Reasons to watch these Rays, in spite of it all

by Gary Shelton on March 26, 2018 · 10 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Rays

Kiermaier will show something every game../JEFFREY S. KING

Kiermaier will show something every game../JEFFREY S. KING

Monday, 4 a.m.

You watch because, at the core, it's a fascinating game. It's speed and power and quickness and endurance. It's nine innings, and the clock doesn't matter. The little guy who can't hit gets almost as many whacks as the big bopper.

It's baseball.

And you search for a reason to care.

Things are tough here in Tampa Bay, as they have been for a while now. The mightiest swings this franchise has taken in recent months has been at the payroll. Fans, what few of them there are, have had

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their faith tested once again. The captain is gone, and the all-star, and the MVP, and two of the pitchers, and the home-run leader. What remains is an overmatched nine and a bunch of blue seats.

So why should you watch?

Back in the bad old days, which really were worse than the bad new days, I did an article asking players why fans should bother to pay to watch this team. The beer is cold, one player told me. You can see young talent at its inception, another said.

Finally, I asked a member of the coaching staff. And he wouldn't say.

Oh, I said.

Finally, he looked at me and said "Off the record, do you want to know why I wouldn't answer?"

Sure, I said.

"Because I wouldn't pay to watch these guys," he said, laughing.

And there you have it. A winning answer on a losing team.

Cotten-Eye Joe on the big board.

Good thing. No one kneels for the National Anthem.

Can this team lose 100 games? Discuss.

If the Rays don't move to Montreal, could we just send them the Catwalks?

The Rays this season will feature bobbleheads from Carl Crawford, Fred McGriff and Tina Martinez. Does the team plan to party like it's 2004 all over  again?

Plenty of tickets available!

How many strikeouts will the Rays finish with? Last year's free-swinging bunch had 1,538.

How many games will this team win? Sixty? Seventy? Seventy-five? Discuss.

Can C.J. Cron hit more than 16 homers? He's hit exactly 16 for three straight years?

Who leads this team in home runs? Last year, Carlos Gomez had 17, Cron had 16, Kevin Kiermaier had 15 and Wilson Ramos had 11. Discuss.

At the bottom of the rotation, who wins more games? Jake Faria won five, Matt Snell won five and Matt Andriese won five. Discuss.

Set your watches. How long is it until it's Willy Adames time?

Which former Ray will hav the best season? a) David Price; b) Wil Myers; c) Evan Longoria; d.) Corey Dickerson; e) Logan Morrison; f) Logan Forsythe; g) Ben Zobrist; h). Joe Madden; i) Andrew Friedman; j) Tim Beckham; k) Alex Cobb; l) Steven Souza m) Jake Odorizzi, n) Andrew Friedman; o) Matt Moore; p) Fernando Rodney; q) Lucas Duda; r) Brandon Guyer; s) Dave Martinez; t) Jim Hickey; u) Erasmo Ramirez; v) Matt Joyce; w) other.

In Take Me Out to the Ballgame, do you care if you ever get back?

How many games would the Rays have won this year with everyone back? Discuss.

If Lou Piniella catches a game, does he think he's in a flashback?

How many games will they win with almost no one back? Discuss.

How many one-run losses will this team have?

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