Roger Mooney covers the Tampa Bay Rays for The Tampa Tribune, TBO.com and News Channel 8. He has covered the Rays since their first season in 1998, including 11 years for the Bradenton Herald. Roger has also covered Florida, South Florida and Florida State football, the Bucs and the Lightning.
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Sarfate Thought Pena Was Stealing Signs
Posted May 1, 2008 by Aaron Knox
Updated Apr 30, 2008 at 11:32 PM
By CARTER GADDIS
BALTIMORE—The post-game explanation of the Dennis Sarfate-Carlos Pena yelling match in the eighth? Apparently, Sarfate thought Pena was trying to sneak a peek at C Ramon Hernandez’s pitch signs. Sarfate wouldn’t comment on that, but several Rays and Orioles players said that was what they heard when Sarfate begin to chirp at Pena and Pena took a step toward the mound to make sure Sarfate heard every word of his retort very distinctly.
Here’s Pena’s post-game comment on Sarfate’s impression that he was stealing signs.
“That’s the only thing I can think of that maybe he was complaining about, but it’s totally untrue,” Pena said. “To begin with, to look at the catcher’s signs and still be ready to hit a 95-mph fastball, that’s kind of tough to do. ... Not only do you have to look at the sign, you have to know their sequence, and then you have to turn around and look at the ball and try and hit it.”
Pena said he didn’t even know what Sarfate was yelling about. He just heard the pitcher yelling at him, so he yelled back.
Meanwhile, the Rays finished the month of April 14-12, their first winning April ever. At 15-12, they’re tied for second place in the AL East. That puts them on pace to go 90-72. Not bad, but probably not good enough—still—to make a legitimate run at the division title or even a wildcard spot. But hey, it sure beats the alternative. Which is exactly what the Rays have gone through the first 10 years of their existence.
So (and here’s where we could use some feedback), is it time to start considering this team a legitimate threat to make some noise in the division? Or is it still ridiculously early to buy into what’s going on? OR ... is this merely a sign of the gradual growth the Stuart Sternberg regime has promised since taking over before the ‘06 season? Let us know what you think.
Oh, and by the way ... if Andy Sonnanstine is bumped from the rotation when Scott Kazmir comes back on Sunday, I’ll eat Marc Lancaster’s Blackberry.