Because I’m going to watch it anyways, so I might as well pester you with my rambling thoughts in the process.
10:18 Rays win! Rays win! Crawford knocks in Sean Rodriguez and Kelly Shoppach for the walk-off. Who did he hit it off of? You guessed it, Mike Gonzalez, yet another former Braves reliever best known for his goofy, dancing mechanics that may or may not have drawn a few spring training heckles from yours truly during his time with the Braves. Yes, my blogging faded in the closing moments of the game. Lesson learned here: Only live blog games of which you have no rooting interest. I’ll clean this up and make it look pretty later. For now, exuberance.
10:03 First, raw impression of Soriano: This guy sucks. Please send him back to Atlanta. He got out of a very bad spot there, but as we learned with Percival, closers need to throw strikes not waste pitches. Sincerely, Rays fan trying to stay composed while writing.
9:52 Keeping the ex-Braves trend going, new closer Rafael Soriano is in to make his first appearance as a Ray. Unfortunately, it is a non-close situation, and he just gave up a double to his first batter. My coverage is becoming more and more uninspired/bitter.
9:39 In the realm of relievers that they took from the Braves, Lance Cormier is now in the game for the Rays. Cormier finishes out the eighth, and looks to be continuing his momentum from last season.
9:31 Quick Seventh Inning Stretch shout out to The White Kids who are opening up for Roscoe Dash tonight in Tallahassee. May your performance be successful and “All the Way Turned Up.”
9:22 We have our first in-depth reporting job by Kalas tonight. He’s in the TBT Party Deck (aka my place). He interviews the recipients of Longoria’s homer which is only the second home run to ever go into the upper deck left field seats. Party Deck seats cost roughly $12. The same seat at Fenway will cost you your house. Advantage: Trop.
9:17 After six innings, James Shields is pulled from the game. He does not yell at Joe Maddon, flip off the crowd or fight anyone upon returning to the dugout. Therefore, this can be considered uneventful.
9:10 Pat Burrell (another of Mom’s baseball crushes) takes the “big inning feel” out of the sixth with a double play ball. He did this a lot last season, but he’s making $9 million to do it this year instead of $7 million. Good times.
Bottom 6th, solo home run fest continues, this time with Longoria to left. Baltimore 3 Tampa Bay 2. Spark provided. Also, Kevin Kennedy officially becomes the Joe Morgan of the Rays’ broadcast team when he says that Longoria is “on pace” to hit 40+ homers this year. I don’t believe that people keep track of “on pace” on Opening Day, but if they did, wouldn’t Longoria be on pace for an earth-shattering 162?
8:59 Baseball live blogging loses its enthusiasm faster than a college spring semester. I need a spark, people.
Top 6th, Matt Wieters homers to right. Baltimore 3 Tampa Bay 1.
8:53 A new game dedication just came to mind. A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting at Salty Dog happy hour when some random guy noticed my Rays hat and went off on a baseball rant. His theory: the Orioles are going to finish third in the AL East this year while the Rays and Blue Jays battle in the basement. If the Rays win, I dedicate to this live blog to that man and his ignorant prediction. If they don’t, I might be avoiding happy hour this Friday. That’s probably not true.
Bottom 5th: Bartlett hits a double scoring Pat Burrell. Baltimore 2 Tampa Bay 1. Like I said, reverse jinx.
8:38 A problem that is starting to remind me of last season is run production for Shields. Shields was decent last season but received very little run support in a large majority of his starts. Hopefully this is a reverse jinx, but we’re five innings in, and it doesn’t look like too much has changed.
8:25 Finally back, and I missed a run so…Baltimore 2 Tampa Bay 0. Bryan Holt: Worst reporter ever.
8:00 Believe it or not, writing for SC does not garner one official media credentials. Therefore, I am a transient writer and will be changing reporting locations. Post-It Note: Out of office briefly. Be back soon.
7:56 Jones homer landed roughly where I sat for Game 6 of the 2008 ALCS, a devastating experience. How devastating? I was so frustrated that I did not actually see the Rays win Game 7. I’m a bitter sports fan.
Top 3rd: Adam Jones homers to right. Baltimore 1 Tampa Bay 0
7:39 The first of many 2010 Pena strikeouts brings us to Upton in his shiny new sixth spot in the lineup. I dedicate this at-bat to today’s infamous Library West Upton jersey-wearing blonde. Upton grounds out to first. In the words of every “Sportscenter” anchor ever: “How often do you see a guy make a great play on defense and then go down in his next at-bat?” All the time. Maybe next time, blonde girl.
7:33 A camera shot shows Carlos Pena at first, and his jersey is roughly half-way unbuttoned. Interesting to see that the young 2010 baseball season already has its second Tony Montana tribute.
7:30 B.J. Upton makes his first wall-banging over -the-shoulder catch of the season on a deep shot by Matt Wieters to center field. We have begun to kind of take these plays by him for granted, and that is too bad.
7:21 Evan Longoria steps up to the plate. In Tampa, my Mom just stopped folding laundry to watch this at-bat. “He’s so cute.” Longoria strikes out to end the inning. Apparently he doesn’t understand that he needs an excellent performance to promote SC’s upcoming “Longoriaisms” post. Yes, Longoriaisms. Why? Because we’re not a freaking Braves blog, that’s why.
7:16 Jason Bartlett leads off the offensive portion of the season for the Rays and grounds out to third. In other news, Kevin Millwood is still alive. Millwood is familiar with the Rays. And by familiar, I mean that he has spent many a night chasing J.P. Howell and David Price off of his lawn while wearing nothing but white briefs.
7:10 James Shields is set for the first pitch of the season. Yes, his nickname is “Big Game James,” but the title was given to him in Single-A. Take that however you like. Brian Roberts flies out on the first pitch. Say it with me: STTTEEERROOOOIIIDS!!!
7:04 Correction on an earlier note: Kevin Kennedy no longer has a mustache. I already have bad feelings about this season. On second thought, there is now a “Captain Morgan Deck” in center field. Faith in 2010 season restored.
6:52 Time for Rays’ player introductions. Last year they overpaid Michael Buffer to come and butcher everyone’s name. This year they’re sticking with the PA guy. Smart move.
Carl Crawford and Carlos Pena come out for what is almost certainly their last Opening Day with the Rays. I’m going to guess that a good 65 percent of the crowd does not know this. Like I’ve said before: St. Petersburg, a nice spring training town.
Side note: Evan Longoria has apparently gotten his hat back. I was worried sick.
6:41 Opening Day jitters have gotten to me, so this is starting roughly 19 minutes early. Allow me to set the stage: For the first time in the Joe Maddon era, the Rays will open their season at Tropicana Field. You can tell that it’s Opening Day in St. Petersburg because the game is finally a sellout and there is no postgame Third Eye Blind concert. This will make Wednesday’s lack of attendance even more glaringly obvious when 11,000 people show up. For some reason, the Rays and Orioles are the last teams to debut this season. Slightly anti-climatic if you ask me.
Your announce team is Dewayne Staats and Kevin Kennedy. Both have great mustaches, one has a perm. The Strapping Young Lad, Todd Kalas, is on run-around duty. Over the next six months, I will spend an excessive amount of time watching this trio. This is pathetically refreshing to me. The next few hours will also surely test my typing-with-a-cast abilities.