Anyone suffering through local sports radio the last 10 days has heard legions of panicky Rays fans senselessly freak out about minor injuries and odd spring lineups, and revive their hate of B.J. Upton.

Joe swears, if he hears one more Rays fan talk about how the Blue Jays tearing up the spring means the Rays are in trouble, he’s going to tune out until the season-opening series is in the books.

Calm down out there. This is meaningless Spring Training for a heavyweight club, not the 2008 Rays searching for an identity in March.

If that reality doesn’t hit home, maybe you’ll be soothed by Joe Maddon having a fancy, “lead bull” meeting with his veterans yesterday morning. Maddon apparently doesn’t do this kind of session every year and felt a need to drop some intensity into his loose bunch.

What did he say? “Let’s flick the switch now.  Let’s not start 1-8 again. Let’s take control of the season. Let’s dial now in so you guys can get more days off later. Here’s our new secret veteran slogan and handshake.”

Again, Joe’s suspecting Maddon felt this meeting was necessary to recapture a tone that had yet to show up in Charlotte County, rather than it being a fun idea concocted over a bottle of Merlot.

Hopefully it works. Avoiding heartburn until May is always a good thing.





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