It seems that the Steve Berthiaume dustup has reinvigorated a worn-out refrain in these parts: we get no respect. That particular gripe about the national media always makes me scratch my head for several reasons. First, is there any fan base in the world that actually feels respected by national networks? Seems to me everywhere I go the fans of whichever team feel slighted. (Perhaps that is proof of unbiased coverage?) Second, who cares? Do we really need the respect of national media personalities?
Either way, the Rays’ All Star selections had me thinking back to the days when the [Devil] Rays actually got no respect from anyone. (editor’s note, please do not understand that statement as an argument that they deserved respect).
Does anyone remember the Lance Carter rule?
Lance Carter was the [Devil] Rays’ “closer” in 2003. At the All-Star break, he had worked 46.1 innings, allowed 6 home runs, and pitched to a 4.05 ERA with 15 saves for a team that was 32-60. Someone had to make the All Star team and Lance took the bullet for the rest of that ragged bunch. Radio host Jim Rome used Lance as an example of all that is wrong with the Mid-Summer Classic and vowed never to watch again if Carter pitched. Thus, the Lance Carter rule was born.
Lance was a really nice guy, and raised a ton of money for the Boys & Girls’ club during his cup of coffee in the big leagues. But Rome was absolutely right about Carter. He was not an All Star, a point I think Carter himself might concede. The “representation” rule is ridiculous and only put the D-Rays problems on a national stage.
Remember the Fred McGriff charity return to Atlanta in 2000? What about Greg Vaughn in 2001 who was taken primarily because he was injured and therefore could be replaced on the roster with an actual all star? Both rightfully called embarrassments by the national press and made the fledgling D-Ray fan base just wish the entire experience would end.
Well, at long last our local nightmare is over. Despite all the “disrespect” we seem to think we get from the national media, at least they all agree that we have a lot of very good players on our team. No more debate about which player would get forced into the All Star game. Rather, a discussion of who was unjustifiably left off to make room for other representatives. I feel bad that Ben Zobrist has to pay for the sins of Lance Carter, but turnabout is fair play.
Maybe we’ll return to an era of forced representation, but in the meantime, I am going to revel in the Justice that came for Joyce, and enjoy watching Price and Shields act like big kids during All Star Saturday night.