Attention Dumb Tigers fans: leave Jim Joyce alone

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I’m not saying all Tigers fans upset with the call in the other night’s game are dumb. Just the ones who are CALLING THE WRONG JIM JOYCE:

“I was watching it in our family room,” said a
different Jim Joyce from Toledo. “We’re Tigers fans, so we were
disappointed as well.”

But Joyce’s disappointment quickly turned to
frustration, then fear. Fans upset with the umpire Joyce’s call heard
announcers say the umpire was from Toledo and started calling the other
Jim Joyce who’s listed in the Toledo phone book.

“I would guess 40 would be conservative,”
Joyce said. “They were coming in…four or five at a time it seemed
like, with call waiting and everything.”

Somebody even posted his name, address and
phone number on Facebook. Thursday morning the misidentified Jim Joyce
had to cancel his home phone service.

“Everybody was pretty irate quite honestly,”
Joyce said, describing the calls. “A lot of them are vulgar things. Some
of them were funny about me needing new glasses but then they’d follow
it up with vulgarity as well.”

I love baseball more than just about anyone I know, but I can’t imagine what would cause me to seek out the phone number of an umpire so that I can call him at home to berate him (though if I did, I imagine I’d do my best to make sure it was the right guy).

Certain segments of society suffer from a perspective deficit disorder.

(link via Cleveland Scene)

Kevin Kiermaier on Rays’ recent moves: “I am 100 percent frustrated and very upset.”

Brian Blanco/Getty Images
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On Sunday, we heard from former Ray and current Giants third baseman Evan Longoria. The Rays recently traded pitcher Jake Odorizzi to the Twins for a prospect and designated All-Star outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment, which didn’t make a whole lot of sense outside of a cost-cutting perspective. Longoria said, “I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base.”

Today, we’re hearing from a current Ray: center fielder Kevin Kiermaier, who is set to enter his fifth full season with the club. Via Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, Kiermaier said, “I am 100 percent frustrated and very upset with the moves. No beating around the bush. It’s one of those things that makes you scratch your head, you don’t know the reasoning why. And then you see the team’s explanation and still it’s just like, okay, well, so be it.”

Longoria — formerly the face of the franchise — was traded to the Giants in December and the Rays continued to subtract with their recent moves involving Odorizzi and Dickerson. Odorizzi has a career 3.83 ERA in what has been a solid, if unspectacular, career. Dickerson put up an All-Star season, posting an .815 OPS with 27 home runs in 150 games. Moving either player was not done to fix a positional log jam. In fact, with Odorizzi out of the picture, the Rays are planning to use a four-man starting rotation for the first six-plus weeks of the season, Topkin reported on Sunday. Dickerson’s ouster simply opens the door for Mallex Smith, who posted a .684 OPS last year, to start every day in the outfield.

The Rays got markedly worse after going 80-82 last season. They saved a few million bucks jettisoning Odorizzi and Dickerson. And Rays ownership still wants the public to foot most of the bill for their new stadium.

When it was just one small market team pinching pennies, it was fine. But now that more than half of the league has adopted penny-pinching principles popularized by Moneyball and Sabermetrics (with the Rays among the chief offenders), the game of baseball has become markedly less fan- and player-friendly. This offseason has been less about players signing contracts and changing teams in trades — which helps build excitement and intrigue for the coming year — and more about front offices doing math problems concerning the $197 million competitive balance tax threshold and other self-imposed monetary restraints. Fun. Kiermaier is right to be upset and he’s very likely not alone in feeling that way.