In the past year Rays Index featured 1,205 posts and saw our readership increase by 43% to 1.1 million page views and over 600,000 unique visitors (By comparison, the Rays’ attendance increased by 4.0%. Let’s take a look back at the year that was 2008 here at Rays Index…
- Andrew Friedman and Company made their first big splash in free agency since taking over the front office. They signed Pat Burrell.
- Lot’s of people offered their opinions on the Pat Burrell signing. Keith Law of ESPN.com was the only one that saw the red flags. Oh yeah, and there was one writer that referred to a fellow Rays fan as a “dummy” for predicting that Burrell would struggle.
- The Rays unveiled an alternate jersey.
- We were perplexed by the irony of Al Roker donning a Rays cap.
- Akinori Iwamura flirted with pitching in the WBC.
- The Rays hired Kevin Kennedy to replace Joe Magrane in the TV booth. How’d that turn out?
- Rocco Baldelli looked horrible in red, but the Rays batting gloves were a nice touch.
- The Rays traded Juan Salas, and signed Jason Isringhausen.
- And then Jason Isringhausen took James Shields’ locker.
- And we still owe the Rays a bag of seeds.
- The Rays were suspiciously idle on St. Patrick’s Day for the second year in a row. Stuart Sternberg and Company really don’t want the Rays wearing green uniforms.
- We wondered if David Price’s glove might be illegal. He later switched to a darker model.
- We don’t do many interviews, but we couldn’t pass up a chat with Stuart Sternberg.
- Matt Garza had a dead arm in Spring Training and we were worried.
- The projection models had the ’09 Rays at 90 wins.
- Jason Hammel was traded to the Rockies, giving Jeff Niemann the final spot in the rotation.
- Joe Maddon blamed the Rays slow start on “Dig-me” week.
- The Rays apparently discovered a new undervalued market in baseball: Sexiness.
- Tim Beckham was interviewed by Kige Ramsey of Deadspin.com fame.
- Carl Crawford’s throw from left field caught Dustin Pedroia in a very sensitive area.
- In one of his last significant acts of his Rays career, Troy Percival, a player that cost the Rays many games in two years, screamed obscenities at a fan for almost costing the Rays one.
- Evan Longoria graced the cover of ESPN the Magazine.
- Stuart Sternberg was recognized by Sports Illustrated as one of the best owners in baseball.
- Matt Garza revealed in Sports Illustrated that he is envious of a certain body part belonging to Joe Nelson, earning Nelson the nickname “Vulcan Tripod.”
- We started a campaign to call the Rays the “Devil Rays” as long as they continued to play like a loser. We gladly paid the fine.
- Joe Maddon had a little trouble filling out a lineup card, giving Andy Sonnanstine a chance to provide his one shining moment of the season.
- Pat Burrell went from naked to brawling in less than 20 seconds.
- Joe Maddon signed a three-year extension.
- Boy, we loved Dale Thayer’s ‘stache while it lasted.
- The Rays nixed a promotion by the Clearwater Threshers in which they planned to give away Phillies bobbleheads.
- Many Rays fans took advantage of free pizza in Denver.
- Evan Longoria apparently prefers squinting over sunglasses.
- Matt Silverman made it clear that the Rays were not happy with the attendance in 2009.
- We wondered if Edwin Jackson’s and Jason Hammel’s success with their new teams would benefit the Rays in the long run.
- All those empty seats that are featured so prominently on TV during Rays games? Might be because they are some of the most expensive in baseball.
- Four Rays were named to the AL All-Star squad.
- Did Todd Kalas conspire to give Jeff Niemann the shaving cream-pie treatment.
- The Rays wore Devil Rays throwbacks and played like the Devil Rays. Of course, they couldn’t even get the throwbacks right. They wore the wrong cap.
- Mark Buehrle threw a perfect game against the Rays, and we didn’t take it well.
- We may never know just how close the Rays came to trading for Cliff Lee and Victor Martinez.
- A Rays employee was seen on TV celebrating a Yankees win at The Trop.
- The Rays sure didn’t like playing on Getaway Days in 2009.
- James Shields and Matt Garza were not as dominant in 2009 and it may have been due to the extra effort given in 2008.
- In one of our favorite moments of the season, Evan Longoria was so relaxed during a dash to score a winning run that he took time to blow a bubble.
- The father of LeVon Washington claimed the Rays backed out of a pre-draft deal with his son.
- The Scott Kazmir era in Tampa Bay came to an end as he was traded to the Angels.
- Trading Scott Kazmir had the power of making fans invisible.
- Stuart Sternberg provided the quote of the year: “This is who we are.”
- B J Upton revealed that his surgically repaired shoulder was never 100% in 2009.
- The Rays bullpen was much less effective at stranding runners in 2009.
- The Rays do not do drag well.
- Some wondered if the ’09 Yankees had the best infield ever. We wondered if they even had the best infield in the ’09 AL East.
- Attendance in 2009 fell below expectations.
- The pitching staff may have struggled at times in 2009, but the Rays put them in a position to succeed next season.
- The Rays hired a new hitting coach.
- Joe Maddon did not get the most out of the talent available to him in 2009.
- The mayor of Tampa openly rooted for the Yankees in the World Series.
- The Rays traded Akinori Iwamura in a move that some seemed to think was revolutionary.
- We looked at how much value the Rays have gotten from the free agency market during Andrew Friedman’s tenure.
- Carl Crawford is not a sure-thing to be a Type A free agent.
- Evan Longoria joined the Twitterverse…but not really.
- Amongst closers, JP Howell was not that good in 2009.
- The Rays farm system was ranked the second best in baseball.
- We looked at the benefit to the Rays of not signing their top two picks from the ’09 Draft.
- The Rays “traded” for free agent Rafael Soriano. We looked at why it was a good move and why fans should still be worried.
- The Gabe Gross era came to an end in Tampa Bay when he was non-tendered.
- Mitch Talbot was dealt to Cleveland to complete the Kelly Shoppach deal.
- Desmond Jennings and Jeremy Hellickson top the Rays latest prospect ranking.