Guys, I have a confession to make. I went to the Sox game on Wednesday… and I didn’t sit in the bleachers. I know, I know, we’re barely a week into this thing and I’m already betraying your trust. But if someone offers you lodge box seats for free and you say no, then having trust issues with a week old blog is the least of your problems.
For those of you have stopped following the Sox at this point in the season (so all of you), they handed the Rays an 11 – 3 beat down on Wednesday night. While I was watching Tampa throw-up all over themselves, I found myself wondering why this organization gets the credit that it does. I just don’t get it. You thought the Yankee “Bleacher Creatures” were full of themselves? The Rays are so smug that they have their noses up their a$$ because they love the smell of their own farts. At least New York has a history of success. Tampa Bay baseball has been failing since before the Rays were even a team.
The Tampa Bay area began their feeble attempt to acquire an MLB team in the 1980s. In 1992 an agreement with the San Francisco Giants was reached to have a Tampa Bay group buy the team. However, Major League Baseball didn’t want to send one of their most storied franchises to die in Florida like the rest of the geriatrics who live there, so they nixed the deal and blocked the sale. In 1993 two different expansion teams were approved: the Colorado Rockies and the Florida, now Miami, Marlins. Yup, that’s right. Major League Baseball looked at the state of Florida and decided that Miami, a city now notorious for its awful, disinterested fan base, was a better place for a baseball team than Tampa Bay… burn on you guys, damn. But after almost two decades of the MLB not wanting to touch the city with a ten foot pole, Tampa Bay was finally approved for an expansion team in 1995, thus became the redheaded stepchild of Major League Baseball.
And if you thought the futility ended there, I guess you don’t remember the last almost twenty years of Tampa Bay baseball. By the time the Devil Rays played their first game, Tropicana Field was already outdated. So naturally, the brilliance that is the Tampa Bay front office devised an ingenious plan to leave the stadium exactly the way it was until now – claps to you guys for that one.
The 1998 season began with a bang for the darling Devil Rays. The D-Rays fought hard and only lost the game by five runs. ONLY FIVE RUNS GUYS! Tampa Bay stayed consistent throughout, steamrolling its way to an eye-opening 53-99 record, only 51 games behind the Yankees for first place. The team continued this exceptional run until the exception that was 2008.
Now I’m not going to talk about the 2008 season. I’ll give credit where credit is due, they played well, but it was a flash in the pan, nothing else. But don’t tell that to manager Joe Maddon, aka Baseball’s Jesus. Ever since the Rays made the playoffs for the first time in franchise history (side note: the other 1998 expansion team was Arizona, who had already won a world series seven years prior), Joe Maddon has been the biggest self-congratulatory butt sniffer in the entire organization. Maddon, second only to long-time almost success story Billy Beane, is the most egotistical front office member in Major League Baseball to have never actually done anything. And just like Billy, Maddon receives an absurd amount of credit from the media. What’s that? Joe Maddon puts on a lot of defensive shifts? HE HAS REINVENTED THE WAY DEFENSE IS PLAYED! Chill out Joe Bucks of the world, give me a break. He didn’t reinvent anything. That’s like saying Adam Dunn reinvented batting because he swings at everything and hits more homeruns when he doesn’t strike out. News flash: more isn’t always better.
He’s also an unbelievable clown. He brings in DJs before games, insists that the road trips have themes like a college kid throwing a theme party, desperate for people to think he’s fun and cool (seriously guys, I’m fun and cool, just ask my mom, she’ll tell you). He’s constantly getting ejected from games and bringing wild animals into the clubhouse. He took time out of his already busy managerial schedule to petition the MLB to allow sweatshirts in the dugouts (because I guess jackets aren’t good enough), just so he could look and feel as much like the original “Hoodie”, Bill Belichick. And worst of all, any time his team is involved in an altercation, he always somehow finds himself on the wrong side of the argument, but still believes himself infallible (See Chase Headley or Matt Joyce or David Ortiz or literally any player ever).
All this being said, the reality of the situation is that Baseball Guru Joe Madden and the rest of Tampa Bay are grasping at straws because they don’t have any other choice. The team is irrelevant, plain and simple. They can’t even sell out playoff games. PLAYOFF GAMES! I would do horrible, unspeakable things to get playoff tickets, but apparently in Tampa, you can just walk up to the ticket window and sit five rows back for Game 4 of the ALDS.
So if Master Maddon and the rest of Tampa are content to rest their laurels on a single AL Pennant, that’s fine with me. I guess when your team is younger than all your players, that’s something you have to deal with. So enjoy your mediocrity. But if you want a seat at the big boys table you need to step it up. If you come at the kings you best not miss, and so far the Rays have failed to land one blow. You want respect? Try winning a World Series once, then maybe we can talk about Joe Maddon being worthy of that hoodie that he fought so hard to get.