America’s New Team

October 24, 2008

I think writing a title like is kind of lame, but I’m wishfully (or wistfully) thinking right now, so there it is.

Considering the state of the economy, is it too much to ask that we align ourselves behind a team like the Tampa Bay devil-less Rays that built itself on sound investments and good decision making?

Quit pandering to the already fat cats. It sort of defies logic that the majority of society desires to be Paris Hilton’s new BFF, we prefer fast food that we know is terrrrible for us, and we cheer on teams like the Cowboys, Yankees, Red Sawks, and the LA Galaxy (if you could see me right now, you’d see my tongue in my cheek). I grow weary of organizations that supplement savvy management with reckless checkbooks.

I know we weren’t raised like this. Because most of us were poor growing up, it’s just a fact. And those of us that were poor certainly didn’t root on the rich kids at our schools who tried to buy friends. So what changed?

It’s tough to say, but we probably got tired of not being the front runners, so we started rooting for front runners.

Take faith though, you can be proud of your old Rawling’s sneakers with swooshes drawn on them now, because stepping to the forefront of the baseball world is a team with the second smallest payroll in the Bigs. How do you NOT want to cheer these guys on?

Can we please appreciate the fact that this is a team of young, talented, and enthusiastic young men who were handed nothing but a big bowl of write-offs and underestimations. They fought through the longest season of professional sports and took on two of the biggest name, biggest reputation, biggest payroll teams in sports over the last decade within their own division, and came out the other end smelling like roses (or gas pumps or permanent markers, depending on what your flavor is).

I don’t know, maybe it’s not our faults for not already being on this bandwagon. Maybe we should do as everyone always seems to do and blame the media and her experts. They are after all the ones that NEVER take chances. All season long, all we heard about was how the Rays will fold eventually. The reigning champs are the Champions, so they will of course keep being great. Meanwhile the Rays are just the Devil Rays, haven’t won a World Series yet, so they couldn’t possibly win one this year. Experts aren’t willing to call someone great until they are already great.

They’ll probably end up being too late this time as the Rays all but certainly won’t stay intact after this little run of theirs. To a small degree they will pull a Florida Marlin act. Sure they’ve got Evan Longo locked up for a bargain 6 years, but don’t expect the pitching staff to be the same (Price not necessarily excluded), and between Crawford, BJ, Pena and even Rocco, someone (or some 3) are going to be headed to some place where an owner is itching to buy World Series experience and leadership so (s)he can buy a title. Mark Cuban trying to buy a Cubbies chunk of history sounds about right.

It’s sad really, the state of Florida has done wonders in efficiently winning championships, but the residents of the state couldn’t care less. If Tampa delivers as Dick Vitale fully expects them too, there will have been 3 World Series won by Florida and Tampa Bay combined since 1997—which is the same amount as the Yankees have won, and their payroll in one year is bigger than the 3 Florida teams combined.

The Rays are good baseball. Enjoy them while you can.

p.s. I just want to say that I hate the fact that I used a picture of Jenn Sterger, but there aren’t many Rays options.

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