Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Brief Pause From the Pack Ripping to Talk a Little Tampa Bay Rays...

The Rays are bringing back the 2008 American League Pennant winning team! Sort of. They have reached a deal with left-handed hitting first baseman Dan Johnson who hit one of the most memorable homeruns in Tampa Bays’ short history. I remember it clearly; my wife and I were glued to the television that night. We had drained our savings going to every single game at the Trop the last 2 months of the season. The Rays were on a roll and we believed they could win the East. All they had to do was get past the Mighty Red Sox. It was September 9, 2008. Dan Johnson had been called up from AAA that day. He drove to Boston to meet his new team, got suited up and sat in the dugout watching the game and meeting his new teammates until Joe Maddon called his number in the top of the 9th inning. The Rays were losing and the seemingly invincible Jonathan Papplebon was on the mound for the Sox trying to seal the victory and drive a nail into the Rays coffin. Dan Johnson became the unlikely hero when he hit a pinch hit home run to tie the game in his first big league at-bat since early April when he was still a member of the Oakland Athletics. Well, Johnson’s homer tied it and the Rays went on to win that game and the American League East. The Red Sox made the playoffs as the wild card and the Rays beat them to advance to the World Series where they fell to the Phillies. That was it for Johnson with Tampa Bay. He is career with the Rays included the biggest homerun in their history, but it only included 24 other at bats. He (like Jonny Gomes) didn’t make the postseason roster and after the WS was over he inked a deal with the Yokohama Bay Stars in Japan’s Central League. He was their opening day starting first baseman and hit 24 homers for them. His batting average was low however (.215) going 70 for 325 with 57 RBI. In the Major Leagues he is a career .248 hitter, but he hasn’t played a full season since 2007 with Oakland. As a rookie with the Athletics in 2005 the former Nebraska Cornhusker hit .275 with 15 homers and 58 homers and was named to the Topps All Rookie Team. I am excited about the signing for nostalgias sake, but also because I would be happier with Dan Johnson backing up Pena than Chris Richard. I don’t think that either Richard or Johnson has a shot at being Rays come opening day, but a little competition is a good thing… This is the first Rays related post in a while… It’s still pretty cold out, but I am staying warm with this hot stove! Now let's talk about bringing back J Gomes, Edwin Jackson, Jason Hammel, Rocco B, Scott Kazmir and Aki! Go Rays! Troll out.


  1. Here's hoping Johnson provides many highlights in the upcoming season...except when the Rays are playing the Rangers!!

  2. Great post. Despite the low avg. Johnson has a respectable OBP and decent power. Not too sure why they let him to to JAPAN! Glad to see him back. Go Rays!

  3. I'm looking forward to seeing Johnson play in Durham again. And don't forget that the Rays signed Ryan Shealy this offseason too, so between Johnson and Shealy, they should be set with backup first basemen.