9/26/2013 8:29 P.M. ET
Maddon says Rivera best closer ever, 'no argument'
By Bill Chastain / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- Manager Joe Maddon was in Anaheim for Mariano Rivera's Major League debut, when the famed Yankees closer started against the Angels. Maddon served as the Angels' first-base coach that day and watched his team beat the Yankees, 10-0.
Also on hand that day was Rays TV broadcaster Brian Anderson, who pitched for the Angels but was on the disabled list at the time.
In addition, while serving as bench coach under Angels manager Marcel Lachemann, Maddon got to see Rivera's first save, on May 18, 1996, in New York. Kenny Rogers got the win in a 7-3 Yankees victory.
When asked in jest if he knew Rivera would be great the first time he saw him, Maddon chuckled: "I knew he wasn't a good starter."
In a more serious tone, Maddon spoke of Rivera's legacy.
"I was talking to somebody about that," he said. "A lot of times, they have arguments about who was the best center fielder. … I mean, in this city, who was it -- Duke, was it Mickey, was it whomever? There's no argument about who was the best closer ever. There is no argument. Nobody can argue that he's the best at what he's done in baseball. When you're the best without any arguments, that really concludes how good he was."
Longoria has tendency to go long vs. Yankees
NEW YORK -- Entering Thursday night's season finale between the Rays and Yankees, Evan Longoria had as many home runs against the Yanks -- nine -- as the entire Yankees squad had against the Rays.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Longoria is only the third player in the expansion era (since 1961) to hit nine home runs or more in one season against New York, joining Cleveland's Fred Whitfield (10) in 1965 and Toronto's Jose Cruz Jr. (nine) in 2001.
Over the last three years, Baltimore first baseman Chris Davis is the only other Major Leaguer to hit nine home runs against one opponent, against Toronto last season.
Longoria's nine home runs established a Rays record for the most in one season against an opponent. The previous record, eight, was set Carlos Pena (2007, against the Yankees) and matched by Longoria two seasons later against the Red Sox.
As if the home runs weren't enough, Longoria also has 14 extra-base hits against the Yankees this season, five of them doubles. According to Elias, the only other player over the last 65 seasons to register 14 extra-base hits against New York in one season is current Yankee Vernon Wells, who had 14 for the Blue Jays in 2003.
Longoria's 25 career home runs are the most any player has hit against the Yankees since 2008, his rookie season. Toronto's Jose Bautista is next, with 18.
Crain still not feeling 100 percent
NEW YORK -- Jesse Crain has not been available to pitch since Monday, when he warmed up but did not pitch against the Orioles.
Had the veteran right-hander pitched on Monday, when he was reinstated from the 60-day disabled list, it would have been his first appearance for the Rays since they acquired him from the White Sox on July 29.
Crain's shoulder "just does not feel 100 percent right when finishing, throwing the baseball," manager Joe Maddon said. "That's it. It's not awful, it's not terrible. So we just have to stay with it. By tomorrow he might feel really good about it. We might actually use him in the game, I don't know. It's just been kind of a day-to-day thing. Some days he's felt a little better than others, but nothing's been horrid. It's just not quite there yet."
Maddon said that Crain would have pitched had they needed him on Monday but added that Crain was not available on Tuesday.
"He didn't feel as good as the day before," he said. "He knows what that's like. When it comes to veteran players, I really listen to them, and I trust them. I trust him. I've watched the work between him and [head athletic trainer Ron Porterfield]. Truly, we wanted to get him out there. Thought it was going to happen the other night. Game situation didn't permit it. I don't know the next couple of nights if he's going to be able to play or not."
When a reporter pointed out that the prospect of Crain not pitching for the Rays this season seemed a possibility, Maddon replied, "I don't deny that. But it's possible that he can."
Myers has some fans in Darling, Ripken
NEW YORK -- TBS held a postseason conference call on Thursday, and former Major Leaguer and analyst Ron Darling had this to say about Wil Myers:
"When I watch him hit, no batting gloves, old school, he reminds me of [the Flintstones' Bamm-Bamm], how he would hit," said Darling. "He just stands in there and dares you to throw it over the dish. He doesn't even follow through. He just swings and pounds it. In this day and age, when guys have the perfect swing, get the head out here, head on the ball, all those teaching tools, Wil Myers just seems to swing and hit it. Old school."
Added Cal Ripken: "To me it seems like he's not intimidated, a big swing with tremendous amount of power, can make adjustments. With the newness of the league, you go through it and you have quick success and it goes away. But he seems to make adjustments. It's important to have the physical talent to play well, but what happens when the pitchers start changing up how they pitch to you, do you make the adjustments? That's what impresses me about him."
Maddon effusive with praise for Selig after retirement news
NEW YORK -- Manager Joe Maddon has nothing but good things to say about Commissioner Bud Selig, who announced on Thursday that he will retire in January 2015.
"I know Mr. Selig's been very good to me, very kind to me," Maddon said. "Having experiences with him in the playoffs several years ago, I thought we became friends. I know there's been a lot of controversy over the last several years, but I think overall, the legacy is going to be a great one regarding the state of the game.
"I always base, or judge people, on how they treat me, and I think everyone else should do that. He was wonderful to me, and as a group he was wonderful to us. So I have nothing but great memories, and I wish him well."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.