Tampa Bay Rays (39 days until Opening Day)
A while back we were critical of Joe Maddon for the following quote…
I think [81 wins is] a reasonable goal…But of course I don’t want us just to stop there.
Some thought we were too hard on Papa Joe. Our point was simple…While 81 wins may be a “realistic” goal, it is not a reasonable goal. If winning games is the goal, as it is this year, then the playoffs are the only reasonable goal. If a manager sets a goal of .500 and only ‘wants’ more, the team will never attain more.
Yesterday Carlos Pena was asked about the recent comments by Scott Kazmir in which Kaz stated that the playoffs were something “that’s possible”. Pena’s comments are exactly what we want to hear from the team’s manager.
“Obviously, in our minds we are a playoff team,” Pena said. “And first we have to believe that. So that has to almost be ingrained in you and not a second thought. We just know we should be playing in October.
“We also know there’s a process. Every game needs to be played to the best of our ability. We need to optimize every single opportunity that comes our way to win ballgames. We know that there’s a process involved. But we do have a vision about becoming a winning team. And we see that in the very near future. We don’t really think that’s very far-fetched.”
It takes more than ‘wanting’ to achieve greatness. It starts with ‘believing’. The Rays are beginning to believe and that is the first step. If a manager/coach can convince his players they can be great, there is a better chance of achieving greatness. Let’s hope that Papa Joe’s words behind the scenes exuded more confidence than his words to the press.
Maybe we are nitpicking the choice of words put forth by Maddon, but for a leader…Every. Word. Counts.
DEVIL RAYS WEBTOPIA…
- Rocco Baldelli says he is healthy, but he can’t go all out in workouts the way he would normally. [Bradenton Herald]
“I don’t worry about it. My body might respond a little different if I went out there and killed myself…Normally I go out there in spring training and every drill that I do I do all the reps I’m supposed to and then some, and I do them as hard as I can until when I leave the field…That’s my normal routine, that’s the way I’ve done it for the last eight years…I don’t take reps off. I do everything, and I do it as hard as I can. And maybe that’s not something that my body may agree with, so if I don’t have to I’m not going to. It’s tough, when you play one way, I’ve pretty much always tried to play hard my whole career in every aspect of the game, so it’s an adjustment to not do that every single time you take the field, but it’s something I’m going to do this year, I’m going to take it easy some times.”
- Jonny Gomes reported to camp with plans for being an everyday player. Sorry Jonny. You are one of our faves, but if Rocco Baldelli is healthy, you are sitting against righties most nights. That means 50-60 starts. [Tampa Tribune]
- Di you realize that only two players from last year’s opening day lineup will be in the same position on opening day 2008? Carl Crawford and Dioner Navarro. [The Ledger]
- Rays of Light spotlights Cliff Floyd…who we affectionately refer to as “Dr. Huxtable”, because he is old and wise and jolly and loves pudding pops*. [Rays of Light]
- Don Zimmer will be wearing #60 this year to commemorate his 60 years in professional baseball. We remember an interview with Zims once when he thought it was weird when he received his first Social Security check because it was the first check he had ever received outside of baseball. [TampaBays10]
- Tonight the St. Pete city council will hold the first public meeting on the proposed waterfront stadium for the Rays. [Tampa Tribune]
- Evan Longoria stays away from newspapers and blogs. However, his mother is an avid reader of everything that is ‘Evan Longoria’ on the ‘net. [Tampa Bay Rays]
- Riverwalk Talk has a couple of quotes from Joe Maddon on Evan Longoria and why they do not want to rush the Dirtbag, and a couple of quotes from Longoria. [Riverwalk Talk]
- And yes! We have our first sighting of a blog that has attempted humor by dedicating an entire post to the Evan Longoria–Eva Longoria name-likeness. The joke? Eva should have married Evan instead of Tony Parker. Hey Jim Baumbach! We have a joke for you. Peter Pan called. He wants his costume back… It’s not even March. Jim Baumbach of Newsday is now officially on our shit-list. [Newsday]
- Elijah Dukes said something. Honestly, we don’t give a shit anymore. We barely cared when he was here. Dukes is a loser. He failed the Rays, his teammates, his coaches and the fans. Instead of playing baseball and helping the Rays win games, he turned his own life into a circus. Not only was he an idiot for getting himself suspended and thus not able to help the team, but he made life for his teammates and coaches more difficult. He is dead to us. If Glenn Gibson never pitches one inning for the Rays we will still be glad the Rays got rid of Dukes. [Rays Report]
*we might have made that up