HomeSportsMLBNew York radio host accuses Rays of cheating amid historic start

New York radio host accuses Rays of cheating amid historic start

by Nick Geddes
(Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

The Tampa Bay Rays are just two days removed from notching a series victory at home over the AL East rival New York Yankees.

Sunday’s come from behind 8-7 victory continued the Rays’ historic start — now sitting at 29-7 after the 3-0 shutout win over the Baltimore Orioles Monday night. Tampa Bay leads all of MLB in most statistical categories such as batting average, home runs, runs scored, OPS, team ERA and batting average against, and is off to the best 36-game start since the 1984 Detroit Tigers.

For a team which squeaked its way into the postseason last year with largely the same cast, everyone wants to know how these Rays are getting it done at an elite level through 36 games. Evan Roberts of WFAN Sports Radio believes he has the answer, and wasn’t shy about going public with his theory on Monday’s show. Roberts began by saying he was “suspicious” about the Rays getting contributions from everyone in the lineup, before accusing the team of cheating.

WFAN host questions Rays’ historic start

“There’s something suspicious about that by the way,” Roberts said of the Rays’ start, via Awful Announcing. “All I know is I’m a baseball fan, I know baseball, I like baseball, I was very skeptical with what I saw this weekend… Christian Bethancourt – HELLOOOO – Taylor Walls, WHAT?! You know what most of us do? We don’t know who they are so we just say the ‘Rays are brilliant.’ Here’s the problem, I know who they are. They’re not good.

“The Rays are 19-3 at home? HELLOOOO. Are you gonna wake up when the article’s written in The Athletic, or are you gonna wake up now? Sometimes you don’t need evidence. Sometimes you gotta say, ‘What I’m watching doesn’t make sense.’ So I’ll do it, I’m not a Yankee fan. I’m gonna raise my hand. Hey, ladies and gentlemen, what I’m seeing in Tampa, makes no sense.”

Rays receiving contributions throughout lineup

The two players Roberts mentioned, Bethancourt and Walls, are each enjoying breakout campaigns. Bethancourt, the Rays’ starting catcher, has six home runs and 14 RBIs to go along with a career-high .826 OPS through 21 games. Walls, Tampa Bay’s utility man, has hit five home runs with 11 RBIs and has an .871 OPS in 25 games. The former top prospect hit just eight home runs and had a .553 OPS in 142 games in 2022. Walls has credited a new mental approach for his offensive explosion early on this season. He has also altered his swing, allowing him to flatten his hand path to get more on plane with the baseball, per Mark DeRosa of MLB Network.

Roberts, of course, failed to mention this, or bring any evidence to support his hypothesis. Instead, he chose to discredit the biggest story in baseball this season — the team in St. Petersburg dominating MLB with an active payroll of $74,181,008.

The Yankees (19-17), meanwhile, sit last place in the AL East, handicapped by injuries to stars such as Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Carlos Rodón.