In an interview last week Matt Silverman said the following…
“If you took us out of the American League East, I think we’d be the favorite in any other division.”
He might be right, but what is interesting about this quote, is that on several occasions in the past the Rays have been adamant about how they prefer competing against the best in the AL East.
So why would the Rays prefer the AL East where they are almost guaranteed to win less often over playing in the NL East or a mythical NL Southeast (Braves, Marlins, Astros, Rangers)?
The first is reduced expectations. What if the Rays won 84 games last year in another division? There would have been a lot more talk from the national media about how poorly the Rays played and what a disappointing season 2009 was. Instead, the Rays get a pass in the AL East because nobody expects them to win every year or even very often.
The second, and most important reason is simply money. The Rays are a cash-strapped team. And in the AL East, the Rays get 18 or 19 games every year at home against the two biggest road draws in baseball. There is no chance that Stuart Sternberg would trade in 18 near-sellouts against the Yankees and Red Sox for 18 games against the Braves and Marlins.
Also consider the exposure the Rays get in the New York television market. The Rays are on TV approximately 60 hours a year in New York City. And the Rays receive even more exposure during discussions as one of the Yankees rivals. For a team trying to build a brand, that is exposure they cannot put a dollar value on.
Actually, knowing Sternberg, he probably has put a dollar value on it, and it is certainly a large one.
DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- Roger Mooney looks at three of the Rays top prospects and when they might make an impact for the Rays. Mooney also has a money-quote from Matt Silverman on this year’s payroll: “We extended last year, we’re over-extended heading into this year…We’ll see the effect of this in the future. But for now we’re focused on what Rafael can add to us in 2010.” [Tampa Tribune]
- Marc Topkin has all the spring training details including the five biggest story lines to pay watch for. [St. Pete Times]
- Roger Mooney says the Rays have some questions this spring, but the Rays already have the answers. It is just a matter of deciding which answers they prefer. [Tampa Tribune]
- 5 Rays to watch this spring. [Tampa Tribune]
- Joe Dillon will get some reps this spring behind the plate. [St. Pete Times]
- Wade Davis and his new bride “The Marlboro Girl” (which apparently has nothing to do with cigarettes) spent some time with some school kids from his hometown. [The Lake Wales News]