Monday, May 12, 2008

They've never been 5 games above .500? Ever?

With yesterday's 8-5 win over the Los Angeles Angels of San Dimas High, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays are 21-16 on the year, just a game and a half back of the defending champion Red Sox in the AL East. More importantly, this is apparently the first time in franchise history the Rays have ever been 5 games above .500. I know they have sucked pretty hard in their first decade of existence, but I found this stat pretty hard to believe, so I went to my numero uno beisbol source on the web, baseball-reference.com, to confirm this Kurk Gem. Here's what I found:

1998: As it turns out, the '98 expansion Devil Rays were actually 4 games over .500 at one point in the season. That of course was when they were 10-6 on April 19, and Larry Rothschild went to bed each night dreaming of his Murderers Row of Fred McGriff, Quinton McCracken, Paul Sorrento and Wade Boggs leading his D-Rays to World Series glory. The 1998 Devil Rays finished 63-99, an astounding 51 games out of 1st place.

1999: Again, they made it to 4 games over .500, this time pushing it a week later into the season (11-7 on April 23). They only managed to get shutout 7 times in '99 (as opposed to 17 times in their inaugural year). The team finishes 69-93.

2000: Now this is tough to do (well, I thought it was tough...read on)- the Devil Rays were never more than 1 game over .500 in 2000, and that sadly was day 2 of the season, after Tampa beat Minnesota 7-0 to start the year. The D-Rays finish 69-92, and Larry Rothschild, against all odds, stays employed.

2001: Tell me if this sounds familiar. The Devil Rays win their opener to get 1 game over .500. And that's the apex of the season. Larry Rothschild is mercifully put to sleep 14 games into the season, replaced by Hal McRae, which is great for me, because now I get to post this epic meltdown:
Tampa Bay backslides, losing 100 games for the first time in franchise history (all 4 years of it). Tanyon Sturtze is the staff ace. Yep, Tanyon Sturtze...that's how you lose 100 games.

2002: Hal McRae, captain of the Titanic. The Rays go an atrocious 55-106 in '02, after actually starting the year 3-0 (obviously 3 games over .500 is their high point). They lose a whopping 33 games by 5 or more runs. Our boy Tanyon Sturtze goes 4-18.

2003: Welcome aboard Sweet Lou...to a 63-99 mark that drove you so bonkers you dyed your hair at some point (I think...that might've been 2004...but I'm too lazy to google "Lou Piniella dyed hair"). Lou's '03 club joined the 2000 and 2001 D-Rays in the "Start 1-0...never get another game over .500 again" club. Pretty terrible name for a club if you ask me. The D-Rays go 5-21 in June...and manage a 3-15 interleague mark. Ugh.

2004: Holy shit, look, a 70 win season (the first in franchise history). The team gets to 2 games over .500 - on July 3rd no less (40-38). They have a 12 game win streak. They go 15-3 in interleague play. The stupid Mets trade them Scott Kazmir for Victor Zambrano. Lou's got them going in the right direction, Tampa is turning it around, etc. etc...

2005: ...um, not so fast my friend. Tampa Bay finishes the '05 season 67-95. They get to 3-2 on the young year, and are never more than a game over .500 again. Piniella threatens to kill multiple people throughout the season, including several of his players. Somehow Jorge Cantu hits 28 bombs and drives in 117 runs.

2006: Lou is gone, Joe Maddon is in, and here comes another 100 loss season (61-101). On April 16th they're 7-6 and 1 game over .500 - that's the best they have to offer. Tampa Bay goes 20-61 on the road.

2007: They got all these young kids, they're supposed to turn the corner, Sports Illustrated throws them on the cover as the team of the future...and we get a final record of 66-96. Yep, I feel like a broken record - Tampa gets to 2-1 on April 6th...and that's it again for games over .500. If you're scoring at home, that means in 6 of their first 10 years Tampa Bay has never been more than 1 game over .500 at any point in a season.

2008: It took until season 11, but the magic barrier was finally broken. 5 games above .500 for the first time ever. Well played Rays, well played.

35 comments:

Rhymenocerous said...

San Dimas high school football rules!

TJ said...

"Everything is different, but the same... things are more moderner than before... bigger, and yet smaller... it's computers... San Dimas High School football rules."

rob said...

deadspin totally stealing from g:tb. as usual.

TJ said...

Just a few minutes until the start of yet another Celtics road playoff defeat.

Mark said...

I came close to posting something similar to Rob but then I remembered I have no reason to pimp this blog. Also, does Tj think that the Celtics losing will rub off on the Sox? Just wondering, because I can't quite figure why he so desperately wants them to lose.

rob said...

in an oddly self-loathing twist, teejay hates the irish.

TJ said...

The funny thing is I grew up a Celtics fan, but as my interest in the NBA waned so did my Celtics fandom. This might be the first time in years where I am actively seeking out NBA playoff games to watch, but the rooting for the Celtics aspect never really came back. So I might was well root for the most interesting storyline, one of which is the Celts inexplicable road playoff woes.

Shit that was hard to type on a blackberry.

rob said...

also, in an unrelated note, i'll be perfectly happy when the metrodome gets demolished. fucking dump.

TJ said...

Fucking Rays...5-0 over Yanks already.

Mark said...

My interest in the NBA never really waned due a combination of always being able to watch Magic home games (save for 2 years), the fact that NBA games were great background for pre-drinking and my love of basketball in general. However, I can see how many from our generation lost interest along the way (I place much of the blame on Pat Riley) and do not fault TJ. Though I do fault him for not rooting for a Celtics-Pistons conference final which, while defensive and at time boring, would be an epic playoff matchup.

TJ said...

Hey, just cause I mock the Celts road performaces doesn't mean I don't expect BOS/DET in the East Finals.

And final scores to rival Heat/Knicks circa the OJ/AC NBA Finals.

rob said...

the nba lost me after the strike - haven't seen a full game since then, and that's coming from a guy that had bullets season tix. i must say i'm more interested in the league right now than at any time since then. might even watch a bos/la finals - it'd be like reliving my youth, when i lived and died with the celtics every bit as much as i do with the sox now.

Mark said...

A couple of guys who grew up rooting for the Celtics huh? Racists.

TJ said...

AND rob likes Alabama. Double whammy.

rob said...

but cornbread maxwell was my favorite player.

TJ said...

Not a good night for Whit's Mets...

TJ said...

Rob did you just see that Cuddyer "catch"?

Mark said...

Because his name was 'Cornbread', I'm sure. Jesus, Rob. I hope you're proud of yourself.

rob said...

teejay, i did not. i'm too tired to deal with the aggravation of this game. i left mark's fine state this morning on a brilliant sunny day to come back to this dreadful mire - i've got no patience for a bludgeoning in that shithole.

Mark said...

The weather has been beautiful lately. Sadly, we're only a couple of weeks away from 90 degrees with 80% humidity.

TJ said...

We've had biblical rains the last 4 days...sucks something fierce.

TJ said...

Well well well look at how happy and healthy Magic looks. It's almost as if he has nothing wrong with him at all.

rob said...

mark - i was in jax. where are you?

Mark said...

Three hours down the east coast. About an hour south of Daytona Beach. If you've ever heard of Cocoa Beach, its 20 minutes south of there.

Were you at the TPC?

rob said...

wish i was. it was my niece's first communion, and as the godfather, my presence was strongly suggested. been a long time since i was in a catholic church. hell, been a long time since i was in any church.

Mark said...

Interesting. I went to Tallahassee this weekend for exactly the same reasons. Would've been a similarly long time for me had I not attended another niece's first communion around here last weekend.

TJ said...

Welcome aboard the guilt train little buddy.

Hope you liked the unnecessary kneeling.

Mark said...

Yeah, welcome aboard. By the way, Greg's got a permanent seat at the head of said train. You should see the treatment he gets with regard to church when he comes home on vacation. Its quite amusing, well, as long as you aren't Greg...

rob said...

i aggressively avoided the ceremonial elements - did a lot of playing dumb. and had my daughter to wrangle, which lent a nice element of chaotic comedy to the proceedings. helped that the priest was namibian, with an accent that rendered the homily even more obtuse than it would've otherwise been.

TJ said...

Like Linda Blair in the Exorcist?

TJ said...

Cover Wally assholes

Mark said...

No TJ...But Greg's mom drags him and his siblings out of bed each and every Sunday morning when they're home. Which I imagine is quite the task after he and I have been out 'til 4 am on Saturday.

As for my ceremony, it directly conflicted with the Game 4 of the Magic-Pistons series. Needless to say, I was regularly checking my phone as my Dad shot numerous dirty looks.

TJ said...

Wow.

rob said...

"lebron james with no regard for human life"

that's a great call.

Mark said...

That dunk was pretty damn dirty.