Hello from Tropicana Field, where I wouldn’t have thought we’d still be anticipating Alex Rodriguez’s 600th at-bat, but here we are.
Don’t let anyone tell you there isn’t interest in this milestone. Judging by the passenger load on my flight from Cleveland this morning, there’s plenty – there were several fans decked out in Yankees jerseys and caps, including one carrying on a giant banner that said ’600.’
Correct me if I’m wrong, but there are limited reasons to bring that to Tampa International Airport. (And while I’m on the subject, I always feel like it’s 1988 when I come to this area. The first song on the radio today was You Spin Me Right Round. Really?
Of course, there’s plenty going on here under the sloping white roof and rings of catwalks, besides A-Rod’s drive toward history and pop songs from the 1980s. This is a matchup between two clubs that some believe are the best in the game
, and they meet with just two games separating them for the lead in the American League East.
“Not only are their payrolls different; their teams are different,” said Indians closer Chris Perez, who faced both teams recently. “The Rays are more of a run-here, a-run-there kind of team. Get guys on, get them over, do the fundamentals. The Yankees aren’t like that.
“Their lineup can hurt you. Every day it can be somebody else hitting the big homer. The Rays are more station-to-station, steal the bag, that kind of stuff. They don’t make mistakes. They don’t beat themselves.”
Factor in tomorrow’s trade deadline and you’ve got the makings of a busy weekend. Now I’ve just got to try and get this song out of my head.