Friday, May 02, 2008

This is not a drill people - The Devil Rays are actually that good

The world turned upside down. Well, if not the world, the AL East at least. Yes, that is the Tampa Bay Devil Rays (I refuse to drop the 'devil' part, I am just politically incorrect like that, so sue me) are in first position in the AL East, in May!

Carl Crawford - he got game

The D-Rays have averaged a pretty pathetic 63.5 wins since 2002 inclusive. Nearly every season they lose 100 games. That is truly abysmal, any which way you decide to look at it. Previous issues included youth, inexperience, a dearth of pitching depth and a general lack of veteran talent. So, the focal point of what I am trying to say, I suppose, is that them being in first place is, like Ron Bergundy, kind of a big deal.

How did they do it? Well, while struggling through the inept years, the D-Rays have nevertheless held on to their youth, indeed they are the third youngest team in the Majors

They have however added game experience to their squad by riding those young bucks through the tough times, through the 63 win seasons, to the point where Carl Crawford is truly a terrifying player. Edwin Jackson is suddenly putting it all together. James Shields is one of the most feared pitchers in the AL.

Even the older, veteran 'parts' they added are working out. Former Red Sox Eric Hinske is amongst the AL leaders in all the power categories.

They have managed to put together a tough, talented, young team with a huge, huge upside potential.

On top of all that, the Rays were recently voted baseball's best-value team to go see, in terms of Joe Punter having a night at the ball park
ST. PETERSBURG -- According to an ESPN survey of more than 40,000 fans, the Rays rank first in the Major Leagues in the affordability category.
Some of the more entertaining offers available when you go see the Rays play are:

  • Cars carrying four or more people park for free.
  • College students can get select tickets for just $5 for Friday-night games.
  • Most Friday home games feature dollar hot dogs.
  • Tickets are as low as $9 for most games.
Kind of refreshing to see such aggressive and positive thinking in terms of selling their product.

And the product is pretty damn good.

All this leads to the battle for the top of the AL East, starting tonight at Fenway Park, as Boston take on Tampa for three nights, with the AL East lead at stake. Not a New York Yankee or a Toronto Blue Jay in sight.



Jimmy Chowda said...

Yeah, they needed to do something creative in Tampa. The team has been bad every single year and the stadium is third rate.

They also went from unique colors to boring colors. That worked wonders for Arizona last season, so who knows?

Cormac said...

I still think it absolutely blows that they took the 'Devil' out of their name, I mean, come on!

Brian said...

I second the affordability - I'll be there for 3 nights against the Red Sox in June/July.

Who knows, maybe they'll still be fighting for 1st place!

Cormac said...

Cool, let's face it, it's nice to have a new rivalry develop in the AL East

The Rays prices are fantastic, definitely has me thinking about checking out going there for a series!

Dave said...

They may be affordable, but on the downside you have to go to Tampa to see them. One of my least favorite cities ever...

Anonymous said...

The "Rays" have a few good players. Carl Crawford is a world class player and i'll even throw in James Shields because I think he is a decent young pitcher.

However there whole starting pitching staff has a combined team era of over 5. This will not get the job done. Hinske is a career .256 hitter. His power is gone and look for this guy to get put on the DL soon enough.

I think the Rays will be a better team than previous years. I mean its kinda hard to be worse. But they will finish well begind the Redsox and Yankees. Look for this team to battle with the Jays for 3rd place. I would be very surprised if they finish above .500.

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