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The Tampa Bay Rays: The Hitters 1998-2012: Part 2 Of A 5 Part Article Series

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Friday, December.21, 2012

Note from Chuck Booth:  I am attempting to bring the history for each of the 30 MLB Franchises into a 5 part series that will focus on 1. The teams history.  2. The hitters 3. The pitchers. 4. The Teams Payroll going into 2013 and 5.The Ball Park that they play in. (The stadium articles will all be done next summer when I go to all of the parks in under a month again.)  Be sure to check my author page with a list of all of  my archived articles section here.

Carl Crawford Leads as the ALL-Time Club Record Holder in most offensive categories.  Will Evan Longoria run him down..or will the club trade him?

Carl Crawford Leads as the ALL-Time Club Record Holder in most offensive categories. Will Evan Longoria run him down for all of the team records..or will the club trade him in a few years when his contract escalates in pay?

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer/Website Owner):

The Rays have only been around for 15 years, however they have seen their share of talent grace the club.  In their inaugural year, the club signed Free Agents Fred McGriff and Wade Boggs.  A few years later when Boggs retired, they added Vinny Castilla, Jose Canseco and Greg Vaughn all to the club.  This movement did not work out.  It was the drafted talent of the club that started to surface in the early 2000’s.  Aubrey Huff and Carl Crawford emerged as AL offensive threats.  Other picks like Rocco Baldelli, Jorge Cantu and Jonny Gomes started out on fire, yet quickly flamed out.  The club saw other guys come and go before the 2007 started to show what the team was really capable of.  Carlos Pena gave them a bonafide HR guy.  Soon Evan Longoria was called up to the Major Leagues and the club featured one of the best attacks in all of Major League Baseball.

The offense has suffered a bit of a drop-off in the last few years, but newly acquired Wil Myers is one of the best offensive prospects in the game of baseball.  Longoria is signed through 2023 and Ben Zobrist is a great all-around offensive talent signed for the next 3 seasons.  While the team will still be predominantly based with great pitching, the club should see some well-rounded offensive players. 

Tropicana Field is one of the harder places to put up great numbers, so we will see what the future holds.  We must look at the past.  In these Series I have been doing for the teams, a lot of criteria had to be met to be included in the Franchises best hitters or pitchers.  Obviously with a 15 Year Old team, the stakes are not raised as high.  I still looked for significant contributions to the team.  Of course if anyone ever leads the American League in any category, that is usually grounds for inclusion.

Franchise Series Article Links:

The Tampa Bay Rays: The Franchise 1998-2012: Part 1 Of A 5 Part Article Series

The Pitchers:  The Tampa Bay Rays: The Pitchers 1998-2012: Part 3 Of A 5 Part Article Series

2013 Team Payroll Part 4:  Tampa Bay Rays Payroll 2013 And Contracts Going Forward: Updated for Myers Trade Dec.11/2012

Tropicana Field Expert:  An Interview with Tropicana Field Expert Kurt Smith

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Tyler Austin – Yankees Prospect: A Baseball Story of Courage; Feature Interview by Lori Martini

Friday August 10th, 2012

Lori Martini (Baseball Writer- and @LoriMartini on Twitter):  Baseball is my life.  Heck, if I could get paid for playing softball- I would have the greatest, happiest job in the world!  I’m sure anyone who has played the game feels the same way.  So many players go through the system and either get overlooked, marred by injuries or simply can’t perform up to major league standards.  Aside from all of that, there are the politics and life in general that can get in the way of success.

So when we see athletes like Lance Armstrong and Mike Lowell, not only overcoming testicular cancer, but rising to the top of their respective sport, one cannot help but feel completely inspired.  These guys did NOT give up and in fact, they fought harder than anyone. Given the success they have experienced, the hard work certainly paid off. Which brings me to a very special ballplayer and today’s feature subject, Tyler Austin.  

Tyler was born in Macon, GA to Kim and Chris Austin and has two younger brothers, Dylan and Kyle who also play ball.  At age 17, Tyler was diagnosed with testicular cancer during the MLB Draft. Read the rest of this entry

Baseball and Music are Synonymous with Our Timeline

Sunday May 6, 2012

The NY Mets Tribute to the Recent Passing of MCA from The Beastie Boys

Lori Martini(Baseball Writer and @lorimartini on Twitter)- We don’t always remember exactly when certain events have happened in our lives and at what ages, but baseball and music gives us a pretty good reference and timeline as to when certain occurrences took place.  It’s no wonder music plays such an integral part in baseball and throughout sports.  Being a songwriter myself and having been honored that Justin Turner chose my song “Believe” as his walk-up song all last summer, I can only hope some day more players will walk up to more songs that I continue to write.  I remember Derek Bell walked up to “Big Pimpin’” by Jay-Z.  I can automatically tell you that the song was released in 2000 and that is when Bell played for the Mets.  In fact, I’m such a huge Mets fan that I don’t even have to look at the scoreboard or the plate- I’ll instantly know which player is up to bat or who came in for a pitching change just based on their music choice.

When I started my ballpark chasing in 2000, I followed the Mets to most of the stadiums.  I would meet new friends on the road including one of my best friends, Gabriel Lee who not only shares the same birthday (month/day AND year), but he also has a passion for music and manages a band called Ceasefire in LA.  I met Gabriel through Rachel (Roa) Apodaca who inadvertently met my friend Indira who I’ve know from Midwood High School and is a fellow lunatic Mets fan like myself in a baseball chat room.  I’d go to games with friends and start singing the Mets walk-up songs when they were on the road.  I had Rachel and her sister Kristen involved in the whole ordeal when my team was playing against theirs!  Gabriel also had a friend, Ted who joined us at Mets vs. Dodger games in LA.  Being that I was older I quickly noticed that Ted liked Rachel and I told her that.  She didn’t believe me at first, but shortly after they started dating and now they’re married and have a daughter Brianna who is now as big a fan as us (and has a HUGE crush on Matt Kemp….ssshhh).  Brianna met him so often that he knows who she is.  She even plays softball and wants to be a catcher like Mike Piazza.

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A Review of the New Marlins Ball Park By Lori Martini

Wednesday, April.04/2012,

Lori Martini (Guest Baseball Writer- and @lorimartini on twitter)- I touched down in Fort Lauderdale, FL.  Not only was it a little cheaper and more cost-effective to simply rent a car, but I did have a place to stay with friends which always makes a trip more enjoyable.  Hotels in Miami are outrageous and I couldn’t find a reasonably priced hotel that didn’t give me anxiety of potentially having bed bugs, my biggest nightmare (at least in hotels).  Driving is most certainly interesting here.  I’m from NYC and I can drive anywhere, but these people are ridiculous.  They either drive way too slow or excessively fast and erratic.  The highways are 4 to 5 lanes of traffic and your exits sneak up on you.  People don’t signal and cut across several lanes of traffic without looking, which somewhat reminds me of driving in LA.  Miami during rush hour is highly congested and you can’t park anywhere.  Everything is a parking garage.  It’s cluttered and populated like NYC, yet spread out like LA to get anywhere. Read the rest of this entry

An Interview with Citi Field ‘Expert’ Lori Martini

Friday, March.30/2012

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer)- Last year when I applied for the MLB FanCave, I did so with mixed emotions.  While the job looked like an awesome experience, it also would never be as exciting as going to the baseball games live.  Due to my waiting around for MLB’s decision on the chosen winners, I failed to plan for any extensive road trips last year.  I am not disappointed that I didn’t win.  Mike O’ Hara and Ryan Wagner did a fantastic job and were completely qualified.  What the verdict left me was a desire to prove a point that I have been trying to establish for the last 4 years.  MLB’s 30 Baseball Parks provide the best marketing tool that this entity may ever want.  It is my ultimate goal to show that people would rather go to the games live.  Chasing down the Guinness Book of World Record for visiting all parks in the least amount of days has a plethora of emotions that run through ones body.  It is both an adrenaline rush and a hyper vigilant anxiety clashing for every day I am on the road. 

In my 2 minute video that I sent for the FanCave,  I told them that “you either hire me or I am going to end up doing this on my own anyway!” So I intend to go on a 30 MLB Park journey every year from now until MLB decides to pay me a salary.  To give our readers the kind of insight and information that make these ballparks the best fan experiences in Major League Sports, I have sought out some of the greatest experts in the field of ballpark chasing.  Every park will have a Park Preview, an Expert Interview and a Post Game/Streak Synopsis.  Our first expert interview is Lori Martini.

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