Interleague mercifully concludes after this weekend. After these three games with the Rays, the Marlins can get back to National League baseball.
But we're not there yet, so we sat down with the Rays' Raymond to talk about this weekend's series.
: Hi, Raymond! Welcome back!
: Hi, Grover. Let's go.
: Is it just me, or is this interleague thing a little tired? I mean, "rivalry weekend" is great in Chicago, New York, and all over California, but pretty much everywhere else, it's not so great.
: I tend to agree. Interleague games make the schedule unbalanced. Some teams that are in the pennant race get a break, while others have a tougher than average go of it.
I'd like to see the system changed. Either each team in each division should play the same interleague schedule - but that's probably not possible given that there are an unequal number of teams in each division and league, but it's still what I want. If that's really not possible, then I'd like to see interleague scrapped entirely. But that's not going to happen either. If nothing else, I'd like to see the DH used in NL parks during interleague games and I'd like to see pitchers hit in AL parks during interleague.
: Alrighty. I'm sure the take of the Rays' mascot will carry a lot of weight in the commissioner's office in New York. ... What's up with Lou Pinella?
: Lou wants out. He feels like he was deceived by Rays ownership. They promised that if he did his part (which he did - the Rays had their best record ever last year), that they would significantly increase payroll. The Rays haven't done that though, and Lou is tired of managing a team that he doesn't feel is capable of competing for a championship.
Some say he's trying to get himself fired. I don't think that's realistic. Lou is owed a lot of money, so the Rays aren't just going to send him home and then send him checks. It's highly unconventional, but I think the Rays will "trade" Lou to another club this offseason - in exchange for a player or prospect. No, I don't know what team that will be.
: You've been pretty unconventional today. Switching gears again (and this will be our last question): what's the scoop on Rocco Baldelli?
: It's a sad story, actually. Rocco was rehabbing from an offseason knee injury. He was close to being able to come back. Then he injured his arm and had to have Tommy John surgery. So he's out for the year.