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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Upton won’t play tomorrow
Posted Aug 16, 2008 by Marc Lancaster
Updated Aug 16, 2008 at 12:02 AM
ARLINGTON, Texas—Joe Maddon had the controlled-fury thing going following tonight’s game after pulling B.J. Upton in the bottom of the sixth for failing to run out a double-play grounder in the top half of the inning.
He said he hadn’t addressed the issue with Upton tonight and didn’t plan to because he doesn’t like to delve into such matters when he’s upset, lest he say something he regrets. He did say Upton definitely would not be in the lineup for the second game of the series and he was weighing whether further punishment was necessary.
For his part, Upton said he thought there were two outs on the play in question, but “obviously, I was wrong.”
Maddon was fuming because Upton was timed at 5.33 seconds from home to first on the play, when the average big-league right-handed hitter should be able to cover the distance in 4.3 seconds. This was what Maddon had to say, in its entirety, after the initial question was posed:
“You see how we’re playing right now, and everybody that watches us, you understand why we’re in the position we’re in right now, and it’s about continuous effort. I can’t make it any more plain, simple, obvious, black-and-white, whatever. There are no gray areas. I can’t have Aki run like he is and Pena and Cliff, who’s got two bad knees, etc., and then permit that. I can’t permit it.
“And furthermore, if we’re going to be a really good organization, it has to permeate the entire group. I’m not just talking about the major-league team, I’m talking from Rookie ball all the way up to Triple-A. So I hope that our minor-leaguers read about all this tomorrow also, because I want that message sent to them, too. That’s how we play.
“If we’re going to compete in this division for years to come, we can’t take anything for granted, and that’s what I’m talking about, is assuming. The assumptions. You can’t assume. For me, that has no place here, now and in the future, and I can’t make it any more plain than that. It’s very simple.”
Upton didn’t dawdle postgame, coming out to face the media in a forthright manner.
(How did it feel to be pulled after already having taken the field?)
“I mean, obviously it stung a little bit, especially like that. There’s not much I can say about it. He made the move when he wanted to make the move.”
(Does he need to run everything out from now on, regardless of the situation?)
“I’m going to have to, or he’s going to keep doing it and making me the example. I guess I can’t let him make me the example anymore.”
(Does he feel he’s being singled out by Maddon?)
“No. I guess I’m the only one not running them out, so…you can’t be singled out when you’re the only one not doing it.”
(Does he need to discuss the issue further with Maddon?)
“No. It’s understood. Hopefully it’s over with and it’s the last time I have to deal with it.”
So there you have it—another controversy marring a phenomenal performance by Matt Garza that produced all kinds of trivia on the Rangers’ end:
* This is their first time getting shut out in consecutive games (they lost 10-0 in Boston last night) since Sept. 2-3, 2004.
* This is the second time since this ballpark opened in 1994 that they have been shut out in consecutive home games (also 3-0 on Aug. 7 against the Yankees), with June 12-13, 2003 the other occurrence.
* Garza’s complete-game shutout was the first here by an opposing pitcher since Edwin Jackson did it Aug. 11, 2007.