Ask Gary: Which team wins clash of titans?

by Gary Shelton on July 21, 2018 · 2 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Rays

Can Price and the Sox' arms survive?/TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

Can Price and the Sox' arms survive?/TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

Each week, the readers take over and play Ask Gary. They send in a question, or a couple, on Thursday night or Friday morning and we all talk about the world of sports. Think of it as a radio show where you don't have to be on hold. Join us and ask a question, make a comment or be funny. Send the questions to

Saturday, 4 a.m.

Can you remember a time in baseball history when the best three teams in baseball are all in the same league? Who survives between the Red Sox, Yankees and Astros?

Larry Beller

It's happened a few times, but you certainly woudn't call it commonplace. Most seasons,someoe at least sneaks in with the third-best record.

To check it out, I went through the past final standings. I can't tell you if there were three teams ahead on, say, July 21, but the your question was to see if either league had the best three teams in the game. There are probably a few instances where the top three were all from the same league earlier in the season.

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In 2007, the American League had Boston with 96 wins, Cleveland with 94 and New York and the Angels at 94 each. The best National League teams were Arizona and Colorado with 90 wins each.

In 2001, the American League had Seattle with 116 wins, Oakland with 102 and New York with 95. St. Louis and Houston had 93 in the National League.

In 1993, the National League had Atlanta with 104 wins, San Francisco with 103 and Philadelphia with 97. Toronto won 95 games in the American League.

In 1962, the National League was led by San Francisco (102 wins), Los Angelos (101) and Cincinnati (98). The Yankees, with 96, led the American League.

In 1961, the American League was led by the Yankees (108), the Tigers (101) and the Orioles (95).  Cincinnati had 93 in the National League.

In 1950, the American League had the Yankees (98), Detroit (95) and Boston (94). Philadelphia had 91 in the National League.

In 1948, the AL had Cleveland (97), Boston (96) and the Yankees (94). The Boston Braves led the NL with 91 wins.

In 1932, the AL had the Yankees (107 wins), the Philadelphia Athletics (94) and the Washington Senators (93). The Cubs led the NL with 93.

I'm sure you will come to the same conclusion as to the reason. The three teams are very good, and they spend a lot of keep money. But don't forget how many bad teams are in baseball. Good teams beat up bad ones.

As far as this year, I picked the Red Sox at the start of the year because of their arms. But Houston may well be the most complete team. Still, I'll stick to my guns and go with the Red Sox.

Blake Snell could probably bring in a haul of top-tier prospects from several pennant-contending teams like the Yankees, who are desperate for starting pitching. Is he a guy you’d trade for a reasonable return of prospects?

Peter Kerasotis

There's no doubt that Snell could bring in a haul. He's young, he's cheap, and he's talented.

But, no, if I'm the Rays, I don't move him unless a deal absolutely takes my breath away.

The Rays are fighting a credibility war right now, Peter. They've traded away so many players the last three seasons that it seems like they exit through revolving doors. It's left the impression that the Rays don't want to win until 2023, if then. And if the Rays moved Snell, that's what they would get. Minor leaguers to help them in three or four years.

The team's business model is to keep players until they can't afford them and then move them. So most of us realize that Snell will be dealt long before Tampa Bay is ready to see him go. But not yet.

There is a belief among some that the Rays overvalue their prospects. (I've never bought that, because they've made a lot of trades where they didn't take advantage of the opposing team.) Still, this is one case that I'd ask for the best of what a team has in the minors. I'd have to win this trade decisively. Don't want to give up the jewels of the minor leagues? Fine. The Rays will keep Snell.

But if the team swaps Snell for the right not to pay him, someone should corner the market on pitchforks.

At some point, the Rays have to try harder to win today. Its hard to imagine a package where you trade your best pitcher coming out to Tampa Bay's advantage

Consider if your brother-in-law offered you this investment opportunity:  Participation in a deal that costs $51 million per year and returns $20 million per year.  Would you say yes? Would you jump at the change to be part of an investment group that will lose $31 million per year.

Scott Myers

Scott, I'm currently in the Rays' press box, and I've asked around. I'm not sure where you're getting your numbers. From what I've read, the sides haven't decided on how much the Rays will pay, how much will come from other sources and how much will be left up  to the taxpayer.

I'll say this though: You're usually dead on with figures. So maybe you've read something I haven't.

The bottom line is that it will cost the taxpayers more than the stadium will bring in. That seems obvious.

Pending a look at the final numbers, I'll say this: There are certain buildings (a cultural arts center, the Pier) that can't be judged on how much money they bring in. They're community assets. I think those who support a new baseball stadium are thinking of it that way. There is no doubt that our area is enhanced by having baseball. Let the Rays get away, and that's over. Forever.

Oh, I know some teams, such as the Rays, struggle more than others. And I've seen enough empty seats at the Trop to know the team isn't making a killing. But baseball is worth a price. Not any price, of course.

You know me. I haven't made up my mind whether I'll support a new stadium or not. I want to see the final dollars and cents. If much of the cost is, say, a tourist tax (Ever rent a car in Phoenix? In Seattle?) then I decide its worth the cost If too many taxes are proposed for Tampa taxpayers, well, I wouldn't.

You've heard me say it a lot of times. A new Tampa stadium would bump up attendance somewhat, but it wouldn't be a cure-all. And it shouldn't come at any price.

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