Crawford has seen videos of some of baseball's great basestealers, such as Rickey Henderson, Vince Coleman and Tim Raines, and he believes they would be great today.
"I'm pretty sure guys could have gotten like 70 bags," Crawford said. "But 100, that was without the slide step. Now they're holding you on, pitching out. Definitely not the high leg kick any more. I just think without that slide step, the way they were running, they would have gotten thrown out a bunch of times. There aren't going to be too many people too much faster than what I am.
"What the slide step does, it lets the pitcher know your speed and kind of adjust to your speed. With a high leg kick, they can't do that."
First born: Brian Meadows and his wife, Jenny, are expecting their first child -- a boy to be named Jacob Austin -- any day. According to the Rays right-hander, Jenny's doctor in St. Petersburg had the due date at Sept. 30 while the doctor in Troy, Ala., where the couple lives, has the due date at Oct. 8. Thus, Meadows doesn't know when the time will come for him to rush to Troy, where his wife has been living the past couple of weeks in advance of the birth.
"This phone -- Jenny's the only one who has the number" said Meadows, picking up a cell phone in his locker. "And the trainers are going to hold it. And if it rings, I told her I've talked to [Rays manager] Joe [Maddon] about it. I've talked to [pitching coach Mike Butcher] about it. They both talked to [Rays executive vice president of baseball operations] Andrew Friedman about it. I'm going to be on a plane and going. They told me just to go ahead and go. First one, you can't miss it. I told her I might be running down the hall in full uniform, but I'm going to be there."
Meadows reports that his wife has a doctor's appointment Thursday and they could decide to induce labor by as early as this weekend.
Rays to celebrate their fans: "Fandemonium," presented by the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, will take
place at Tropicana Field from Friday through Monday, as the Rays close out the 2006 home schedule with a four-game series against the Yankees.
Throughout the series, the Rays will continue the annual tradition of "Shirts Off Our Back," in which fans have the opportunity to win a Rays player's game-worn jersey by donating to the Rays Baseball Foundation and Muscular Dystrophy for a scratch-off card. For a $2 donation, fans have the chance to win a jersey or one of a number of prizes, including one-night stays at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, dinners for two at Floyd's at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, and more.
On Friday, the first 10,000 fans wearing Rays gear will receive a kazoo, courtesy of Sam Ash Music Stores. Hall of Famer Juan Marichal and Spanish TV sensation Niurka Marcos will be on hand Saturday for Hispanic Heritage Night, when the Rays and Yankees meet at 7:15 p.m. ET. Marichal, who won 243 games over his 16 seasons with the Giants, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch and both stars will sign autographs. In addition, there will be a Mariachi Band and salsa and merengue groups. The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum's Baseball! ¡Béisbol!(tm), exhibit will be in CenterField Street throughout the New York series. This is a panel exhibit commemorating Latino baseball, the game's Latino stars and the stories of baseball-passionate Latin American countries.
There will be a pregame check presentation by the Rays, Anheuser-Busch and Sweetbay to the USF Latino Scholarship Foundation and the National Hispanic Fund.
Fan Appreciation Day will be Sunday. Rays players will hold a special pregame autograph session and fans can win any number of great prizes in the Rays' lucky seat promotion. It will all wind down on Monday, when the Rays and Yankees close out Tampa Bay's home season with a
7:15 p.m. ET contest. Fans will have their final chance to win Rays game-worn jerseys.
Coming up: The Devil Rays welcome the Yankees to Tropicana Field for a four-game series, which will be the Rays' final home series of the season. The first game takes place Friday night at 7:15 ET and will see the Rays start right-hander James Shields, who will be opposed by right-hander Chien-Ming Wang.