Game On…with Rob Kriete – OCTOBER 14

When that old house fell from the sky onto the Wicked Witch of the West, the Munchkins came out to revel in song and dance. Similarly, the Tampa Bay Rays are about to drop the house on the Houston Astros, and MLB fans across the country will seemingly rejoice.

The cloud of a cheating scandal looms heavily over the Houston team that was found to be stealing and relaying signs using cameras and audible cues (which I happened to witness personally at Minute Maid Park). For most MLB fans, cheating is a line that cannot be crossed. Baseball fans planned outings to jeer the Astros with garbage cans and creative signs and plenty of jawing before the awful pandemic. Yet, without the fans’ ability to attend the games, the Houston players were insulated from the ire they were surely going to have to endure.

Now the Rays have a chance to knock Houston out of the playoffs and have most MLB fans in their corner. Tampa Bay even created a complex way to relay signs, with or without Astros on base, and have been very public about this defensive strategy to hide their signs. It was a clear message to the Astros and fans of the game that they have not forgotten the transgressions that have cost managers and general managers (but ironically not players!) their jobs. The Rays have index cards to complicate their signs throughout the game to prevent further cheating. Whether or not the acute Houston team continues to look for ways to steal signs remains to be seen, but Tampa Bay is currently up three games to one and has the league pariahs staring at a house about to fall on them. The Munchkins and MLB fans seem excited by this prospect.

Now, if the Rays can keep their “Game On,” perhaps that Yellow-Brick Road in Arlington will bring a Tampa Bay it’s first World Series Championship!