From: Subject: Date: April 21, 2005 3:53:51 PM CDT Hankblog

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Jiminy Christmas

What the hell are Devil Rays eating lately?

The perennial last-place team beat the Florida Marlins 6-4 on Saturday night to become the first club in major league history to climb above .500 at any point in a season after being 18 games below.

This has been the most pathetic team in baseball in their short and sorry history. To see them put together this kind of run is truly shocking to a longtime fan of the game. I think I'd have to give full credit to Lou Pinella and say that right now, he might be the best manager in the game, even more so than my boy Joe Torre. To do this with this team is unbelievable.

When he joined the Mariners, he took a team that had 1 winning season in their first 25, and made them an AL contender, with four playoff appearances in eight years, and two ALCS appearances. Now he's got the perennial doormats in Tampa tasting a winning season possibly, and feeling like the sky is the limit.

It's been an interesting year in baseball when you consider that the Devil Rays, Rangers, and Tigers, a combined 112-103 (.521) at this moment were a combined 177-309 (.364) a year ago. Meanwhile the Mariners, Braves, and Diamondbacks are sitting at 91-128 (.416), when last year they were a very healthy 278-208 (.572 clip). The last shall be first and the first shall be last.

All of which will make watching what happens in August and September this season all the more interesting. We could have one hell of a baseball season on our hands before everything is said and done.