The Red Sox-Tampa Bay
Devil Rays rivalry increased its octane Monday night with Tampa Bay's 2-1 victory over Boston at Fenway Park.
Tampa Bay left Boston after Monday's rain-delayed make-up game with a half-game lead over the Red Sox in the A.L. East.
The game was marked by great pitching from Tampa Bay starter David Price, a lack of timely hitting from the Red Sox, some bad baserunning by Daniel Nava and a blown call at home plate courtesy of Jerry Meals, who admitted in a statement after the game that he indeed make the wrong call because of his positioning.
That win put the Rays in first place, but that doesn't necessarily mean they're first-class.
The @RaysBaseball twitter feed posted this, ah, gem a minute or so after the victory:
We get it. All 27 Rays fans joined in the fun on Twitter. Of course, if Tampa Bay had gotten burned on a home-plate call like Nava in the Red Sox did during the eighth inning, anyone within shouting range of the Florida Gulf Coast would be subjected to whines of "Boston-biased umpiring" for the next six months.
The @RaysBaseball jab prompted a slew of comebacks from Red Sox fans across social media, in addition to this response from the official @RedSox feed:
Don't worry @raysbaseball we look forward to seeing you in Tampa in September for our home games at the Trop.— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) July 30, 2013
Zing. Of course the Rays play in St. Petersburg and not Tampa, but the Red Sox made their point.
The battle continued with Dick Vitale, a long-time Rays season ticket holder, joining in:
Even Red Sox owner John Henry make a rare statement in 140 characters or less.
A 2-game impact— John W. Henry (@John_W_Henry) July 30, 2013
While Boston had its own dubious sellout streak end earlier this year, the Rays have had just one sellout this season - opening day - and are 29th in home average attendance in major-league baseball, averaging 52.2 percent capacity. The Red Sox are 10th in the majors at 92.4 percent this year.
The Red Sox and Rays don't play again until Sept. 9 at Tropicana Field, and if the crowds at the Trop over the past 15 years are any indication, there should be plenty of Red Sox fans at the original Fenway South for that three-game series.
While Monday night was just one of 162, or maybe 163 this year, the Red Sox will point to this game if anything is decided by that close a margin in the A.L. East this season.
The Rays have had a notable and historic lack of home support, despite their recent success. Maybe their fans think they play in Tampa, as well. Wednesday is $2 kids night. [We're not kidding.] Even during the 2008 ALCS, tickets for Game 7 were available for cost at the team's box office on game day. [I know because I bought two at 9 a.m.]
And you've guessed it, there are plenty of good seats available for that series in September. You can buy them right here.
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