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Tag: Kyle Farnsworth

Rays Update: Hair, Catwalks, and Kyle Farnsworth With A Crossbow

These days, the Rays are the Yankees’ rivals every bit as much as the Red Sox are. So in the know-your-enemy spirit, and given all the renewed Rays interest sparked by friend-of-the-Banter Jonah Keri’s new book “The Extra 2%,” I figured I’d gather up some recent developments down in Tampa.

Yep.

First of all, Rays manager Joe Maddon is awesome. I’m sorry, but he is. I loved his golf pants efforts last season, and he’s still in full support of his players getting goofy with their personal appearance:

I might have preferred to get an “almost” in there before the “wherever,” but I applaud the sentiment. Although I think we’ve all seen by now that ballplayers hardly need much encouragement to grow fantastically horrible facial hair.

Last season, Maddon complained when the Trop’s bizarre house rules cost the Rays a run, after a pop-up hit one of those oddly placed catwalks and went for a single–saying the team needed “a real baseball field.” He subsequently apologized to the injured party via Twitter:

“most recent whine was my getting on Trop roof, have since apologized to said roof and r now on much better terms, maybe best ever…”   RaysJoeMaddon

Now, the Trop’s bizarre, byzantine ground rules are changing… or, rather, changing back to what they were before last fall’s Division Series. TampaBay.com explains, sort of:

At the request of Major League Baseball, the 2011 regular season ground rules pertaining to the catwalks at Tropicana Field will revert back to the language that was used during 2010 regular season. Tropicana Field’s ground rules were changed prior to the 2010 American League Division Series. 2011 Tropicana Field Ground Rules.

BULLPEN AREA
- Ball lodging on, under or in the bullpen seating area: OUT OF PLAY. A ball is deemed to be lodged when it goes in or behind equipment or seating or, in the umpire’s judgment, is deemed otherwise unplayable.
- Ball enters the bullpen seating area and rebounds out of the seating area: IN PLAY.
CATWALKS, LIGHTS AND SUSPENDED OBJECTS
- Batted ball strikes catwalk, light or suspended object over fair territory:
- Batted ball that strikes either of the lower two catwalks, lights or suspended objects in fair territory: HOME RUN.
- Batted ball that is not judged a home run and remains on a catwalk, light or suspended object: TWO BASES.
- Batted ball that is not judged a home run and strikes a catwalk, light or suspended object in fair territory shall be judged fair or foul in relation to where it strikes the ground or is touched by a fielder. If caught by fielder, batter is out and runners advance at own risk.
- Batted ball strikes catwalk, light or suspended object over foul territory: DEAD BALL
Previous rule:
- Batted ball strikes catwalk, light or suspended object over fair territory:
- Batted ball that strikes either of the lower two catwalks, lights or suspended objects in fair territory:
HOME RUN.
- Batted ball that strikes either of the upper catwalks, lights or suspended objects in fair territory: DEAD BALL and the pitch does not count. Any declaration of an Infield Fly after the hit shall be nullified.

You know what, Maddon was right the first time: that team does need to get themselves a real ballpark. Damn.

Finally, a Marc Topkin profile of our old frenemy and current devilish Ray Kyle Fransworth last week turned up several facts about the man of which I was not aware:

  • He lives in the Disney owned and operated town of Celebration, Florida.
  • He is a non-practicing Mormon.
  • He has been sober for the last two years, after some hard drinking in his younger days.

The article’s overall tone is generally one of “oh look, he’s not actually that terrifying, he bakes holiday cookies!” but it undercuts that point with details like this:

Farnsworth’s 2003 technically perfect pursuit, tackle and takedown, plus subsequent pummeling, of Reds pitcher Paul Wilson — captured in photographs and still-popular video — remains his greatest hit, though a similar 2005 tussle with Royals reliever Jeremy Affeldt is close.

“He went crazy wanting to fight everyone,” said Affeldt, now with the Giants. “I’ve been in the weight room with him after that working out, and there’s no bitterness. It’s like it never happened. Kind of weird.”

And:

That competitiveness and machismo thread runs through everything he does: high-intensity workouts, martial arts training, marksmanship, paint ball and his beloved hunting, as he switched from gun to crossbow five years ago to make it more challenging as he pursues deer, turkey and hogs on his 2,500-acre plot in Georgia that is his favorite getaway.

Sober cookie-baking Disney mormon or not, the image of Kyle Farnsworth running after a hog with a frigging crossbow is quite a vivid one.

Schadenfreude: scha·den·freu·de, noun, often capitalized \ˈshä-dən-ˌfrȯi-də\

Congratulations are in order for the Tampa Bay Rays, who are on the verge of acquiring one Kyle Farnsworth for the low, low price of, per Buster Olney, 3.25 million dollars plus an option.

Oh, where do we start. How about with evil maniacal laughter?

Now that you’ve gotten that out of your system, I think this is both good and bad news for the Yankees. Good news because it is entirely possible that the Rays will call in Farnsworth to try to protect close leads, which is likely to mean a lot of heartbreaking late Rays losses on towering home runs. Bad news because now it would be a really, really bad idea for New York to start any kind of scuffle with Tampa. Yankee batters better be nice and respectful and not crowd the plate.

In fact, Farnworth has pitched very well against the Yanks on multiple occasions, and had some very good years along with his bad, and supposedly has a new approach these days that involves throwing fewer  sliders that don’t slide directly down the middle of the plate… and so he may not end up being a terrible pickup for the Rays. Conceivably.

Nevertheless, [rubbing hands together sinisterly] MWA HA HA HA HA HA!

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver