No two ways about it – it has been a tough week for the Rays. I'll spare you the details.The words of NFL Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith from his classic Just for Men commercial sum it up nicely: "Ohhh, it’s baaaaad."
The team is in a slump. Plain and simple. The offense is stalled out. The defense has its moments. Injuries abound, the most concerning of which involve dudes in the starting pitching rotation.
There doesn’t seem to be any middle ground with this team – they’re either playing like contenders or the guys who are part of the pretenders’ entourage. This whole situation reminds me of a nursery rhyme – just substitute "team" for the young lady in this ditty and you’ve got a nice poetic summary:
There was a little girl,
Who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.
When she was good,
She was very, very good,
But when she was bad, she was horrid.
Yep, right now, it’s baaaaad. Horrid, even.
The tough love fan in me is frustrated. It’s a challenge to watch until the bitter end games like the ones played in the past week. And I’d like nothing better than to share three little words with Derek Shelton: Earn. Your. Paycheck. Or tell Joe Madden to stop focusing on catwalks and new stadiums and such and focus on improving the game on the field. Oh look…
Who knows why teams hit this point in their evolution. Tommy Lasorda famously said that all teams will win a third of their games and will lose a third of their games – it’s what happens with that final third that makes the difference. Ahem.
Something’s got to give. Or something’s got to change. Fast. It's too late in the season and too much is at stake to spend too much time with this nonsense. And we’ve been here way too often this year. Underneath the slump is a damn good, albeit young, team (Just between you and me, I think their youth is showing at the moment). They just need to figure out how to get out of their own way and play up to their potential.
Before it’s all for naught.