The Rays have struggled. So have the KC Royals. So… that’s not a ton of fun to go into this series. Let’s find some hatred.
The Rays. Oh, but for a shining moment, under Joe Maddon and a cast of young, exciting players, you had your moment in the sun. You finished dead last in nine of your first 10 years of existence, then rolled to a surprise AL pennant. You had James Shields, Matt Garza, Scott Kazmir and David Price to anchor the rotation and a core of Evan Longoria, Carl Crawford, Melvin Upton and Ben Zobrist. Not a one of them was older than 26.
Only Longoria is left.
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Now it’s back to sub-.500 records and sadness. I’d make fun of you but I have looked at the standings recently and let me just say… KC barbecue > Cigar City Beer.
At least you can take solace in the fact that Maddon is slowly morphing into the Phil Jackson of MLB—fun glasses, unorthodox methods, real low-key vibes. Phil’s ruination of the New York Knicks may give you a preview of Maddon… 40 years and two handfuls of rings from now.
Top Five to Hate the Rays
This category is getting a respite this week. Hating the Rays is like hating a rescue dog; you can’t hate something helpless and sad, something which got dealt such a cruddy hand in life that it’s the subject of constant relocation rumors yet can’t seem to escape Tampa.
Opponent Most Likely to Start a Brawl?
Chris Archer is awfully chatty sometimes and once nearly threw hands with George Springer, which is the craziest thing I’ve ever known someone to do without the aid of narcotics. He’s also demonstrative on the mound and already threw behind Jose Bautista (a top-five “Don’t cross me, I will absolutely take a swing at you” guy) this season.
History of Bad Blood with the KC Royals?
None on the field, but I’m sure the Rays are still a little salty that Dayton Moore stole Shields and Wade Davis and got two pennants and a title out of it. I would be, if I were them.
Do They Have Bad Humans on the Roster?
I’d hazard yes, but they’re the Rays. Outside of Longoria, Archer and Kevin Kiermaier (legitimately fun player!), I wouldn’t know a Rays player if they were standing in front of me right now.
Most Butt Player?
This is unfair, but when you’re drafted 1-1 and own a .246 career average, you’re your teams most butt player. Congratulations Tim Beckham!
Royal Most Likely to Light Up the Rays?
Lorenzo Cain has hit .355 for his career against the Rays with a .930 OPS… his most against an opponent he’s seen more than four times. He’s owned against Archer (.500 for his career) and has even enjoyed a bit of luck with a .395 BABIP at Tropicana Field.
Will This Series Be Fun?
No. I’m sorry, but holy cow no. This series stands one chance of being fun, if the Royals bats take off, which they have shown no likelihood of doing. So watching the good young pitchers of a still-bad team dominate the KC Royals in a half-empty stadium for four days stands a good chance of being a bad time.
Go Royals! Should be a treat.