Greetings from a hopping Yankee Stadium. Well, at least, it's hopping on the visitors' side.
Rays prinicpal owner Stuart Sternberg makes his full-time home in Westchester, so he comes to all of the Rays' games here in the Bronx. And with his team fully alive in this pennant race, Sternberg was joined by team president Matt Silverman and executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman.
In addition to the actual team, of course.
Friedman, my number one general manager in last year's rankings (this year's coming in November), said that yes, he believes that his team benefits from the whole underdog vibe, whereas the Red Sox look like a team gasping from the weight of their expectations and payroll.
The key to the Rays' surge, in addition to Boston's plummet, has been Evan Longoria, who has shaken off some early-season injuries and has put up a .461 OBP and .603 in September while playing terrific defense.
Oh, and lest we forget, for the other math geeks out there: The Rays (85-67) control their own destiny, as Friedman pointed out. Because the Yankees play the Red Sox in a three-game set this weekend, and because the Rays and Yankees play each other seven times, if the Rays win their next 10 games to close out the season, they'd qualify for the playoffs. They wouldn't even need a one-game play-in.
--Ozzie Guillen wants to know his future shortly after the White Sox's season ends. Of course, White Sox upper management could say, simply, "Your future is that you're signed through 2012. End of story." There certainly isn't an extension beyond next year for Guillen.
Given owner Jerry Reinsdorf's fondness for Guillen and GM Kenny Williams' lack thereof, however, the White Sox could let Guillen out of his contract and join the Marlins, who seem determined to open their new ballpark next year with a big-name skipper.
--Best wishes to Diamondbacks president Derrick Hall, who has been diagnosed with prostate cancer.
--Have a great night.