With the Rays about to earn their second postseason trip in three years, it is difficult to muster up animosity for the man that ran the ship during a decade of futility. Of course, when Rays fans hated Vince Naimoli, they at least cared enough to pay attention. Now? Not so much.

Prior to Monday’s game at The Trop, Naimoli was mere blocks from the stadium, at a book store signing copies of his memoir. Well, we should say he signed A copy

For more than an hour, he sat at that table, talking to store workers, answering customers’ questions. Hardly anyone asked about him. A half-dozen people asked about the Rays…Three hours before the first pitch, Naimoli had signed one book for a man named Lou.

It may surprise many to know that Naimoli is still an owner of the Rays (he owns 20% of the team). Three years ago, the current front office even hired a public relations expert to help bring Naimoli back to a more prominent role with the franchise. Alas, that never came to fruition.

In the end, maybe this lack of significance is good for Naimoli. Maybe in time, maybe after the Rays win their first World Championship, the fanbase will be able to forgive Naimoli, in much the same manner that Red Sox Nation has been able to forgive Billy Buckner.

 
 

7 Comments

  1. Justin says:

    Maybe you should read the book to find out that you should be thanking him instead of forgiving him.

    • Cork Gaines says:

      Baseball in Tampa-StPete was inevitable. MLB had made the market a priority. Naimoli was NOT responsible for bringing baseball here. He was just in the right place at the right time.

  2. Gus says:

    I’ll forgive Vince when he gives me some portion of my season ticket $ back from the first 6 seasons when he was running the team and not trying to win (Hit Show excepted).

    Actually, I’ll always appreciate him writing the check when nobody else would around here and committing to the area. But when you see the season ticket base exposed as it is on Monday nights all season, I wonder what might have been had Vince and his partners managed their money half as well as the current misers do. (I believe the 1999 payroll was about equal to the 2010 payroll (in 1999 dollars no less), which is kind of hard to believe. 2000 was equal to 2009 per Cot’s Contracts.

    http://mlbcontracts.blogspot.com/2005/01/tampa-bay-devil-rays_112131227267025321.html

  3. bob guckenberger says:

    Vince stepped up with the money after a parade of losers dropped out over the years. We needed someone with the money and he is the reason we have baseball here. Too bad people don’t stop to thank him. I worked with Rick Dodge for years on this project and thanks to Vince we have baseball in St. Pete.

  4. nate says:

    There are two undeniable facts regarding Vince 1) He did not conceive the notion of baseball in St Pete and work the project from cradle to grave and 2) He did indeed hit the scene toward the end (during the Giants charade), and provided the financial backing for a project that was many years old and had gained steam because of the hard work of a lot of other people.

    The guy played a big role. If you take an interest in our team’s history I would think you’d be interested in him as a historical figure. When you break it down though his big screw ups were the way he messed up the PR, and giving the go ahead to spend on the Hit Show, which was essentially an edict to “go out and get whoever is there this offseason”. I really think if Chuck LaMar had been left to his own devices we never would have seen Canseco, Castilla, or Vaughn here. None of those guys fit the mold for what kind of GM he had become during his learning phase in Atlanta before coming here.

  5. So what? Spinal Tap is the greatest band EVER and they didn’t sign one album at a record store appearance.

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