By Brendan T. Gleason
Mark you dream crushing, Lionel Ritchie hating, Decision to let Doogie Howser skip all those grades disagreeing, trying to keep kids from playing on your lawn by calling them “whippersnappers” and “hooligans,” “No Man.” Take a page out of the Jim Carrey movie and start saying yes to life. Donʼt be like the college basketball rules back in the day that said the freshman had to play on a separate team. Donʼt you think, if given the capability to play Pete Maravich his freshman year, the LSU varsity coach wouldʼve jumped at the opportunity? He wasnʼt allowed…We are.
Ok, I admit, the Lionel Ritchie line was obscure, but he called people to say he loved them, and I think the Raysʼ front ofﬁce should make some loving calls of their own. Bring up these young guys. The platoon leftﬁeld and bullpen doesnʼt need to be a platoon for the second half of the season. The positions need to be ﬁlled by 2 young
guys who deserve the right to play at the big league level. Not because theyʼre prospects, not because theyʼll sell tickets (if they would…weʼd have already tried that. Iʼm sure weʼd adopt the “throw back opposing team home runs” strategy if we thought there was a Henry Roengardner in the stands who could sell more tickets)…itʼs because theyʼve earned it, and itʼs because we need them.
When we made our run a few years back on our way to the world series, we did it with youth, speed and defense. Desmond Jennings is young, he has 17 stolen bases and has only been caught once (my guess is he tripped on the way to second or third), and he has a total of 0 errors in the outﬁeld. Not once has he made an errant throw or dropped a ﬂyball or misplayed a double to the gap and let a runner get an extra base. That sounds like someone I want to see playing at the Trop. Heʼs the reason we didnʼt mind losing Carl Crawford. He is Carl Crawford(but with 12 home runs at the all star break, he probably has more power).
Another big factor in our Pennant Winning run was our bullpen. And as much as I like our 3, 4 and 5 pitchers, seeing them pitch into the 8th inning scares me…regardless of the command they show for the ﬁrst 7. We need relief pitchers we can count on, and I think I have a solution, and I think you know what that solution is. (If youʼre this far into the point/counterpoint and donʼt know what my solution is, than remind me not to ever
ask you for help with anything.) Call up Jake McGee. Heʼs been closing in AAA Durham, and I know we got JP Howell back, but that just means we have a reliable set-up man from 2 years ago. We need the young ﬁreballer to beef up an unreliable pen.
I think this one is a no-brainer. Regardless of rules that let us keep a player one year longer or pay him $14 less per game in the future…let these young talents showcase their stuff in front of the world and help lead us where we need to be. Iʼm not saying we should call up every young player that we have in our farm system…Iʼm saying call-up the guys who will help us win right now. It seems hard to argue with.