Tagged: tampa bay

Robbie Alomar goes YA-YA’S

I lived in Tampa and worked Clearwater, Dunedin, Port Richey and such when Robbie Alomar starred for the Toronto Blue Jays. I always considered him a great and totally underrated ballplayer, Hall of Fame caliber. I even spoke to him a few times.

So, I had a soft spot for Alomar. And then some.
See, when somebody asked him for the name of his favorite restaurant, he came back Ya-Ya’s. Actually, he said: “I. Roberto Alomar, Blue Yays second baseman love Ya Ya’s chicken.”
ME TOO! I loved Ya Ya’s. They had like six or seven outlets around the Tampa Bay area, served awesome healhy grilled chicken dinners at reasonable prices, fast. Great salads and sides.
So when Robbie went Ya-Ya’s, so did I during my frequent visits to the place. YA-YA’S!!!
And now this. The AIDS thing. Amazingly given Alomar’s frequent upstaging by others over his baseball years, he couldn’t even get no respect for a GIGANTIC SCANDAL, probably. The legal paperwork spewed forth from a palimony suit on the AIDS problem just when the ARod news broke, so Alomar, even in possible demise, was upstaged.
But the Alomar affair has so many angles, it’s hard to know where to start. #1: He has HIV and AIDS? Huh? He was raped as a 17-year-old by men ouside his first minor league team’s park? Huh? And so much more, like his seven-year live-in girlfriend — they call that a wife at many trailer parks — and her past as a “champion female arm-wrestler”, as shown in old clips. ARE YOU KIDDING ME!
Considering we can count on no fingers the number of acknowledged Major League Baseball. or former MLB players with AIDS, or victims of rape for that matter, this story would be blown up al over the hemisphere.
Barely a whimper however this week. We’ll hear a lot more. You heard it here first.

What…A disappointment? Rays didn’t rule, far from it.

The World Series was a bust. Well, everywhere but Philadelphia, but nevertheless. Let us count the ways.

Firstly, as the lowest television ratings per capita ever showed, the series was of limited interest outside of a few places. Add to that the cold, rain and delayed games. A true mess.
So, they played gazillion games this year — 95 percent I watched via sat-dish and cable — and then saved the best for wind, cold, rain and while exciting at times, a World Series not seen nor heard.
In other words, anti and climax.
These series mean a lot to communities in terms of pride and finances. However, if the games are to be played with integrity to reflect a true outcome of a six month season, they also are crying out for a neutral site where they can be played without interruption under proper circumstances.
On another note, my disappointment was personal having worn the Rays cap since 1998. They couldn’t quite pull of the 1969 Amazin’ Mets repeat. The reason was the same as why the Mets won. Pitching. the Rays just didn’t have the relief pitchers behind their front-line guys.
Relief pitching can be bought and cheap, so I’m sure the Rays will address this in the off-season. However, as the Rockies showed last year, and has been shown a multitude of times, getting back to the World Series can be difficult, perhaps non-possible. The Rays are in the AL East. The Yankees and Red Sox will be strong next year. The Blue Jays are good, although perhaps downsizing a bit. the Orioles are not as bad as they looked at most times last year and with a pitching upgrade can be competitive.
We shall see if the Rays are one-hit wonders or have some traction. I hope so, but I’m not betting the farm system on it.



Barry Bonds and why not the…Rays? (Also, an Olympic  moment).

Let’s put the devil back into the rays.

At this point, the Bonds baggage actually can be a good thing. Really.
The Rays need a power left-handed bat. Bonds can DH.
The steroid stuff is so tired and old. We all know he’s going to prison for perjury next year. So, he has six weeks to help a cinderella team win the pennant.
It’s all good PR. And Bonds can help the Rays.
Since the steroids are a given and we know he has to be clean, the controversy on this point is moot. Barry is at St. Pete to play ball and win the pennant so who can doubt that each day the focus wll be on the team and the win, not so much on Bonds. And since everyone knows the baggage situation, nobody is going to care all that much. And if Bonds does deflect some attention, that’s good too, since it takes media glare off other players who can relax and play loose.
It’s surprising this hasn’t taken place as of Aug. 15.
I predict it will happen…
(And speaking of which in a strange paradoxical thought pattern that popped just in my brain now: What about Dale Berra?)
Olympics Aside

The U.S. baseball team really choked against South Korea the other day — or was it night.
They rebounded against the Dutch, ha-ha.
Davey Johnson looked sick to his stomach in the Korea loss and with good reason. Surely, these guys can respond better to pressure. Unfortunately not, as they did a redux against Cuba the other night/day.
Can you say sayonara? The Japanese team is loaded with top pros and the Cubans are the Cubans, despite half their real team now playing in the U.S. 
But who cares, I got a badminton match to watch. What’s the birdie over/under on Malaysia-Sri Lanka?

Sure signs of the apocalypse, and other stories

An unassisted triple play. We’re talking Asdrubal Cabrera to Cabrera to Cabrera and rally stop. This was a real treat. With that in mind, let’s take it truly around the horn this session. I’m planning more in-depth examinations of several issues in coming days, including the demise of the Padres, the sudden downfall of offense in general, and an investigation into coach Wayne Graham’s super powers, but for now…

End of the world as we know it,  REM Fans

The Mayan calendar ends on Dec. 21, 2012. Some say that date signals the end of the world as humanity knows it.

Begging to differ. For today may have signaled a more immediate end to life on Spaceship Earth. As the chosen ones, myself somewhat included, say, why was today different from all other days?

Because today the Rays found first place in the AL East. And it was good. Vince Namoli is rolling in his grave. Let the premature celebrations begin!

After a decade of turmoil, incredibly inept management decisions, terrible clubhouse mixes and a constant struggle to keep up with the rest of the league, the Rays made it to first place, alone and unbowed, even if just for one fine day in May.

Gabe Gross provided the final honors on May’s lucky 13th for the Rays. He drove in the winning run about 10:45 p.m. Tampa time, in the bottom of the 11th Inning.

(Sidebar: Hope Gross stays a Ray. Last time he drove in the winning run in extra innings this year he got traded from the Bruise Cruise for all his troubles.)

Hallelujah, already.

I’m still a bit skeptical. I don’t agree totally with this sign them to long-term contracts while they’re young approach. The Indians pioneered the concept in the 1980s and it worked for them. A bad contract, or two, and that strategy can sink a franchise. So, the Rays better get that new waterfront stadium just in case.

But the passion, finally, got there from here. Rays fans are coming out of their caves. The game Tuesday actually found more Rays fans than Yankees fans in the St. Pete Orange Funhouse. Shocking.

I follow the Rays with more than a modicum of interest. When the team was founded, I was a Tampa guy. I bought a “Devil” Rays cap the first day it was issued. I wear the mark of the Rays while walking around Rancho Santa Fe although the many changes in cap style have burned a hole in my pocketbook.

Today is different from all other days and I don’t care about tomorrow. Pass me a Cuban already. I’m eating this up black beans and rice followed by guava turnover style.

Ichiro joke

Most fans by now appreciate Ichiro has better than a working knowledge of the English language, translator and entourage notwithstanding. Sort of similar to Sammy Sosa — Remember him? — anywhere besides a congressional steroids hearing.

As relayed by Michael Young to Tom Grieve to me (to you): Ichiro rolled into Second Base. Grasshopper, he said to the Young one. Grasshopper? Yes, Ichiro added, grasshopper, they named a drink after you. Pause. Really, said grasshopper, Ichiro continued, they named the drink Steve?

Say hello, Kung Fu Master Po, David Carradine division.

Please hold all applause until the end of the column.

Other funnies

1. Ryan Dempster. He does a pretty mean Harry Caray impression. Mean as in don’t wait for any call-ups to David Letterman’s impressionists week although ventriloquists week may not be out of the question.

Saturday Night Live might work though, too. The Caray impression was more like an impression of Will Farrell doing Harry Caray.

Now, let’s get some runs!


2. Umbrella night at Kansas City. They came in handy. It rained and rained and rained. But that’s not all. With fans disguised as blue-on-white umbrellas, after rain delays and a stoppage due to a tornado warning, Billy Butler won the game in the bottom of the 9th with a homer to Left Field.

Not. Just kidding.

The ball bounced off the top of the wall and back into play for double trouble. Nevertheless, the game-winning fireworks went off as Butler remained on a pedestal at Second Base. Not to worry, the Royals prevailed in the end. Umbrellas down.

Less funny are the Royals on Sundays. The blue tops look good. The white pants look gay. Switch out the swatches. Or get the Fab Five from ***** Eye for the Straight Guy on the case.

Uniformal oddity

Waiting for the start of Padres-Cubs, the television guys replayed the final inning of Jim Maloney’s Aug. 19, 1965 10-inning no-hitter against the Cubs. Maloney threw 187 pitches in walking 10 and striking out 12.

Odd, true, but truly odd: Reds uniforms. The numbers were above the names. Those unis are crying out for turn back the clock day.

Miscellaneous musings

Robert Earle, Robert Earle…Keen, that is; won’t hold being an Aggie against you ’cause you’re so cool. Keen performs May 17 after the Astros-Rangers game. And remember: “The Party Never Ends”.

Heath Bell gets on his bike — kiddy division, handlebars and training wheels — in promoting Padres games on TV. I knew Evel Knievel and you, sir, are no Evel Knievel.

The 100th anniversary of Mother’s Day on Sunday was a cause for regret to some. Those stuck on 1908, anyway; you know, the last time the Cubs won the World Series. Look it up. (Bless you mom)!

Tony Romo was guest conductor at Wrigley Field’s 7th Inning Stretch histrionics. His voice was wide right. He must be hitting it big though. First time in recent memory the booth visitor didn’t have to stay the entire bottom of the 7th. Take that, Bonnie Hunt.

Finally, upon further review, in mascot news

Give up your day job!

The guy dressed out as a giant human hot dog at Cleveland was more alarming than pink bats or elephants at Charlie Finley closing time.

Where is Krazy Krab when you need him, er, it?

The Cleveland hot dog is a guy calling out for a stadium mascot gig. Tastes good, less filling, but can he dance?

Cliff Lee, Fausto Carmona, No No Sabathia, take heed. The heck with shutouts, this is a shout-out. The hot dog guy may be the actual key to your success.

Borat, respect.

And I am out of here…