout were occupied and the bullpen was in full practice.  It was time for the 13th expansion team to play ball.

Time has passed.  Almost  thirteen seasons  have come and gone.  The team dropped the Devil from their name, during 2008 they were the American League East Champions and went on to become the American League Champions. They completed the 2010 season American League East Champions.  The Tampa Bay Rays continue competing and  they want to win a World Series Championship  in a new ballpark. They also want to be in place  for an All Star Game.

After roving through Major League Baseball for the past 30 seasons, to my surprise, yesterday I set eyes on Tropicana Field during my very first Tampa Bay Rays  baseball game at their ballpark.  I really have not covered  games at many other ballparks but I have been to Cleveland and I have admired  Baltimore.  I  foll0wed the birth of Citi Field from ground breaking to first game.  I witnessed the construction of  the new Yankee Stadium, as  it finally stood in splendor and abundance  across 161st Street in the shadow of its namesake.

I was not prepared for my first impression of  Tropicana Field. It was love at first pitch.  It is an intimate ballpark, cozy and quaint.  Small by todays standards. It’s like a place that time forgot.  Yikes, this is what the ballparks of yester-year looked like, with all its nooks and cranies. Only pictures taken will be the best way to describe it.  It is a ballpark where I can remark  of  its different seating areas “I would like to sit there to see a game”.  As we circle the outfield,  looking  at the signage, we take note that there is no fancy corporate sponsorship signage on display.  It seems as if all were all naturely place here and there and everywhere with no assistance from the folks at Home and Garden.  KANE’s Furniture creatively markets  their name to inform the fans of the “Ks” in the game.  There is no “ribbon” circling Tropicana Field.

Then the ugly hit me.  The Dome.  It resembles  the tent top of a three ring circus.  And, finally there is the faux turf and dirt, a carpet of green and brown. 

The Yankees are in town to play.  There are a lot of Yankees fans at Tropicana Field.  The fans are unsure as to whether to boo or cheer the recent 3,000 hits player, shortstop, Captain of the team, Derek Jeter.

At the top of the 7th inning, as Tampa Bay takes the lead from the Yankees 3 -2, the fans come alive for their team at Tropicana Field.  On this night, it is a win situation at Tropicana Field for the Tampa Bay Rays. 

Stay tuned.