September 19, 2008
After Boston's 13-5 win at Tropicana Field on Monday, it looked like Tampa Bay would quickly wither under the slugging assault of the Red Sox. That did not happen in the next two games, however. They edged the Red Sox 2-1 with a dramatic ninth-inning finish on Tuesday, and the next day trounced the New Englanders, 10-3. In sum, the Rays stood up to the test as well as anyone could have predicted, building a two-game lead over Boston in the AL East race.
On Thursday night, the Rays got a rude awakening from their euphoria when the Twins staged a five-run rally in the top of the ninth to come from behind and beat them, 11-8. This came after Evan Longoria had hit three home runs, tying the franchise record for one game. What a crushing disappointment that must have been! For young teams on a roll such as the Rays, there is always some vulnerability, and in this case it was the bull pen.
* As opposed to the "Botox challenge."
The Brewers embarrassed the crowd at Wrigley Field with a lopsided win against the Cubs on Wednesday night, and were on the verge of a repeat victory on Thursday evening. After hitting a three-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to send the game into extra innings, Cubs catcher Geovany Soto is on the inside track to be named Rookie of the Year. He has 23 home runs and is batting .285. Of the Cubs' 7-6 win, Mark London writes, "Just unbelievable. By rescuing victory from the jaws of defeat yet again, the most hard core ledge jumpers must be smiling tonight..." Yes, the Cubs do have a mountain of superstitious jinxes to overcome as they approach the post-season, but exactly one century after their last World Series victory, they really are in position to Go All The Way.
While New York fans take part in the emotional goodbye to Yankee Stadium during the final home stand this week, others in Boston and Chicago are extolling the virtues of having preserved the ancient and hallowed ballparks in which the Red Sox and Cubs play. See MLB.com. As in 2003, there is a very real chance that this year's World Series may be played in the two oldest stadiums in the world of baseball.
The Colt Stadium diagram has been updated, though not necessarily because of recent attention to Houston in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike. The grandstand is slightly larger than previously estimated, and light towers and other details are now included. And speaking of Houston, after looking over the Astrodome diagrams, I may have to tweak them once again as well...
The Cleveland Indians have renewed their lease at Progressive (formerly Jacobs) Field from 2013, when it would have expired, thrugh 2023. The Gateway Economic Development Corp., the special entity that owns the stadium, is about to to pay off the (tax-exempt) bonds that financed the stadium's construction. After that is accomplished, the ballpark is supposed to be transfered to the City of Cleveland, but under the new agreement, the property deed will be transfered back to "Gateway," which had been verging on bankruptcy because of disputes over rent payments. (Is that clear?) See cleveland.com Hat tip to Mike Zurawski.