Rays outlast Marlins in Miami marathon, win 9-8 in 11 innings

Wow… And I thought the vuvuzelas in World Cup soccer were annoying. Okay, I’ll be honest; I thought the idea of them was annoying. Still no World Cup for me. I actually watched a bit of the U.S. Open Saturday and still haven’t seen the 2010 soccer phenomenon. Anyway, the mini-horns that the Florida Marlins handed out for Saturday night’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays sounded like a furious swarm of mosquitoes playing over-sized kazoos while driving out of a crowded parking garage. Congratulations on having the most annoying promotion of 2010. Thankfully, it was an inter-league game and I won’t have to listen to this sh!t anymore for the rest of the year. It’s hard to believe a stadium with so few people in attendance could make so much noise. Sun Sports viewers were informed by Todd Kalas that Rays’ fans were not allowed to bring cowbells into Sun Life Stadium. Apparently only Marlins fans are allowed to bring annoying promotional items to games in Miami, giving them a strategic monopoly on irritation in their home park. They just kept blowing all night – kind of like the Marlins (ZING!) – even when their own team was in critical parts of the game. Clearly they should have been given a lesson on manners, perhaps a primer on cowbell etiquette? But I suppose when the idea behind the promotional item is to be crass and obnoxious rather than fun and engaging, etiquette and intelligent, considerate use are pretty silly things for which to wish. Anyway, there was apparently a baseball game played last night amid all of this. It was a pretty good game too, so enough bitching.

It was a weird one in south Florida Saturday night, and a long one. In a game that saw Rays’ pitcher James Shields make his first career relief appearance, the Bay-area boys beat the Marlins 9-8 in an 11-inning nail-biter. Despite the above cheap shot, the Marlins did not blow in Saturday night’s game, but the game went into extra innings courtesy of a Rays eighth-inning defensive implosion rather than exemplary play on behalf of the home team. This time of self-destruction saw Randy Choate hit Chris Coghlan with a pitch and Dan Wheeler give up two doubles to take the erstwhile 5-2 game to 5-4. Errors by Jason Bartlett and Evan Longoria allowed an extra base runner and an extra run to score; Longoria’s misplay could have been an inning-ending double play but instead it tied a game that could/should have easily been won in regulation.