|Photo Courtesy of Rays Website|
If Joe Maddon was the Red Sox manager (thank go he's not), he would say that we got "Out-Tropped." Last night in the 4th, the Rays used the catwalks to get "even" with Boston after Maddon felt they got "out-Fenwayed" in the first 2 games. Last night, what looked to be a routine foul ball out was ruled dead by "Trop Rules" after it hit the catwalk and was ruled dead. That didn't affect the game right away, as Bucholz would pitch out of it, but that was a hard inning for Bucholz as he would proceed to load the bases and throw 30+ pitches. That would affect next inning as Tampa Bay lowered the boom through Evan Longoria's 3-run home run. And all of that could have been avoided if the catwalks weren't there.
I hate blaming things on stadium quirks, but that no-call that should have been an out changed the game. If Bucholz doesn't throw 30+ pitches, then he probably doesn't give up a 3-run homer the next inning. I think he still gives up the homer to Longoria, but it's not a 3 run shot and the Sox sweep last night. Each ballpark has it's own little quirks that tilt in in the home team's favor, but no one has catwalks that can directly affect an outcome of a play. Balls take weird bounces in some parks, especially in Fenway, but the difference is that you can learn to play the bounces if you're good. You can't really learn how to play the catwalk.
My message to the Rays would be this - the catwalks need to go. Find another quirk to put in the Trop - something that fielders can play. That, or let fielders play the ball if it comes down, but that's not likely. Just get rid of it and put a mound in center field or redo the walls and make a weird angle or something. Those at least a fielder can learn to play if they're good. Anything is better than having catwalks and calling plays dead if it hits.
So that was my little rant on the mess that is Tropicana Field. Let me know what you think on Twitter or leave a comment below.