by Rich Hererra - @RBIrichBy Rich Herrera

The Rays wake up this morning with the smell of the 70’s in their hotel rooms in Seattle. In the shadow of the Space Needle and with the feel of grunge the Rays are stuck in the 70’s. No not the 1970’s, but the time and era of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays when they were excited to see if they could come close to 70 wins in a baseball season. The Old Devil Rays had only one 70 win season. They were the punching bag of baseball. They were the butt of jokes on the Simpson’s, Letterman’s Top 10 List, and the movie Fever Pitch. One year Devil Rays players popped corks when they won their 63rd game, why would a team that wasn’t going to the playoffs be drinking bubbly, they were celebrating the fact they were NOT going to lose 100 games. Wow have times changed for the Rays since then. Much has changed for the Rays since then both on and off the field, with playoffs and a trip to the World Series.

The one place the Rays haven’t been able to move past the 70’s is on the west coast. The Rays have never really had any success on the west coast. Seattle, Oakland, Anaheim, have been a house of horrors for the Rays. The Rays are 65-76 life time against the Mariners including 33-41 on the road. It’s not much better against the Athletics where they are 55-89 and 34-39 on the road.
Is it the M’s and the A’s were that much better than the Rays, no not really. Seattle hasn’t been a contender since Sweet Lou was running the show. Oakland has been very good for the last few years, but before that no bueneo.

So why have the Rays suffered so much on the West coast, wow I wish I have the answer. Sometimes it’s been bad luck, watching bullpens implode. I remember standing there in Seattle waiting for the pen to finish off a game, only to watch pitcher after pitcher give up hit and hit and watching a 1 foot gimme put flame out for a loss. I was there to see one of the most touching moments in baseball come at the cost of the Rays records. Dallas Braden threw his masterpiece on mother’s day with his grandmother on hand to share in the moment as they remembered his mother that passed way from cancer.

Some of it can be the longest road trip in baseball when you fly from Tampa to Seattle and then head down the coast to either Northern California or Southern California to get beat up on by the A’s and the Angels. A few things that don’t help is the jet lag you feel from the long trip, and if you watch the Rays tonight you will see a team that doesn’t look out of sorts. But when you watch on Tuesday, the second day in that is really when the lethargic feeling can kick in. Another thing you have against you is the time change of late night with the Rays. Baseball people live their lives by looking on the pocket schedule of where and when to be someplace. They are night owls and don’t wake up early unless there is a smoke alarm going off. But when you are out west for six days you play until 1 am or so Eastern time and your body clock still has you waking up at 11 am eastern time, which is really 8am pacific. Your sleep schedule is out of whack and your body clock is upside down. Now is that why the Rays have been so bad on the west coast, maybe … maybe not but it can’t help can it.