A League of Her Own

Democracy in Action, Day 2: The Tampa Bay Rays

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 It's day 2 of LOHO Votes: Democracy In Action.To recap, after hearing pleas from fans/bloggers of all the post-season teams, we here at LOHO will vote on which team we decide to collectively follow during the playoffs, in the hopes that we'll bring a team better luck than we brought the Twinks last season (sorry, Twinks fans). 

 If you missed Day 1: The Texas Rangers, make sure you go here and read.

Today, we consider the Tampa Bay Rays. On the one hand, I love manager Joe Maddon and cheering for the Rays will allow me to use my favorite funny nickname, Even Schlongoria.

On the other hand, I'm not sure I can get behind a team who only has 57 fans and whose star player wears douchey Ed Hardy t-shirts.

Then again, if the Rays win the World Series, maybe Jim Hendry will add Joe Maddon to his ever-growing list of interviewees.

I don't know. I can't figure it all out tonight, so I'm going to sit back and let Rays fan Jake Larsen (@jakelarsen) of the fabulous blog Deep Dish take it from here:

Cubs fans, I must admit that being a Rays fan is nothing compared to the bad luck associated with the Cubs. "The Billy Goat", "The Black Cat" and "Bartman" are far worse experiences than being deemed one of the worst expansion teams in the history of sports during the "Tampa Bay Devil Rays"(sorry, Andrew, don't fine them) Era of the franchise. Being a perennial loser and laughingstock for the 1st decade of existence wasn't a fun adventure to endure, but in the 3-years of the "Rays" Era of the franchise...it has been fun to watch. 

The Tampa Bay Rays have far more in common than one thinks. Larry Roetheschild, your current pitching coach, was our first manager and your former manager(Lou Piniella) had just left Tampa Bay before going to Chicago. For both of those guys, I must apologize. Yet, that's not the only things that these teams share. Tim Wilken, the man behind the last few drafts for the Cubs, was responsible for one of the most beneficial drafts in the Rays franchise history. Remember the Sammy Sosa "corked" bat drama? Well it during the Rays' last appearance in Wrigley Field versus former Cub(and former Ray) Jeremi Gonzalez.

The Rays years of being "lovable" losers are over, due a Wall street-educated Front Office(Tom Ricketts may be taking notes), and a change of tactics in the way that a team is ran and the on-field product is constructed. "The Rays Way" has managed the Rays to construct a team that costs under 100 MIL for its payroll and win 275 wins(and counting) in the last 3 seasons while facing 2 powerhouse, billion-dollar franchises in the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees while being in what most people think is baseball's "toughest" division. Rather than trying to out-slug and out-hit them, the Rays use with what's given to them in their youth. The Rays get on-base, run the bases when they are on-base and use their immense speed to out-field their opponents. Instead of signing the top free agents, they use their front office's blend of sabermetric and traditional-types of scouting, to find players people are missing out on and sign them off the scrap heap or trade for them using expendable parts. Instead of rebuilding, the Rays reload, with what is a perennial Top 5 farm system.

Tom Ricketts will probably turn the Cubs into a team similar to what the Rays are, in the long-run. With his Wall street background, he knows all about risk-reward and is probably grooming someone of the similar ilk to replace Jim Hendry at GM. Is Greg Maddux the replacement? Possibly, who really knows for sure. However once the Cubs are able to unload or correct the wrongs and damage done by former ownership with the Soriano and Zambrano contracts, the transformation will start taking place. Ricketts' market comes with a distinct advantage. Rather than re-branding itself like the Rays did, the Cubs already have a devoted following and a historical monument for a field. He'll be able to blend savvy transactions with cash-led moves(possible revitalization of Latin American and International scouting and improved player development).

The Cubs and Rays are siblings, so to speak, Chicago is the older brother that shows young brother how to be tough and how to persevere through hardships. Tampa is the younger brother that shows big brother some new things that will help big brother in the long-run.

And . . . scene.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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20 Comments

Doc said:

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I won't cheer for a team that has no fans of their own.

JulieDiCaro said:

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where's your sense of adventure?

Doc said:

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nope...if there is no one there to appreciate the fact I'm cheering for their team...then forget it.

Next!

Dmband said:

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I have a couple of questions regarding the LOHO vote.

First off let me say Im flattered that anyone would want the Cubs fan base in their corner.

My question is, are we supposed to vote based on who we honestly feel posed the best arguement?

OR

Should we vote based on need. The simple fact is if its a need based system, just give it to the rays now.

JulieDiCaro said:

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you vote based on your heart. don't overthink it. be like the people who vote on "dancing with the stars," whoever grabs your fancy at the time you step into the voting booth.

Come to think of it, that's just like the American population during a real election, too.

HackWilson09 said:

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Borrowing fans from other teams? Wouldn't they rather save on wear and tear? They won't have to replace those stadium seats for four or five decades if they stay empty. They could even rope off the upper deck and protect the stairs.

I respect Jake's baseball knowledge. I question whether or not he's a "fan", because I don't honestly believe there is such thing as a "Ray's Fan". If I were a baseball blogger looking for an IN, I might pick the Rays because nobody else is doing it. Like an "untouchable" scooping up elephant crap in New Delhi -- nobody wants to do that, so it's a pretty easy job to get.

I do like Maddon, Schlongoria, Price and Crawford, very much. These guys play the game the right way.

Doc said:

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When the marlins open their new stadium in 2012, it will be very interesting if they are able to finally draw people.

And it will be a big lesson for the Rays as well...because if a new stadium doesn't solve the Marlins' attendance woes, it likely won't solve the Rays' as well.

Florida...bad.

sloan peterson said:

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Wasn't TB the team that had a fight in the dugout, and no one was sent to anger management?

JulieDiCaro said:

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Does anyone print out LOHO posts or know how to do so? My vast fanbase is clamoring for me in hard copy.

Doc said:

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That doesn't sound very environmentally friendly.

JulieDiCaro said:

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you know what's worse? I was at CVS the other day. no makeup, hair in a ponytail, no shower. i think i was wearing jeans with holes in the knees and and old t-shirt. i hear the cashier whisper to the other cashier "blah blah blah blogs about the cubs blah blah blah radio blah blah blah writes something for red eye about baseball blah blah blah."

now i'm going to have to hire a stylist to get me ready to go out.

Doc said:

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you've really set yourself up for a lot of abuse from that particular comment.

sloan peterson said:

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Sounds like you need to hire a glamsquad!!:)

HackWilson09 said:

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like... copy and paste?

Doc said:

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I'm in favor or reducing the playoffs...the division winner with the shittiest record is excluded...and no wild card. That's the way God intended for the baseball playoffs to be...no division serieseseseses.

secdelahc said:

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Okay, so reminding me of 1945, 1969 and 2003 does not make me want to root for your team. Comparing notes of failures doesn't either. If I'm going to vote for you, you need to make me see the positives. Rays plea = FAIL.

Doc said:

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and they have no fans.

sloan peterson said:

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The Larry Rothchild connection is enough to make me leary of TB. On the other hand, the fact that the manager is secure in himself to let all the world know he needs to take man vitamins...

JulieDiCaro said:

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Please refrain from insulting the guest bloggers. Thank you.

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