On a sunny Wednesday morning in July, 1999, [Devil] Rays’ Public Relations guru Rick Vaughn emerged from his office and pronounced “We’re going to win tonight.”
That was a bold statement on July 7, 1999. The D-Rays were 36-47, 14 games back of the New York Yankees. That evening, they were sending former rehab-start-all-star
turned Yankee pitching coach turned Rays consultant Dave Eiland to the mound against a Red Sox lineup that included
juiced-up super heroes David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez (nevermind, they weren’t in Boston yet, ain’t the internet grand?) Mike Stanley (I know, I can’t believe he was still there either) and Brian Daubach.
More daunting, the scuffling Stingers offense had to find a way to score against Pedro Martinez who was already 15-2 and had struck out 170 hitters in 124.2 innings that summer.
Why did RV think the DRays would win? “The Reverse Lock.”
Sure enough, The Crime Dog sliced a double down the left-field line, Aaron Ledesma, Paul Sorrento, and John Flaherty drove in one run each, and Dave Eiland made it stand up for a 3-2 win. Seriously. That happened. I was there. And I found the box score.
Ummm. So what? Right?
Well, the Reverse Lock theory has stood the test of time. And, tonight feels like a perfect example. The Rays have no reason to win tonight in Seattle. They are going to have 6 hours of air travel and jet lag on their bodies. They haven’t brought any bats to the ballpark in a week. And they are facing the 2011 version of Pedro Martinez: Felix Hernandez.
Granted, Shields is a lot better option for us than Dave Eiland was for the 1999 club. Nevertheless, Felix alone makes this a Reverse Lock game. So, go ahead. Impress your friends. Tell them of the Reverse Lock. It will set up a ton of “I told you so”-s tomorrow.