UPDATE: The Dbacks are still asking fans behind the plate to not wear opposing team gear

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UPDATE: I received a statement from a Diamondbacks spokesman:

“At the time of purchase, we ask that those fans sitting in the home plate box, which is visible on TV, wear either neutral colors or D-backs attire which the team will provide.”

So that’s what that was. Jackets are required, as it were. And gambling is illegal at Bushwood. I never slice.

7:57 AMTwo years ago there was a little to-do at Chase Field in Phoenix in which a group of fans were forced/asked/coerced/who knows to change into Diamondbacks gear because they were in front of the cameras in Dodgers gear and Dbacks’ ownership didn’t much care for that. The move was reportedly ordered directly from team owner Ken Kendrick who subsequently had an animated discussion with the fans about it.

The Dbacks were criticized as small-time for that kind of move, as they should’ve been. You take thousands of dollars from some people for primo, behind the plate seats, you shouldn’t care what they’re wearing as long as it doesn’t violate decency standards.

It seems, however, that criticism didn’t bug the Dbacks all that much. At least based on this video. Watch the guy in the background with the Dodgers hat and shirt:

This exchange seemed friendlier than the 2013 exchange. And it’s possible that it involved his friends or something giving him that Dbacks jersey. Maybe it was all an in-joke with coworkers or something. I have sent an email to the Diamondbacks asking for comment regarding the exchange and whether or not it was something directed by the club. Pending that comment, I’ll observe that it certainly fits the pattern we’ve seen with the Dbacks and other sports teams who have, in the past, made a point to get opposing team fans into home team gear when they can be seen on TV. I’d be curious to know if the Diamondbacks are up to their old tricks again here.

If they did give this guy a jersey to wear, I suppose they’ll talk about how it was free or else how he was given some merch or something given to him for his trouble rather than it being some sharply coercive situation. The P.R. in Arizona is better than it used to be, after all. Still, if you own a baseball team and you’re at all concerned that the fans who can be seen on TV are wearing opposing team gear you are, by definition, petty and small time. No matter how friendly the process of getting the fan to change actually is.

Renfroe slam helps Rays sweep young Blue Jays in 1st round

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The Tampa Bay Rays gathered in front of their dugout and posed for a celebratory team picture they’re hoping will not be the last they take this postseason.

Hunter Renfroe hit a grand slam and the top-seeded Rays won a postseason series for the first time in 12 years, overpowering the young Toronto Blue Jays 8-2 Wednesday to finish a two-game sweep of their wild-card matchup.

And with a roster featuring just a handful of players who have posted impressive resumes so far, the AL East champs believe they’re nowhere near finished.

“We’ve been confident since Day One. So if we put the our heads down and just do what we’ve been doing and prepare like we’ve been preparing, the sky’s the limit,” winning pitcher Tyler Glasnow said.

Said manager Kevin Cash: “We have very good players first and foremost.”

“I understand the back of the baseball card stuff and some of our guys are not as established,” he said. “What we do have, what makes it formidable is that the entire roster is used to help us win games. We do that consistently during the season and are definitely going to do it in the postseason.”

Renfroe launched the first playoff grand slam in franchise history during a six-run second inning. Glasnow kept Tampa Bay ahead from there, allowing two runs – on a pair of homers by Danny Jansen – in six innings.

Mike Zunino hit a two-run homer off Blue Jays ace Hyun Jin Ryu during Tampa Bay’s big inning. Manuel Margot and Randy Arozarena also drove in runs as the Rays advanced to the AL Division series against either the New York Yankees or Cleveland Indians.

The next round starts Monday at Petco Park in San Diego. Renfroe is plenty familiar with the stadium – he hit 85 home runs in the previous three years for the Padres before being traded to the Rays last December.

“The opportunity in front of us is where you want to be,” Cash said.

The Rays celebrated with some hugs and handshakes after the final out.

Glasnow, who walked one and struck out eight before a small gathering of family and friends who were allowed to attend the series at Tropicana Field.

Ryu was rocked for a season-high seven runs in 1 2/3 innings, the lefty’s shortest outing of the season for the wild-card Blue Jays.

It was a disappointing finish for Toronto, which overcame a slow start to make a surprising run to its first playoff berth since 2016 with a roster featuring 19 players without previous major league playoff experience, including Cavan Biggio, Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

“Great season. I’m proud of my kids to make it to this point,” second-year Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said.

“It’s obvious that the Rays are a pretty good team, that’s why they’re picked to go to the World Series,” he said. “In this series, we didn’t hit. We only scored three runs. That’s not enough to beat that team.”

The Rays, who won the opener 3-1 with a nice mix of pitching, defense and timely hitting, had dropped five consecutive multigame postseason series dating to the 2008 World Series.

A year ago, they beat Oakland in the AL wild-card game before losing to Houston in the division round – a five-game setback that nevertheless heightened team expectations heading into this season.

Ryu signed with the Blue Jays in free agency last winter after being an All-Star with the Los Angeles Dodgers and finishing second in NL Cy Young Award balloting in 2019.

The 33-year-old lefty had the AL’s fourth-best ERA this season. And, his career mark of .295 is third-best behind Clayton Kershaw (2.43) and Jacob deGrom (2.61) among active pitchers with at least 700 innings pitched.

Ryu’s impressive credentials meant nothing Wednesday.

The Rays began the first inning with three straight hits and scored their first run on Manuel Margot’s one-out single. Ryu escaped a bases-loaded jam by striking out Willy Adames, however his outing got worse the next inning.

After Zunino’s homer made it 3-0, Tampa Bay loaded the bases again on a double, walk and shortstop Bo Bichette’s second error of the day.

Renfroe, obtained from San Diego in an offseason trade that sent Tommy Pham to the Padres, hit his grand slam into the left field seats to extend the lead to 7-0.

“They were getting hits off all my pitches. I don’t think they were necessarily sitting on one or something like that,” Ryu said through a translator. “I just didn’t have a good game.”

“We have a lot to be proud of, we really do,” Jansen said. “We knocked on the door and next year we’re going to be ready to go through it.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Blue Jays: 1B Rowdy Tellez, who had a pinch-hit single in Game 1 Tuesday, remained out of the starting lineup. He was placed on the 10-day IL on Sept. 9 with a right knee sprain and missed the rest of the regular season.

Rays: INF Yandy Diaz (right hamstring strain) started at third base, his first game since Aug. 31.

UP NEXT

The Rays will play in the AL division round for the sixth time in franchise history, with all of the appearances coming since 2008.

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